skip navigation

Ethan Vanacore-Decker set for first full season in Richmond

By Staff, 02/14/23, 12:00PM EST


Veteran forward has scored at the USL Championship, League One and League Two levels

Veteran forward has scored at the USL Championship, League One and League Two levels | Image Credit: Richmond Kickers

RICHMOND, Va.  – The Richmond Kickers today announced forward Ethan Vanacore-Decker has re-signed ahead of the 2023 USL League One season, pending league and federation approval.

"Ethan is an exciting, dynamic attacking player with clever ideas when it comes to breaking down the opposition,” Richmond Chief Sporting Officer and Head Coach Darren Sawatzky said. “He was truly a game changer at the midway point of the season last year. His demeanor and daily banter helps galvanize the culture here. He is making great progress in his rehabilitation, and we welcome his return to the pitch when that time comes."

Vanacore-Decker prepares for his first full season in Richmond after joining the team as a midseason acquisition on July 18, 2022 from fellow USL League One club, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC. The 28-year-old arrived in Richmond with a wealth of experience across the USL divisions and a USL League One title to his name when he was a member of Union Omaha in 2021.

An injury in the fall saw Vanacore-Decker miss the final four matches of the 2022 season. However, the Manahawkin, N.J. native’s impact from the moment he put on the Kickers’ shirt was immense as he helped play an important role in the Kickers earning the 2022 regular-season title.

“Becoming a Kicker midseason was awesome,” Vanacore-Decker said. “Everyone welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like I was there from the start of the year. I’m looking forward to getting healthy and helping the team with goals and assists. It took me a little bit to get used to the style of play, but, as I played more games, I felt like I was coming into my own.

“As a team I think we are very strong. We have great returning players and added some great new guys. We set a standard last year and I believe we’ll meet that again this year and bring home the trophy to Richmond.”

When he joined the Kickers, Vanacore-Decker had the opportunity to continue his playing relationships with several Roos including Nathan Aune who he played with at Union Omaha in 2020 and Dakota Barnathan who he played with at Swope Park Rangers – now Sporting KC II – in 2018. In 2023, Vanacore-Decker will also reunite with Kharlton Belmar who was a member of the 2018 Swope Park Rangers roster.

Vanacore-Decker got into a groove quickly with the Roos, making only his second road start for Richmond on Aug. 2, against his old club, Northern Colorado. Inside the first eight minutes, a cross played by Vanacore-Decker nearly found Emiliano Terzaghi as the forward stretched for the tap-in. EVD would finish tied for first on the team with completed passes in the final third and the second-most created chances on the team as the Kickers earned a 1-0 win.

Four days later against FC Tucson, Vanacore-Decker scored an equalizer in his home debut, sparking a Kickers’ 3-1 comeback victory that vaulted the Roos into first place. For his efforts against the Hailstorm and Tucson, Vanacore-Decker earned a place on the league’s Week 19 Team of the Week for the first time as a Kicker; it marked his second total placement of the 2022 season.

Vanacore-Decker sparked another comeback victory for the Kickers on September 15 when he scored a 78th-minute equalizer against another former club, Union Omaha. The forward found himself unmarked on the back post and calmly directed a cross into the back of the net to tie the game. The Kickers went on to stun the Owls, 3-2, with a 97th-minute walk-off penalty in front of Omaha’s supporters’ end.

As he continues his rehabilitation from the injury last fall, Vanacore-Decker is spurred on by the prospect of getting back out on the field and putting on a show in front of the Red Army and City Stadium faithful.

“I can’t wait to see City Stadium rocking,” Vanacore-Decker said. “The support last year was unbelievable. Seeing the stadium packed gives us that extra energy and that goes a long way.”

Follow USL League One

Most Recent USL League One News

Most Read USL League One News

USL League One News