One feature that differentiates Richmond United from most other non-MLS Academies and travel clubs is the opportunity for high-performing players at older age groups to train and play competitive matches with the Richmond Kickers professional team, which plays in the USL Pro, the second division of soccer in the USA. Opportunities can range from periodic training sessions to official Academy Contracts, which allow an Academy players to be official members of the pro team and be eligible to play in USL competitive matches, all without impacting those players’ NCAA eligibility.
The opportunity to train and play with the Kickers Pro Team allows players to not only challenge themselves against some of the top players in the country, but also to get personal experience with the dedication and level of performance required to become a professional soccer player. This opportunity can only be gained through Academies affiliated with MLS or USL soccer teams.
Since 2015, 11 Richmond United players have trained on regular basis with the pro team with 5 of them signing amateur contracts. Three players have played in official competition:
Drew Romig in 2015 against West Brom Albion
Sawyer Gaffney in 2016 at Charlotte Independence
Simon Fitch in 2017 against Swansea FC