Long Island Rough Riders goalkeeper Danny Vitiello has signed with Nashville SC of the United Soccer League Championship, the club announced.
Sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation as a Division II professional league, the USL Championship features 30 clubs throughout the United States and Canada. Nashville SC (12-9-13) finished in eighth place in the Eastern Conference in 2018, losing 6-5 in a shootout to FC Cincinnati in the first round of the playoffs.
“I’m very proud of Danny,” Rough Riders head coach Stephen Roche said. “He undoubtedly has the ability to play at the professional level, but more importantly, has the character. He is one of the hardest working players I have worked with and always showed great character during his time with the Rough Riders.”
Vitiello impressed Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith and his staff during a trial over the summer and again during invite-only tryouts in December to earn the transfer.
Vitiello, who wrapped up a stellar four-year career at the University of Albany, had 11 saves in three PDL matches with the Rough Riders last season. He had a season-high six stops in a 2-1 win at Lehigh Valley United on June 23, and played between the pipes in the extra-time victory over Kingston Stockade in the first round of the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
A native of Massapequa, N.Y., Vitiello had 57 saves in 18 matches for Albany this past fall. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder had a 1.24 goals against average and three shutouts for the Great Danes. He set the all-time program record for goalkeeper wins in the 2-1 victory against Brown on Sept. 9.
“Danny signing with Nashville SC is further evidence that the environment we create prepares our players for the next level,” Roche said. “Along with the excellent colleges they play for and the three months of intense pro-like atmosphere they get at the Rough Riders, players leave our organization prepared for the next level.
“We wish Danny the very best of luck and know he will succeed.”
Nashville SC begins its 2019 USL Championship campaign at home against Loudon United FC on March 9.
BY: Michael LoRé