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New players, new home, new hope for Riverhawks - 01/06/2005

After two A-League seasons with a combined record of 18-38, the Cincinnati Riverhawks say they are ready to turn things around.

        “I think for us, the playoffs are a must,” Riverhawk coach Nick Ranieri said.

        To that end, the Riverhawks have made a number of changes for the coming season.

        “The big difference this year is experience,” said forward Simon Lowey, one of only eight returning players.

        “Last year we were a very good college team. This year we've got guys from all over Europe and guys from America who have played in the A-League.”

        Lowey, a native of England, is one of three Riverhawk forwards Ranieri expects to help boost the offensive output from a mediocre 45 goals last season.

        John McGinlay could lead the team in scoring, although he is not likely to join the team for at least 10 days because he is having trouble obtaining a visa. In his career, McGinlay has scored 118 goals in the English Premier League. He also netted 12 inter national goals while playing for the Scottish national team.

        BoBo, a native of the Congo, led the A-League Connecticut Wolves last year with nine goals and 20 points.

        Lowey, McGinlay and Bobo are among eight foreign-born players on the Riverhawks' roster.

        “It definitely helps to have a European flavor because they grow up playing soccer with a professional attitude,” midfielder Wes Schulte said.

        After starting 4-4 last season, the Riverhawks were hit hard with injuries and dropped 13 of their last 14 to finish 7-21.

        Ranieri said moving from the sand-based, synthetic field at the Town & Country Sports Complex in Wilder, Ky., to the natural grass at Galbreath Field will cut down on the injuries.

        “That is the No.1 improvement: Going back on playing on the grass,” Ranieri said. “We feel like it's a stadium. ... Galbreath has its own special atmosphere.”

The Enquirer

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