Photo courtesy Jessica Stone Hendricks Photography
RICHMOND, Va. – The Richmond Kickers announced Wednesday that the club has re-signed forward Luke Pavone for the 2021 USL League One season, pending league and federation approval.
"Luke Pavone is a hard-working, no-nonsense player that battled his way into our lineup this past season,” said Darren Sawatzky, Kickers Chief Sporting Officer and Head Coach. “He played where we needed him to play at times and he fought for the club on every play. Bringing Luke back into a culture that he epitomizes was important to us. We are looking forward to watching him grow as a player, score some goals, and continue his mark on the culture here in Richmond."
After starting his pro career with the Israeli side Hapoel Petach-Tikvah in 2018, Pavone signed with the Kickers ahead of the inaugural USL League One season in 2019 and made four appearances in his first season with the club. He took a massive step in playing time in his second season with the Kickers, playing in 14 matches, including 11 starts. He recorded 11 shots and had seven key passes, while creating seven chances. On the other side of the ball, Pavone had a 63 percent success rate with his tackles and had 10 clearances and seven interceptions.
“It's a very special feeling returning to Richmond for my third year with the club,” said Pavone. “Playing under Darren allows me to show my passion for the game and my team-first mentality. I think the Red Army and Kickers fans picked up on the intensity I brought last year, and I really look forward to raising the bar in 2021. My goal and only goal for 2021 is a USL League One Trophy. Whether I play forward, winger, midfield, or full back - that’s the only goal. Team success.”
A productive attacker in his collegiate career, Pavone played at the University of Massachusetts for two seasons before transferring to Buffalo State College for his final three years. In his senior year, Pavone earned recognition as a United Soccer Coaches Second Team All-American, finishing his collegiate career with 20 goals and 12 assists between the two programs for which he played.