USLSoccer.com Staff Report
Monday, January 18, 2016
While the Richmond Kickers managed to reach the USL Playoffs once again in 2015, the club knows this past season could have been stronger. Heading into the Kickers’ preseason camp this year, expectations are much higher.
“Absolutely. 2015 was a down year for us, but we still made the playoffs and nearly beat an undefeated at home Charleston team to advance,” Captain Mike Callahan said in Q&A with richmondkickers.com. “The fact that this is viewed as a failure tells you everything you need to know about our yearly expectations.”
One of the league’s most historic clubs, which claimed the 2013 Regular Season championship, the Kickers were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals this past season after having reached the USL Playoffs for a fifth consecutive year. While the Kickers had only seven regular-season losses, the third-fewest in the East, the club led the USL with 11 draws and is looking to find more consistency in 2016.
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One of the key players will be Jason Yeisley, who earned All-League honors as he led the side with 13 goals. The experienced forward accounted for almost one-third of the club’s goals in the regular season, however, and with the departure of George Davis IV to Louisville, the Kickers will likely need others to step up and provide a threat as Richmond looks to push higher in the standings.
“Individually, we as players need to perform at a higher level more consistently,” Yeisley said. “In the few games when we had everyone in form, we were a very hard team to beat.”
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While there are gaps to be filled in the lineup, though, it’s likely the Kickers’ strong coaching staff led by Leigh Cowlishaw will have the Kickers in contention late in the season. For Yeisley, who will enter his fifth season with the club this spring, no matter the new faces that might be at City Stadium, the club is focused on claiming the Kickers’ first USL championship.“[It’s] absolutely the number one goal for 2016,” he said. “We’ve been close and set ourselves up well going into postseason a number of times but this season I really feel we can put together an entire campaign through the finals.”