We roll on with our off-season filler by examining three things we believe the beloved club did right this past season. 2015 was a banner year for the club, with many of the issues that cropped up previously were being changed, eliminated, or reversed. ‘Can/Will the Hounds continue on the right path next season’ will be one of the big questions asked as the league grows and team’s fight for attention in a sports-mad city marches on.
1. Communication – The biggest thing that improved this season was the communication. While not perfect, the steps taken to put out more information and give mid-week updates about the club was tremendous. Now, we were finding out about unexpected loanees and roster moves, as opposed to new names and faces just appearing on the bench. Furthermore, the manager’s and president’s notes pieces in the gameday program were especially nice. Many members were making sure to take the time to read both works before the match.
2. Not Playing the USL Social Media Game – Stay with us on this one, it’s a little different, we know. Throughout the season you would see times were the league was really trying to push something out on the Twitters or Facebooks. Sure enough, in the following hour, every club was out there putting out nearly identical messages. It was, at times, comical to see all the ducks line up and toe the line… except Pittsburgh. It was refreshing to see the Hounds not even acknowledge a lot of the useless polls, contests, and superlative ‘awards’ initiatives that USL would throw out and watch as other clubs trip over themselves to hype up, with the Hounds laying back and saying ‘naw, we’re good’. Granted this is the near opposite of the good communication point we made above, but when in comes to not playing nice with the league, we can’t help but appreciate the (lack of) effort.
3. Bring the Community Together – This, obviously, is the big one. The team has had a terrible track record of bringing the local soccer community together. When your a 3rd division club in a city the expects the best teams in the best leagues, it can be rough. They made it even worse by alienating some segments of the soccer loving city. The worse done in the past 11 months to get everyone back on the same page was welcoming and refreshing. You could walk into Pipers and hear people discussing the team. Go to high school soccer matches and you would see a fair amount of Riverhounds merch in the stands. The bridges have started to be rebuilt, and while the person who started the construction isn’t here anymore, the club can not let all that effort go to waste.
Remember that tonight is the American Outlaws/Steel Army Holiday Party. Everyone put some pants on (or not, you may get in regardless) and head down to Claddagh starting at 8pm. There was also be some awesome stuff being raffled away including a pair of Riverhounds season tickets, autographed kits and soccer balls. There will also be some US soccer related items. FIFA 16 will be hooked up for the gamers to do their thing. We can’t wait to see everyone!