A familiar face will be back between the sticks at Highmark Stadium in 2016, as longtime Riverhounds goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap has returned to the team. Gilstrap, 32, will also coach the goaltenders at the Riverhounds’ development academy.
His first stint with the team saw him appear in 93 games from 2010 to 2014 and won the USL-2 Goalkeeper of the Year Award in 2010. In 2015, he split time between the Carolina RailHawks of the Tier-2 NASL and the Charlotte Independence of the USL. Gilstrap is a North Carolina native and played collegiately at Clemson and the College of Charleston.
Gilstrap will share goalkeeping duties with Mauricio Vargas, who was signed earlier in the week. 2015 goalkeepers Calle Brown and Ryan Thompson have both moved on.
Also announced on Thursday was the signing of central defender Karsten Smith. Smith, 27, played for the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL in 2015. At 6-foot-3, he represents the kind of height on the back line that the Riverhounds missed in 2015. Smith is a native of Huntington Station, New York and played collegiately at American University.
With Gilstrap and Smith in the fold, the Hounds now 13 players under contract for the 2016 season. The USL schedule typically begins at the end of March, with the exhibition season starting in February.
Photo credit: Carolina RailHawks