Highlanders Sign O'Neill
Posted on: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
The Victoria Highlanders FC are pleased to announce the signing of attacking midfielder Riley O’Neill. The 27 year old B.C. native spent last season playing abroad in the Finnish Veikkausliiga (premier division of Finnish football) with Myllykosken Pallo−47 (known as MYPA).
"It's funny how it came about," said Riley, "I was playing over in Germany and then Finland but after the last season I got tired of playing in Europe and decided to look at coming back to the island to do some coaching. Then I thought about playing so I contacted Steve (Simonson, head coach of the Highlanders) and signed on. I'm glad to be home and playing in front of some hometown fans."
An alumni of the University of Kentucky Wildcats soccer program, O’Neill was originally drafted 36th overall by the Colorado Rapids in the MLS Supplemental Draft in 2007, but chose to ply his trade overseas in Europe.
“We’ve always had a blend of young local players and players from abroad coming in to play,” said Highlanders FC head coach Steve Simonson. “For players coming in it has to be the right fit for our club and we feel that Riley is the right fit. Riley is a player with a great deal of experience and talent, and we’re grateful for a player of his talent and experience to want to come back and share his knowledge with our younger players."
Spending one season (2007-08) with SV Wilhelmshaven of the German Fourth Division, O’Neill scored an impressive 12 goals in 30 matches, helping him earn a contract with current German Second Division Club Entracht Braunschweig in 2008-09, before returning to SV Wilhelmshaven in 2009-10. Last season, O’Neill scored 12 goals in 53 appearances for MYPA of the Finnish Premier Division.
“Players of Riley’s experience only come so often,” stated Highlanders FC General Manager Mark deFrias. “Once we heard that Riley was out of contract with MYPA, it didn’t take us long to get connected and see if a return to the Island was a possibility. The Highlanders will offer him a good opportunity to keep fit over the summer months and it will be his decision if he returns to Europe at the end of the season to latch onto another European side. Riley went to high school at Campbell River, so he knows the Island vibe and all the staff feel he will settle in quite nicely with the squad.”
O’Neill will take one of the eight available overage spots on the Highlanders FC 2013 roster. The attacking midfielder is a proven scoring threat against top level squads, and joins a steady core of returning players trying to earn one of 3 playoff spots available in the always competitive Northwest Division of the USL Premier Development League. The Highlanders kick-off the season against 2011 League Champions Kitsap Pumas at home on May 4th at Royal Athletic Park (5:00PM kick-off)
Season tickets are currently on sale through the club office or online at www.victoriahighlandersfc.com
. Adult season tickets are $60, youth & supporters tickets are set at $35. All season tickets give you access to all home games at Royal Athletic Park (7 regular season men’s PDL matches, 2 regular season women’s PCSL matches, and the always competitive Charity Shield match that is played between the Highlanders and Victoria United).
Born: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Raised: Campbell River, BC, Canada
High School: Timberline Secondary School
College: University of Kentucky Wildcats
Professional and International Experience
Years Team Apps† (Gls)†
2007–2008 SV Wilhelmshaven 30 (12)
2008–2009 Eintracht Braunschweig 2 (0)
2008–2009 → Eintracht Braunschweig II 14 (7)
2009–2010 SV Wilhelmshaven 27 (6)
2011–2012 MYPA 53 (12)
2002 Canada U-17 3 (0)
2004–2005 Canada U-20 17 (3)