24-year-old midfielder spent last two seasons with Forward Madison FC | Image Credit: Forward Madison FC
RICHMOND, Va. – The Richmond Kickers on Tuesday announced the signing of forward Justin Sukow for the 2023 season, pending league and federation approval.
“Justin is a competitor that has time in the USL Championship and in USL League One,” Kickers’ Chief Sporting Officer and Head Coach Darren Sawatzky said. “He scored a good goal against us last year and he is looking to put his mark on USL League One in 2023. He can play different positions in the attack with a quality end product.”
Sukow joins the Kickers after playing with Henny Derby rivals, Forward Madison FC. The 24-year-old winger flashed his creative talent with the 'Mingos, making 46 appearances including 18 starts while amassing 1,971 minutes played. He scored two goals during the 2022 season and made 26 total key passes.
After witnessing the atmosphere generated at City Stadium as a member of the opposition, Sukow is looking forward to being on the receiving end of the praise led by the Red Army.
“The Kickers were always a really tough team to play against, especially at City Stadium,” Sukow said. “The fans brought a lot of energy, and I am definitely looking forward to playing for a very passionate fan base that cares a lot about the team.”
The San Antonio, Texas native was the catalyst for Madison in the first iteration of the 2022 Henny Derby as they snapped the Kickers’ 16-match home unbeaten streak on May 7th. Roughly a minute after subbing into the match, Sukow drifted wide on the right wing, making a trailing run and finding open space to receive a cross-field pass. He quickly cut the ball inside towards the top of the box before ripping a curling shot with his left foot that ricocheted off a Kickers’ defender and deflected into the goal.
“We see Justin playing in attacking positions for us,” Sawatzky said. “His ability to adapt to different roles is appealing, but he also has the ability to make a singular position his own. We are counting on his competitive approach as we look to push each player in our group to their highest potential this year. Justin is a great addition to our locker room, but I think the fans are going to like his on-field presence more in the season to come.”
Prior to joining Madison, Sukow was a late-season addition to the Reno 1868 FC side during his rookie year during the 2020 season, but he was unable to make an appearance with the club that finished first in the USL Championship regular-season standings before ceasing operations at the end of the season.
Collegiately, Sukow was a South Carolina Gamecock in 2017 and 2018 where he scored eight goals and assisted three more goals in 34 appearances. He transferred to Loyola University Chicago for the 2019 season where he scored nine goals and assisted five more across 20 appearances.
He finished the 2019 season as a member of the All-Missouri Valley Conference First Team. He would not have the opportunity to play his senior season with the Ramblers after the season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eager to earn more opportunities to set up teammates and find the back of the net himself, Sukow is raring to don the Kickers’ shirt after being recruited by Sawatzky this offseason.
“Darren is super passionate about what the team means for the city and the culture they have built over the past few seasons,” Sukow said. “Talking with Darren has made me very excited about coming to Richmond and I can’t wait to meet everyone and start training.
He continued, “the most important goal is to win the league and lift a trophy at the end of the year. That’s something that I will be thinking about every time I step on the field.”