Roger Bothe, a 2006 Thomas Dale High School graduate who led the Knights to two state soccer titles, recently signed a contract to play professionally for the local Richmond Kickers.
While at Dale, Bothe was twice named the Gatorade Virginia High School Player of the Year, and was also chosen as the Virginia High School Coaches Association Male Athlete of the Year.
Bothe went on to star at William and Mary, where he will graduate in May with a degree in finance. From his defenseman post, Bothe led the Tribe with five assists this past season. He was named to the VaSID first team and NSCAA All-South Atlantic second team. He was also recognized as a Scholar All-American.
The first player to rise completely through the Kickers’ ranks, Bothe joined the Club as a U-15 Elite Player before graduating to the Kickers Premier Developmental League team.
Leigh Cowlishaw, director of soccer and the Kickers’ head coach said: “Roger’s signing is a significant moment in our history. He is the first of our youth players to return to Richmond and play professionally. We fully expect that others will follow this path from youth to the pros, displaying a passion and commitment that comes with representing your hometown team.”
Bothe, the son of Ned and Melinda Bothe, is excited about joining the Kickers, but admits the first couple of months will be tough.
“There will be some overlap between the start of the Kickers season and the completion of my degree requirements,” he said. “I will be juggling my time and doing some commuting from Williamsburg. Fortunately most of the games are on weekends.”
The Kickers practice at the Ukrop’s facility just off Iron Bridge Road, making it convenient for Bothe to return home this summer. “We practice from nine to 11 in the mornings, and then the Kickers are giving me an opportunity to make some business contacts in my area of finance. I look to at least do some part-time work in my degree field,” Bothe added.
Community service also plays a very important role in the Kickers organization. Bothe hopes to have an opportunity to work with younger children and possibly do some coaching.
The Kickers play in the USL-2 League, where they are the defending champions. Bothe is thrilled to have the opportunity to join the pro ranks of an organization in which he started as a youngster.
“One of the best opportunities will be taking part in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup,” he said. “This gives us the chance to play against some of the greatest players in the world.”
The Kickers season runs from April through the summer, with home matches contested at U of R Stadium. Ticket information is available on the Kickers website at www.richmondkickers.com.