Misc Soccer News

Hall of Fame Profile: Paul Child

Riverhounds Announce Six-Game Preseason Schedule

July 5, 2024 – United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC News Release

Paul Child owns an incredibly decorated playing career, one almost unmatched by anyone to have played professionally in Pittsburgh.

But Child’s induction into the Riverhounds SC Hall of Fame as a builder recognizes the massive influence the England native has had through the club’s history without kicking a ball himself, as the former coach, youth director and broadcaster takes his place in the Hall’s Class of 2024.

Child’s playing career brought him to the United States and the old North American Soccer League as a 19-year-old, when Aston Villa loaned him to the Atlanta Chiefs in 1972. The next 10 years would include stops in Memphis, a return to Atlanta and being called up briefly to the U.S. National Team, but he is most known for his six-year run with the San Jose Earthquakes, a club celebrating its 50th anniversary that recently named Child one of their 50 greatest players.

After scoring 102 NASL goals – fifth-most in history – Child came to Pittsburgh to join the indoor Pittsburgh Spirit for the 1981-82 season. He played five years and starred for the Spirit with 140 goals, and though he left to play two more seasons after the Spirit folded in 1986, he had found a home in Pittsburgh.

A young Paul Child scores with a header for the San Jose Earthquakes against the Rochester Lancers in a 1974 NASL match. (Photo courtesy of the San Jose Earthquakes)

Child moved into coaching, spending time with Beadling SC and with the short-lived indoor Pittsburgh Stingers, where he coached current Hounds boss Bob Lilley. But in 1998, he was pitched a new coaching opportunity.

“I had a real good job, and I was working, but Dave Kasper, who was the general manager at the time, contacted me and said, ‘Paul, we’re putting this Riverhounds organization, an outdoor soccer team, and we want you to be part of it,'” Child recalled. “I said tell me about it, because I’d been out of (coaching) for two or three years, and he set it up for me. John Kowalski’s going to be coach, and we want you there as assistant coach and youth development director. I said I’ll be over there in a minute, because I always knew this game could happen in Pittsburgh.”

The biggest reason Child had faith in what the Riverhounds could become was the fans in Pittsburgh. He had seen the Spirit draw 8,000 fans per game to the old Civic Arena in 1983-84 – outdrawing the NHL’s Penguins in their final pre-Mario…

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