Bethlehem Steel FC announced Tuesday it has acquired defender Ryan Richter from Ottawa Fury FC via a full transfer. Per club and league policy, additional terms of the deal were undisclosed.
“We’re very excited to be able to land a player of Ryan’s caliber to boost our expansion club,” Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart said. “Not only do we think highly of his skill set, but we believe in all of the professional intangibles Ryan will bring on a daily basis.”
Richter, 26, was drafted by the Philadelphia Union with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2011 Supplement Draft. While with the Union, Richter made appearances in friendlies against Everton FC and Harrisburg City Islanders, adding a goal against Harrisburg. He will join Bethlehem Steel FC from Ottawa Fury FC of the North American Soccer League, where he played and started all 32 games last season while leading the Fury to the NASL Championship against New York Cosmos. Overall in his MLS career, Richter played 13 games for Toronto FC in 2013.
“We are very happy to have Ryan back in the Union family,” Steel FC head coach Brendan Burke said. “We know that he had serious interest from a number of other clubs around USL and NASL, so this proved to be a key signing for us. He is a local guy and this move made a lot of sense for everyone involved.”
Born in Southampton, Pa., Richter attended William Tennent High School in Warminster. He then attended La Salle University where he was the 2010 Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year. He was also the Philadelphia Soccer Six Player of the Year in 2009 and 2010.
Officially, Richter will join Derrick Jones, Boluwatife Akinyode, Michael Daly and Gabe Gissie. Jones was the first player signing on Dec. 3. Akinyode, Daly and Gissie were added on Dec. 11.
Bethlehem Steel FC was officially announced on Oct. 27, 2015. They will serve as the Philadelphia Union affiliate in the United Soccer League and will play their home games at Goodman Stadium on the campus of Lehigh University. They will officially join USL for the 2016 season, alongside fellow expansion teams FC Cincinnati, Orlando City B, Rio Grande Valley FC Toros and Swope Park Rangers. Former Union assistant coach Brendan Burke was named head coach on Oct. 28 and will lead Bethlehem Steel FC in its first season.
Fans interested in season tickets can call 1-844-STEELFC or visit www.bethlehemsteelfc.com to see full ticket prices and view of a stadium map.