The Pittsburgh Riverhounds soccer club was founded in 1999 by Belle Vernon, Pa.-native Paul Heasley. The team’s emergence ended the sport’s 13-year hiatus in the city at the professional level after the Pittsburgh Spirit of the Major Indoor Soccer League folded in 1986.
Heasley’s inspiration for the team formed when his son, Lucas, began seriously playing soccer in the late 1990s. There were no local role models for Lucas to look up to. Heasley’s aim was to create a club embodying the character of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania that could fuel the ambitions of youngsters in the region by giving them a pathway to become professional soccer players.
That vision was realized during the 1999 USL draft when Peters Township native Justin Evans was selected as the Riverhounds’ first player. The team compiled a 16-12 record in its inaugural regular season playing at Bethel Park High School.
Heasley sold the Riverhounds in 2004. The team subsequently underwent a number of venue and ownership changes before landing at newly constructed Highmark Stadium for the 2013 season.