Misc Soccer News

Hall of Fame Profile: Gary DePalma

Riverhounds Announce Six-Game Preseason Schedule

July 10, 2024 – United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC News Release

When the Riverhounds were launched in 1999, it was a return of top-class professional soccer to Pittsburgh. But when assembling a team to compete at that level, some of the players the Hounds needed were right in their backyard.

Gary DePalma was one of those players, an Upper St. Clair native who came home to Pittsburgh to break into the pro ranks and became a six-year fixture in the Hounds’ early successes. The midfielder still ranks among the best to put on the Riverhounds colors, and his contributions over six seasons earned his spot in the Riverhounds SC Hall of Fame’s Class of 2024.

DePalma is the second Pittsburgh-area player selected to the Hall of Fame, joining former teammate Justin Evans of the inaugural 2019 class. He was a decorated college player, earning First Team All-American status in 1995 and a Third Team selection in 1997 at Division III Virginia Wesleyan, but the leap to the pro game didn’t happen immediately for DePalma.

“I finished school and then tried out for the Hampton Roads Mariners and got cut the day before the season started, right at the last second,” DePalma said of his first A-League experience in 1998. “I still had some school left to do, so I decided to stick around down there.

“Before I tried out, I actually went down and played with (future Hounds coach John) Kowalski; he invited me and a friend to practice with the Tampa Bay Mutiny when he was down there. So that was the first time I really got to connect with John and get to know him.”

When the next year rolled around, DePalma was still looking for a team. As luck would have it, the A-League’s newest club was coming to his hometown with Kowalski at the helm.

“Once I heard Pittsburgh was starting a team, I got a call from (general manager) Dave Kasper about signing, and it couldn’t have been more perfect, really. I wasn’t going back to Hampton Roads, but I still wanted to play. Being able to go back to Pittsburgh, where I grew up, was a cool moment to get that phone call,” DePalma said.

Once in Pittsburgh, DePalma had to prove that he could stick at the next level as an attacking-minded midfield player, one who scored 40 goals as a college player.

His first season saw him appear in 24 of 28 league matches, sometimes as a starter but also off the bench. But in just 807 minutes of action, DePalma showed his ability to create offense with three goals and seven assists -…

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