Richmond Kickers will shift down from Division II USL following the 2018 season, and join the upstart USL Division III for its inaugural 2019 campaign.
Established in 1993, the Kickers are one of the longest tenured clubs in American professional soccer.
“The USL’s new professional league is the perfect fit for the long-term success of the Kickers organization,” said Kickers President Vern Ing. “As an organization we have seen substantial growth on and off the field in the past decade, including acquiring a long-term lease at our home of City Stadium. This move will further stabilize the club as we close in on our third decade of operation, continuing to offer a high level of professional soccer in one of the best playing environments in the country.”
The Kickers have consistently been one of the most successful professional soccer clubs in the United States over the past 25 seasons, qualifying for postseason play 22 times. Richmond made eight league championship appearances (1995, 1996, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010), taking the USL Second Division crown against Charlotte in 2006 and again in 2009.
The Kickers have also achieved success in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, claiming the championship in 1995 and making a memorable run to the tournament’s Semifinals in 2011 when it defeated Columbus Crew SC and Sporting Kansas City.
In addition to on-field success, the Kickers have been awarded USL Organization of the Year honors five times (1995, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2009).
“The Kickers have a long, distinguished history within our leagues, so we are thrilled to have Richmond join the new USL Division III as a founding member,” USL President Jake Edwards said. “We look forward to continuing to work with the entire Kickers organization to achieve their goals on and off the field.”
USL Division III has now announced eight teams set to compete in 2019. The Kickers join South Georgia Tormenta FC (Statesboro, Georgia), FC Tucson (Tucson, Arizona), Greenville Triumph SC (Greenville, South Carolina), Madison Pro Soccer (Madison, Wisconsin), Toronto FC II (Toronto, Ontario), Chattanooga Pro Soccer (Chattanooga, Tennessee) and Orlando City B (Orlando, Florida) as founding members of the professional league.
Richmond is the third club in that group to shift from Division II USL for 2019, joining Toronto and Orlando. The Rochester Rhinos are also moving from USL to USL DIII, but that will not happen until 2020.
Image courtesy Richmond Kickers.