Fernandes signs professional contract with United Soccer League

The Temple University men’s soccer captain will play in Pittsburgh in 2020.

Senior forward Lukas Fernandes stands on the field at the Temple Sports Complex at Temple University on Jan. 12. He has recently been signed to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. | CLAUDIA SALVATO / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University men’s soccer senior forward and captain Lukas Fernandes signed a one-year contract with United Soccer League club Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC on Dec. 19 for the 2020 season. 

“They reached out to me about going there for a trial and I went, I think it was the first weekend of December,” Fernandes said. “It was a two-day trial with I think there were about 50 other players there and six goalkeepers. I just went for a trial for two days and I was successful enough to eventually sign with them.”

The Riverhounds finished atop their league in the 2019 regular season with 68 points and a record of 19-4-11. The Riverhounds won their first playoff game 7-0 but fell to Louisville City FC in extra time of the second round.

Fernandes also signed with a club option for the 2021 season, pending approval from the USL Championship and United States Soccer Federation. A club option allows a team to extend a player’s contract for one additional season after the scheduled end date.

Fernandes, a Christian, gave credit to God for his achievement. He added that his family, especially his father, has pushed him to become his best. 

“If there is a person at Temple, I’d have to say coach [Brian] Rowland. He was very influential and changing, not changing but advancing my game and taking my game to the next level. And he was the one who kind of changed my college career.” 

In his final season with the Owls, Fernandes led the team with 11 points including three goals and five assists. Fernandes started in all of his 17 appearances on the season and only missed one game in 2019.

Fernandes recalled one of his most memorable goals with Temple—the game-winning goal in the 87th minute against the University of Louisville on Oct. 22.

“This past year against Louisville was pretty awesome because I wasn’t you know, in the best place,” Fernandes said. “I was dealing with a lot of stress and a lot of things off the field [and] on the field and I think that was a turning point for us in the season, and for myself to kind of move forward and enjoy the ride you know.”

He earned All-American Athletic Conference honors for the second straight year. In his four-year career with Temple, the Rochester, N.Y. native started 34 games in 55 total appearances.

Fernandes recorded 29 points, 10 goals and nine assists in four seasons with the Owls. He also led the squad offensively for the past two seasons.

Fernandes, a three-time Athletic Honor roll member, graduated from Temple University this winter with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology.

“I’ve grown so much over the past four years here at Temple,” Fernandes said. “So everything I’ve learned, all the experiences I’ve dealt with, you know the ups and the downs. And just being mindful that there’s gonna be ups and downs and how I’m gonna deal with it.”

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