Leigh Cowlishaw "is" the Richmond Kickers. And he'll be back for at least another year.
Cowlishaw is returning for his 14th season as head coach in 2013. Continuing the strong tradition of hiring from within the organization, he has named Ihor Dotsenko assistant coach and Sascha Görres player/assistant coach.
Cowlishaw did tell The Richmond Times-Dispatch that this could be his final season coaching the pro team. He's quoted as saying that he'd like to spend more time on his duties as the club's director of soccer.
Under Cowlishaw's guidance, the Kickers have qualified for postseason play 12 of the past 13 seasons, reaching the league title match six times (2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010) and claiming the USL crown twice (2006 and 2009). Having also achieved significant success in the U.S. Open Cup, he won the tournament title as a player in 1995 and has since led the team to four quarterfinal appearances (2001, 2004, 2007, 2011) and a remarkable semifinal finish in 2011, ousting five Major League Soccer teams along the way. A member of the USL Hall of Fame, Cowlishaw's success on the field is matched by numerous awards off the field, helping to guide the club to five USL Organization of the Year awards (1995, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2009).
Holding a USSF "A" License and a UEFA "A" License, Dotsenko joins the Kickers pro coaching staff, having been an integral component of the Richmond Kickers organization at all levels, from youth to the professional ranks since 1998. A professional soccer player for seven years, including four seasons with the Richmond Kickers (1998, 2002-03, 2006), his career included stints with the Lehigh Valley Steam (USL-1), Raleigh Capital Express (USL-1), Atlanta Silverbacks (USL-1), Sporting Kansas City (MLS) and Philadelphia KiXX (NPSL), amassing a total of 41 career goals and 10 assists.
Acting as the club's Technical Director since 2003, Dotsenko oversees the Kickers youth soccer programs while coaching a Kickers U-18 U.S. Soccer Development Academy. A 1997 Wake Forest University graduate and Scholar Athlete, the Kiev, Ukraine native holds career records in points (46) and goals (18).
A franchise player entering his ninth season with the Kickers, Görres has anchored Richmond's starting lineup since the 2005 season, logging a total of 17,500 minutes in a Kickers uniform during his professional career. Ranking sixth on the Kickers all-time games played list, he reached the 200th game mark on August 11, 2012 as the only field player to play every minute of every game that season. Integral on both sides of the ball, the native of Flensburg, Germany contributed to eight shutouts in 2012 while adding firepower with one goal and four assists. A two-time All-League Second Team honoree and 2008 USL Defender of the Year Finalist, he resides in second place on the club's all-time career assists list with 40 and in sixth place on the all-time career points list with 72.
A First Team All-American, Görres was recognized as All-Conference and All-Tournament as well as named to the NSCAA All-Southeast Region squad and the NSCAA/adidas Scholar All-American squad at the University of North Carolina Pembroke. One of only two All-Americans to play for UNCP, Görres holds the school record for career assists with 28 and scored the game-winning goal in the 81st minute of the NCAA quarterfinal match that sent UNCP to their first ever Final Four appearance.