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USL Soccer: The Day is Here! What to know before the Rhode Island FC Inaugural Home Match.



Today is a great day for Rhode Islanders. It's a great day for American Soccer Fans, USL Supporters, and us here at House Enterprise. From an idea to now a product on the pitch, the Rhode Island FC professional soccer team is ready to make their debut.


We've been following along this journey throughout the years, speaking with Brett Johnson when this club was just a concept, to diving deep with Michael Parkhurst when the official launch began.



In four years time, that potential concept of USL Rhode Island, is now playing at Bryant University in front of a sold-out crowd to kickoff their inaugural season.


The excitement has been brewing across the state. The golden emblem with the blue anchor and "RI" has been dawned on cars, fan apparel, and social media for months. Supporter groups are forming, watch parties are being assembled, and hype has been created in a state that desperately has been seeking professional sports. The soccer culture within the state is blossoming, and it will only get bigger when a World Cup Match comes right up the road in a couple of years.


As for the team that resides in the 401, there is plenty of reasons for the excitement. This club is built by renowned football experts. Chairman Brett Johnson (Phoenix Rising and Ipswich FC Ownership) and supporting owner Michael Parkhurst (MLS Cup Champion and USMNT) have shaped the club over the past 18 months, with the help of RIFC President Brett Luy (USL EVP) and Head Coach, Khano Smith (MLS and Bermuda National Team).


For a new club that was built from the ground up, RIFC had an incredible offseason, brining in 2023 USL Championship Player of the Year Albert Dikwa. The Cameroonian forward lead the league with 20 goals last season with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, earning the Golden Boot, and hoping to provide an immediate spark on his new club. Adding help in the front is USL journeyman JJ Williams, and midfielder Conor McGlynn.


The club's first signing and first captain, Koke Vegas, has 82 appearances in net across Spain and the USL, will anchor RIFC. Former New York City FC defender Stephen Turnbull and Calvary FC defender Karifa Yao should provide excellent defense in front of Vegas. The team also boast local talent, including Goalkeeper Nate Silveira, and former Providence College players Kevin Vang and Nathan Messer.


As for early outlook on the season, we saw some action over the past few weeks, with exhibitions, friendlies, and camps with Bermuda Football Association, Providence College, and Providence City FC. The club opened at No. 19 out of 24 teams on the USL official Week 1 power rankings. Only time will tell on if they can move up from those initial remarks. What we do know is that RIFC is one of 47 clubs bidding for the Lamar Hunt Open Cup championship, starting in mid-April. The U.S. Open Cup is U.S. Soccer’s club championship and has crowned a national champion annually since 1914. The single-game knockout format, is the oldest national soccer competition in the United States and the world’s third-longest continuously run national cup tournament.


RIFC will take on a tricky New Mexico FC, but should find some early success with the roaring fanbase backing them on day one.

 

Match Information

  • Location: Beirne Stadium at Bryant University (Smithfield, Rhode Island)

  • Time: 4PM EST, Gate open at 2:30PM

  • Broadcast: NESN and ESPN+






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