New Tulsa Roughnecks FC Head Coach David Vaudreuil officially announced his first two player signings today, and they are names that will be familiar to soccer fans in North America. Vaudreuil announced that former MLS stars Kosuke Kimura and Donovan Ricketts have come to terms with the Roughnecks, pending final approval by the United Soccer League and the United States Soccer Federation. Both Kimura and Ricketts will serve as player coaches for Vaudreuil and the Roughnecks.
Kimura and Ricketts bring strong credentials to the Roughnecks, as both have successful professional backgrounds.
Kimura, a native of Japan who holds permanent residency status in the United States, has played in over 100 games in Major League Soccer, primarily with the Colorado Rapids. After playing collegiately at Western Illinois University, the defender became the first Japanese player in MLS when he was drafted by the Rapids in 2007. He spent six seasons in Colorado, scoring four goals in 117 appearances.
In 2010, Kimura scored the game-winning goal in a playoff victory over San Jose that sent the Rapids to the MLS Cup. He played all 120 minutes in the final as the Rapids defeated Dallas 2-1 in extra time to claim their only MLS title.
After spending the majority of two more seasons in Colorado, he was traded to Portland in the summer of 2012, scoring 1 goal in 17 games for the Timbers.
Kimura then spent two seasons with the New York Red Bulls before moving to Polish side Widzew Lodz. He returned to the United States in the summer of 2015 and played in 15 games with the Atlanta Silverbacks in the North American Soccer League.
His connection with coach Vaudreuil began last season when he made 33 appearances with Rayo OKC in the NASL while Vaudreuil served as an assistant coach for the team. Kimura led a backline that surrendered only 21 goals in the fall season, second fewest in the league, as Rayo secured a playoff berth.
“I had the pleasure of coaching Kosuke last season,” said Vaudreuil. “Not only was I impressed with his substantial MLS career, but I was also impressed with his on-field coaching and his attention to detail. He was the first person that I thought of when considering our coaching positions, and he will be an invaluable addition for us, both on the field and off.”
For Ricketts, the opportunity with the Roughnecks marks a new chapter in his distinguished career. The two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year will also serve as goalkeeper coach for Vaudreuil. The 6’4” Jamaican International has made nearly 200 appearances in Major League Soccer for the Los Angeles Galaxy, Portland Timbers, Montreal Impact and Orlando City.
Early in his career, Ricketts made over 100 appearances in goal for English League One and Two side Bradford City.
He also made 100 appearances for the Jamaica National Team and was a member of that country’s 1998 World Cup squad.
“I saw Donovan play and train on a daily basis when we were both with the Los Angeles Galaxy,” said Vaudreuil. “I was always extremely impressed with his work rate, discipline and approach to the game. In addition to the playing experience he brings with him, Donovan will be a huge asset to our players and to our club. He will provide an international presence in our locker room and in the community.”
The Roughnecks are scheduled to open their third season of play in USL on Saturday, March 25 when they host the Colorado Springs Switchbacks at ONEOK Field.
A number of ticket plans for the 2017 season are currently on sale at the stadium ticket office and online at RoughnecksFC.com.
Kosuke Kimura and Donovan Ricketts join TRFC