skip navigation

2024 USL Kickoff Season Preview: Greenville Triumph SC

By ETHAN TRIEBSCH -, 03/01/24, 6:45PM EST


Key goalscorers, veteran leaders return for new era in the Upstate

It’s a new era in Greenville as the winningest coach in League One history, John Harkes, departs Triumph SC after leading the club to the postseason in all five seasons at the helm. The Harkes era ended with what was technically the worst season in club history - a fifth-place finish and trip to the USL League One Playoffs Quarterfinals - which really puts the annual success of the club into perspective. Now, first-year professional head coach Rick Wright takes over a Greenville side that will look very different as it kicks off its sixth campaign. 

Greenville started its 2023 season with three consecutive league losses - four across all competitions - for the first time in club history, falling to the bottom of the table for just the second time ever. Triumph SC found its usual rhythm midway through the season, however, losing just one match across 11 contests between late May and early August. Greenville secured its record fifth-consecutive postseason appearance by finishing the regular season with a 3-1-2 record through six matches. A loss to eventual runners-up Charlotte in the Quarterfinals marked the first time Greenville failed to advance to the Semifinals or beyond.

The winningest club in league history will certainly look different in 2024. Greenville will retain only two of their top six minutes leaders from a season ago (Lee, Castro) and lose a number of key contributors from a season ago: highly productive first-year goalkeeper Jared Mazzola and all-time assist leader Allen Gavilanes move on to the USL Championship with Sacramento Republic FC and Miami FC, respectively, while club legend Aaron Walker, goalscorer Jacob Labovitz and veteran midfielder Lucas Coutinho also depart the club.

Rick Wright and Greenville will reload with a few familiar faces as League One legends Evan Lee, Brandon Fricke, Tyler Polak return to the fold in 2024. On the offensive side of the pitch, Greenville will welcome back potent goalscoring tandem Leo Castro and Lyam MacKinnon who return for their 16th and second professional season, respectively. Castro and MacKinnon's combined 28 goal contributions from a season ago are tied for the most among returning teammates across the league (Diouf, Robertson - LEX). 

Rounding out its 2024 squad, Greenville will bring in a pair of veteran midfielders with USL Championship experience in Chapa Herrera and Sebastián Velásquez and add a number of intriguing young players: former United States youth international Carlos Anguiano, former Jamaica youth international Zion Scarlett and two-time NCAA College Cup winner Mohamed Seye.


Leo Castro | Image Credit: Chattanooga Red Wolves SC

FWD - Leo Castro

The lone Triumph SC representative on the 2023 USL League One All-League Teams, the 2016 CAF Champions League winner and decorated Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns FC striker was lethal in his first season in Greenville. The Colombian's 13 goals were the second-most in a single season across his 15-year professional career, and he added 219 duels won, 85 recoveries, 34 chances created and four assists. Castro's experience prior to coming to South Carolina speaks for itself; the 34-year-old veteran has amassed nearly 300 top-flight appearances and 64 goals in South Africa, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, winning the CAF Champions League, CAF Super Cup, South African Premier Soccer League and Colombian Categoría Primera A, with the likes of the Kazier Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns FC and Millonarios FC, among other prestigious clubs.

FWD - Lyam MacKinnon

Even with the pressure of performing alongside a 15-year veteran with the pedigree of Castro, Lyam MacKinnon was exceptional in his first professional season. The league's first Swiss goalscorer tallied seven goals and four assists and set a league record for most goals in a single match with four scores against Chattanooga in a 5-1 thrashing on June 21. MacKinnon also led his side with a 2.99 goals-added value, according to American Soccer Analysis. Prior to arriving in Greevnille, MacKinnon was a three-time All-Big East selection at Villanova University and was drafted by Nashville SC in the third round of the MLS SuperDraft 2023 with the 84th overall pick. The Lausanne, Switzerland native came to Villanova after captaining the U-18 and U-21 teams of his hometown Swiss Super League side, FC Lausanne-Sport.

Lyam MacKinnon | Image Credit: Greenville Triumph SC

Follow USL League One

Most Recent USL League One News

Most Read USL League One News

USL League One News