The last half of the week saw Loudoun United almost double their roster to 12, starting with Thursday’s news that Michael Gamble was returning for 2022. The 28-year-old midfielder, who has known coach Ryan Martin since he was recruited by Martin to play for him at Wake Forest, appeared in 16 games (10 starts), going without a goal or assist in 895 minutes. Gamble returns for his third season with the team, which would put him as the most tenured player on the current roster.
Friday saw the team add three new names to the squad, the more notable one being goalkeeper Joe Rice. Rice turns 26 in three weeks and started 20 of 28 games with the New England Revolution II last year and registered eight clean sheets, and 29 starts with the team over two years after being signed by the Richmond Kickers out of Virginia Commonwealth University in 2019. Rice won the League’s Save of the Year in 2020 and 2021, won Save of the Month four times in 2021 and was a finalist for Goalkeeper of the Year, and is expected to contend for the starting position with Trey Muse.
The addition of @JoeR1ce is big for this team. @LoudounUnitedFC was last in ‘21 GK performance by my data, and Rice was the best keeper in League One by the numbers. Alongside Trey Muse, he’ll form a wildly good tandem in NoVA. The last playoff spot in the East, man… https://t.co/JebW3Z8S1s pic.twitter.com/lSRD5fjqqq— john morrissey (@USLTactics) February 11, 2022
The next two are defenders; Rio Hope-Gund is a 22-year-old center back who was drafted by Orlando City in last year’s draft, but failed to earn an appearance with the team following four years at Georgetown where he won the 2019 NCAA Championship, and played 44 games (32 starts), scoring two goals and assisting on two others. Hope-Gund was a captain at Georgetown and his leadership was noted in Martin’s comments on him, as team leaders Timmy Mehl and Robby Dambrot left Loudoun to sign with Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, respectively.
Carson Vom Steeg is the final addition this week, turning 23 on the first of the month. The 23-year-old center-back (with experience at defensive midfield) played four years at UC Santa Barbara after transferring from Stanford (where he won the NCAA Championship in 2017), and suffered a knee injury that redshirted him in 2019. Along with Vom Steeg’s 15 caps at the United States U-18 level, his brother Justin recently signed with the Portland Timbers as a backup goalkeeper.
While the current roster of 11 contains arguably one player (Gamble) who could be considered an attacker, further reinforcements should be expected in the coming days.