On Saturday, Paul A. Heasley, founder of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, passed away at his home. He was 66. Heasley started the team in 1999 as part of the United Soccer League’s A-League, now known as USL Pro.
In that inaugural season, the Hounds were named the A-League Organization of the Year, packing crowds into Bethel Park High School to watch soccer develop and grow at the professional level in Pittsburgh.
Justin Evans, current Riverhounds head coach, was the first player drafted by Pittsburgh and Mr. Heasley, in 1999. According to Evans, Mr. Heasley stepped up behind the game of soccer and started the club on its journey to Highmark Stadium in Station Square.
“It was very sad to hear the news of Mr. Heasley’s passing Saturday,” said Evans. “He was a gentle visionary and should always be remembered as a pioneer in the soccer community. He was truly a great and humble man, never wanting the light to shine on him, but always providing that bright light so others could shine. He will be missed by many.”
“Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends from the organization that he created and successfully ran.”
USL President Tim Holt had this to say, “Paul will be remembered as one of the most positive figures in USL during his ownership of the Riverhounds, While we mourn his passing, his vision for the club was remarkable, and the work he began is continued today by Jason Kutney and the rest of the Riverhounds’ organization.”
In 2004, Heasley sold the team to Sports Facility LLC, owners of the Washington Wildthings baseball team of the Frontier League. Earlier that year, the team had moved down to the USL’s Second Division, sitting just under the A-League, and had changed venues with a move from Bethel Park High School to Moon Area High School in Moon Township, PA.
The Riverhounds have officially retired just one number in club history, and it was the number “99” in honor of Mr. Heasley and the beginning of the Riverhounds in 1999.
The City of Champions staff joins the Riverhounds Family in extending our sincere condolences to the entire Heasley family.
A Vietnam veteran, Paul served in the U.S. Naval Air and was transferred to regular Navy in 1968 stationed in Norfolk, Va. Paul was the founder and owner of Alliance International, a European Banking Business including entities of Financial Business, Real Estate and Media. He chaired the Snee-Reinhardt Charitable Foundation founded by his aunt, Katherine Reinhardt Snee, from its inception in 1987 until he stepped down as Chair in 2003 but remained an active board director until present day.
Prior to Sunday’s game at 3 p.m. against the Antigua Barracuda FC, the Riverhounds will hold a 99-second moment of silence in honor of Mr. Heasley.