#30- Braeden Troyer
“Braeden Troyer, he’s a warrior”
Playing 135 times for the Richmond Kickers in official competitions between 2015 and 2019, Braeden Troyer cemented himself as the face of the team as the club transitioned into the League One era. A no-nonsense defender who spent the majority of his time at left back before shifting to a defensive midfield role, Braeden established himself as the epitome of consistency during his time in Richmond and checks in at #30 on our list. (I probably should've extended this to a 31 person list and let him be #31. Oh well...)
Troyer joined the club in 2015 after playing four years of college soccer at the University of South Carolina. He added his name to a long list of successful trialists that have come in to Richmond through the tryout process, navigating his way through the dozens of hopefuls to secure his spot. Leigh Cowlishaw and staff clearly made a good choice, as Troyer appeared in three out of four games off the bench to start the season before taking a stranglehold on a starting job. In fact, Troyer would not come off the bench again until the 2019 season when he was still recovering from an injury suffered late in the 2018 season.
If you ask anyone who watched Braeden play as a Kicker, you’ll hear the same sort of feedback. Dedicated. Professional. Great teammate. Great person. He wasn’t the marauding modern fullback that you see today, focused on the attack as much if not more than the defense. Instead, you got a throwback guy who seemed to revel in shutting down the opposition via a crunching tackle. Whether he was at left back, center back, right back, or defensive midfield, you knew exactly what you were getting from #31, and that was full effort.
Braeden also quickly became a fan favorite during his time with the Kickers for his play on the field and his demeanor off the field. At team events, he would regularly spend his time connecting with fans and learning about them. When he scored his only goal in league play in 2019 (he did also score against Espanyol in a friendly in 2018), the crowd erupted, his teammates mobbed him, and keeping in mind his more mild-mannered demeanor, they pushed him to take the spotlight in celebrating with the supporters. After he announced his upcoming retirement late in the 2019 season, coach David Bulow made sure Troyer got a proper send-off in front of the Richmond faithful. It’s not easy to coordinate a crowd at City Stadium, but as he was substituted late in the match, the whole of City Stadium applauded him off the field one last time, showing appreciation for all that he gave to the team and community over his five years with the Kickers.