#29- Brian Ownby
Our first hometown star on the list is none other than Brian Ownby. The Henrico native featured for the Kickers 58 times in league play, contributing 14 goals and 12 assists in that time. Ownby was a consistent presence for Leigh Cowlishaw in the mid-2010s when healthy, only being slowed by a shoulder injury that cut his 2015 season short. Brian’s speed and tenacity on the wing established him as a top performer in the USL, and sees him check in at #29 on our list.
Having won championships at the high school level with Deep Run and the collegiate level at Virginia, Ownby set out on his professional career. He was a known commodity in US Soccer circles, having represented the United States at the U-20 World Cup in 2009 and scoring against Cameroon. Houston selected him 7th in the MLS Supplemental Draft in 2012, and he played seven league games with them that year.
Ownby returned home to Richmond on loan for the 2013 season, and he immediately became a key contributor. He finished second on the team in both goals and assists for year, scoring 7 times and assisting 5 (or 6, depending on the source). Key highlights from the season included an acrobatic side volley to help give Orlando City their first home loss of the season (3:44 of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTHFAhML3nA) and a key equalizer late in the second half at LA Blues that ultimately pushed the team to a win. The 2013 team is arguably one of the best in club history, winning the regular season with only one defeat the whole year, and Ownby’s presence and contribution were at the forefront of that success.
After an up and down loan season with Pittsburgh in 2014, Ownby returned to the Kickers as a contracted player in 2015. The season would unfortunately be a limited one for him, suffering a shoulder injury against Montreal that required surgery. During his slightly less than half a season, he did fill up the scoresheet, scoring 4 times in league play and assisting another 4. He also scored the opener against Jacksonville of the NASL in the Open Cup, helping to push the Kickers into a match against Columbus.
The 2016 season was a quieter one on the scoresheet for Brian, but still saw him lead the team in assists with three to go along with three more goals. Among the highlights of the season for him were a 90th minute equalizer at a Red Bulls team that featured future US Internationals Tyler Adams and Aaron Long among others and a stoppage time assist to Hugh Roberts to rescue a point in Cincinnati.
Following the season, Ownby signed with Louisville, where he plays to this day. He has continued to be a dangerous presence in USL since leaving Richmond. Louisville has won two USL Cups with Brian in the team, and he led them in scoring in the playoffs in each of those seasons. In 2021 he marked his career high in single season assists with 10, showing that he is still going strong as a key player into his thirties.