Richmond Kickers Soccer Club is an American professional soccer club based in Richmond, Virginia, United States. Founded in 1993, the team plays in the USL Professional Division (USL PRO), the third tier of the American soccer pyramid. Prior to USL PRO, the Kickers have had numerous spells throughout the second, third and fourth divisions of American soccer. The team has played in the third division of American soccer since 2006, and are among the oldest continuously operating professional soccer clubs in the United States.
The team's home field is the 22,000-seat City Stadium, where the club has played since 2003. The team's president is Richmond native, and former Kickers player, Rob Ukrop, who is also an heir to the area's Ukrop's Food Group chain. The team is coached by Englishman Leigh Cowlishaw, who has held coaching duties for the last 12 years.
For the next nine seasons, Richmond played in the second tier of the American soccer pyramid, earning the Commissioner's Cup twice, in 1998 and 2001, as well as earning two conference championships. However, the club was never able to secure a division two league championship, their closest coming in 2005, when the Kickers fell to the Seattle Sounders in the 2005 USL First Division Championship. After the 2005 season, the Kickers ownership self-relegated the team back into the third division, citing possible financial problems for the club if they remained in the second tier. Since joining the third division, the Kickers have had tremendous success, making it to at least the semifinals of the playoffs each season they have played in the third division. Additionally, the Kickers have won two third division premierships and two third division championships during their spell.
In September 2005, Rob Ukrop's #6 jersey was retired. He was a well-liked soccer player on and off of the field, and particularly notable since he is the son of the influential Ukrop's grocery store CEO Robert "Bobby" Ukrop.
On January 24, 2013, it was announced that the Kickers had signed a multi-year deal to become the USL Pro affiliate of D.C. United.
The Kickers primary colors are red and white, having been so since the beginning of the 2001 season. Their kits are manufactured by adidas, as they have been since at least 2009. In March 2012, the Kickers revealed a new logo to celebrate 20 years since their inception. Along with the new crest, the club also announced they would be using a third uniform with the colors from their first season in 1993, green and blue. They also have a black kit they have used during the 2013 season.
The James River Cup was an annual competition held between the Richmond Kickers and the Virginia Beach Mariners (formerly Hampton Roads Mariners) which the team with the most points at the conclusion of all scheduled matches between the two teams would win. The Cup was held every year since 1996 with the exception of 1997 and 2001 when Virginia Beach did not field a team. In 2007, the Virginia Beach team was disbanded.
For the 2008 season, the James River Cup was contested between the Kickers' organization and the Hampton Roads Piranhas organization. The cup went to the organization that had the most points in games between their PDL and W-League teams. The series ended up tied 2–2–1, with the Piranhas winning the Cup on goal difference.
Many USL matches, including matches from USL Pro, are broadcast on the USL YouTube page as of 2014. Previously, games were broadcast on USL Live.
From 2003 to 2004, Selecta 1320 AM (WVNZ) broadcast select Kickers matches in Spanish; in 2005 they broadcast all Kickers home matches. However, Selecta 1320 AM does not broadcast Kickers matches now.