RICHMOND, Va. – The Richmond Kickers added a goalkeeper to their roster on Wednesday as the club announced the signing of Akira Fitzgerald for the 2019 USL League One season, pending league and USL League One approval.
“Goalkeeper is one of the most important players for the way that I want our team to play and the deal to acquire Akira happened very quickly and a little bit out of the blue,” said Kickers Head Coach David Bulow, “He brings a lot of experience to the team and his quality is going to be a perfect fit for what we are trying to build. I have no doubt we have one of the best keepers in the league.”
Most recently, Fitzgerald spent the last two seasons playing in the USL Championship with the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The 31-year-old made nine appearances for the Rowdies last season, amassing 20 saves and one clean sheet. Before joining the Rowdies, Fitzgerald spent time with North Carolina FC and MLS side New York City FC.
“I’m incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to represent this great club and city,” said Fitzgerald. “After speaking with Coach Bulow, Adrian [Clewlow] and Matt Spear, I knew this was the perfect fit for me. Their ambitious visions of how the game should be played and the direction of the club made signing an easy decision. I can’t wait to get started and achieve great things this season.”
Fitzgerald played four collegiate seasons at Wake Forest University, making 73 appearances for the Demon Deacons and earning Second Team All-ACC honors his senior season. During his collegiate career, he also featured in USL League Two for the North Carolina FC U-23s.
“I have long admired Akira from his days at Wake Forest when I coached against him,” said Kickers President Matt Spear. “Wake plays an attractive, successful brand of soccer and Akira’s style of play and ambition suits our Kickers’ aims too. Having an experienced, savvy, verbal leader in the back like Akira is a huge ingredient for our recipe. And Akira fits our culture off the field too as he’s others oriented with a shared aspirations approach."
The Kickers’ 2019 roster currently stands at nine players for the upcoming season, with Fitzgerald joining Amass Amankona, Matt Bolduc, Dennis Chin, Josh Hughes, Eli Lockaby, Mutaya Mwape, Scott Thomsen, and Braeden Troyer.