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Klein named new Riverhounds coach

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Friday, Dec. 16, 2005, 12:00 p.m.

The Riverhounds went into the past in hopes of succeeding in the future.

The team hired former assistant Gene Klein, who had been with the team from 1999-2001, as head coach Thursday.

"When I asked people who we should hire as a coach, the name Gene Klein came up every time," said Ross Vecchio, general manager. "He is the guy to help us take the next step with this franchise. We learned so much from our first season with the franchise. Gene is one of the most influential people in soccer, especially around here."

Klein, 53, agreed to a one-year deal, but he hopes to make the job a year-round endeavor. Klein said he took the position to help the sport grow in Western Pennsylvania ( Riverhounds 2006 schedule ) .

Klein coached the Quaker Valley boys soccer team for the past 25 seasons, leading the Quakers to six PIAA titles, six WPIAL championships and 24 playoff appearances. Klein replaces Ricardo Iribarren, whose contract was not renewed.

Klein, a Sewickley resident, knows the soccer community and already has started making calls to build relationships.

He endorsed the hiring of Paul Child, 53, and Csaba Feher, who played semi-pro soccer in Hungary and Austria, as assistants. Feher will handle youth development. Child is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

"Gene bugged the (heck) out of me to coach with him," said Child, who starred for the former Pittsburgh Spirit indoor soccer team. "I felt like I had already separated myself from the coaching side of things. But I, like Gene, am excited about growing the game. This will be a great opportunity for some young players to use this as a stepping stone to move up to higher levels."

Among those attending the news conference at the Holiday Inn Meadowlands was Justin Evans, a Peters Township graduate. Evans, who played for the Riverhounds and in Major League Soccer, said he would consider playing for Klein.

"We want to give the fans entertaining soccer," Klein said. "We want to bring in players who will give the fans something to come back for. We also want to bring back the fans who came when the franchise started in 1999."

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