The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) is proud to announce that Grove Soccer United
(Richmond, VA) has joined the league as an expansion team. The club will begin competition in the East Region in 2022.
“Grove Soccer United is a great success story for the NPSL,” NPSL Managing Director Cindy Spera said. “The ownership group was born out of a player that came through the NPSL, had a fantastic experience, and dreamed of owning his own soccer business someday. Years later, the goal was achieved, and we are so proud to welcome them back into the league.”
The club is led by Justin Grove, Jonathan Roberts, Kiki Teshome, and Adrian Clewlow.
Grove, who will serve as the club’s Executive Director, is also a director on the Board of the Grove Foundation. He was a scholarship player at the University of Richmond and played for NPSL sides RVA FC and Charlottesville Alliance FC. He is a former professional player with the Richmond Kickers with overseas playing experience with Red Star FC (France) and Magic FC (South Africa). He coached at Red Star FC during his time in France and has been managing the Grove Soccer Academy in the U.S. and South Africa for the last six years. Grove holds a Bachelor’s in International Relations from the University of Richmond and a Master’s in Business from the University of Paris 10.
“The NPSL is a highly competitive league with many good teams in our region,” Grove said. “We aim to develop a championship-caliber squad and to create an exciting gameday experience for soccer families and youth players.”
Roberts is a director on the Board of The Grove Foundation. He manages the FE Valuation team. His team is responsible for the initial financial analysis, assessment, and valuation of businesses listed with FE International. He studied international business and economics at California State University, Long Beach before getting his Master’s in International Business at Paris Nanterre University.
Teshome is a director on the Board of The Grove Foundation. He was also a standout player at the University of Richmond. After graduation in 2011, he joined Goldman Sachs on their international equities desk as an analyst. After four years he enrolled at the Wharton School of Business for his MBA and later joined the industrials coverage group in investment banking at JP Morgan. In 2018 he rejoined Goldman Sachs to focus on European equities sales, where he currently is a VP covering institutional investors.
Grove, who holds French, Scottish and U.S. coaching licenses, will lead the technical direction of the team. He will be assisted by Clewlow, a fellow University of Richmond alumnus. Clewlow is the director of Adrian Clewlow Goalkeeping Academy (ACGK). He played professionally with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, New Orleans Storm, and the Richmond Kickers. He also has professional coaching experience, having spent eight years as an assistant coach with the Richmond Kickers of USL League One. Clewlow is currently an assistant coach for the women’s soccer program at the University of Richmond.
“We are excited to join the NPSL as it is a perfect fit for Grove Soccer United and our programs,” Grove said. “Our mission at Grove Soccer is to develop aspiring players and to give them the opportunity to showcase their talent at the highest levels. The competitive nature of the NPSL fits hand in hand with this mission.”
The Grove Soccer Academy (GSA), along with its partner Adrian Clewlow Goalkeeping Academy, is a high-performance program centered on developing top players in Richmond, Virginia and in South Africa since 2015. In 2021, the GSA launched its Pro23 squad combining the top players from the academy program, top college players from across Virginia, and ex-professional players. The Pro23 squad played nine games from May to July 2021, finishing the season with a record of 7-1-1 and going undefeated in the last eight games. Throughout the season, GSA hosted several home games at Deep Run Stadium and created a fun, exciting atmosphere for Richmond soccer families. Building on the success of the 2021 season, the club enters the NPSL as Grove Soccer United and provides a competitive high-performance soccer environment, a platform for players to develop and move on to the next level, and a fun, exciting gameday experience for the Richmond soccer community and youth players.
Home matches will take place at Deep Run HS.
Grove Soccer United is sponsored by Atlas Tower, an established infrastructure provider with communication towers all over the United States. The company is also currently focusing on tower infrastructure in the Southern African Development Region.
“We are excited for Grove Soccer United to join the NPSL,” NPSL Director of Membership Development Dina Case said. “GSU’s ownership brings a good balance of business and soccer experience to the table, experience that includes the NPSL. This past experience with the league should make for an easy and smooth transition into the league for GSU. Richmond is a great soccer market, and we expect this group to have tremendous success there.”
More information about expansion opportunities in the NPSL can be found at npsl.com/expansion.