RSD34: The USL/youth hybrid Richmond Kickers, with Daryl Grove

The guest is Daryl Grove of the popular Total Soccer Show podcast. The topic is his hometown club, the Richmond Kickers, which has a couple of decades of history as a youth soccer club with a professional team on top of and integrated into its internal pyramid.

Yes, really. It’s not just a pro team that started up some half-assed youth programs. It’s not an MLS team that has Development Academy teams and little else. See its tryout page to see how many levels of travel soccer it offers, and then look at its “Little Kicks” page to see former pro player Luke Vercollone’s programs for preschoolers. The Kickers also join forces with the rival Richmond Strikers for the Richmond United Development Academy program.

We talk about the USL, the impact of MLS reserve teams in the USL, facilities, etc. Yes, we do talk about promotion and relegation around the 33:30 mark. Most importantly, we have a suggestion for the Virginia Department of Transportation to institute HOTS lanes that would help soccer people get from D.C. to Richmond and vice versa.

And for a great example of what Daryl does with the Total Soccer Show, check out his conversation on soccer and international black culture with Aaron Dolores of Black Arrow FC.

If you want some background on the NASL stuff mentioned in the intro, check out the Twitter thread from Steven Bank and a post from fellow lawyer Miki Turner. My quick take: I still see no case whatsoever to maintain the NASL. If the discovery process kicks up things in U.S. Soccer that need to be revised or excised, so be it.

The 1995 U.S. Open Cup final is available on YouTube. Note Richmond captain Richie Williams. Yes, that Richie Williams, later of D.C. United and various U.S. Soccer coaching gigs.

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