PEORIA, IL (May 5, 2022) – The second wave of players joining Peoria City for the franchise’s inaugural season in USL League Two will bring experience from two of the nation’s top college soccer conferences. Today, Peoria City announces the roster additions of the Providence College trio of Gevork Diarbian, Rimi Olatunji and Kevin Vang, as well as Boston College defender Wll Jacques.
Diarbian is a two-time All-BIG East Conference performer in his first two seasons as an attacking player at Providence. The 5-foot-7 forward from Cranston, R.I. earned second-team all-league and United Soccer Coaches All-East Region honors as a sophomore in 2021, while leading the Friars to a 12-5-4 record and the third round of the NCAA Tournament by sharing his team’s lead with six assists and adding three goals for 12 points. Starting all nine games as a true freshman during the delayed and abbreviated 2020-21 season, Diarbian earned All-BIG East third-team recognition.
Also from Cranston, R.I., Vang completed his Providence career last fall, appearing in 68 career games with 32 starts for the Friars. The 5-foot-5 midfielder totaled three goals and nine assists in his career and earned BIG East Conference Weekly Honor Roll recognition Oct. 25, 2021 after scoring the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory against UConn.
From Brampton, Ontario, Olatunji is a 6-foot-1 goalkeeper from Providence, who was the team’s starting netminder during the 2020-21 COVID spring season. Earning back-to-back BIG EAST Conference Goalkeeper-of-the-Week honors March 1 and March 8, 2021, Olatunji made 30 saves with a 0.89 goals against average in the nine games of the 2020-21 campaign.
From Medford, Mass., Jacques is a 6-foot defender who began his collegiate career at Duke, then transferred to ACC rival Boston College for his final two seasons as a graduate student. Jacques was a starter in 13 of his 15 games at BC, helping the Eagles to five shutouts in his starting assignments the last two seasons.
Wednesday, Peoria City announced local products Wes Gibson, McKay LaHood, Noah Madrigal and Myles Sophanavong as its first four signees. Roster additions will continue to be announced throughout the next eight days, leading up to the franchise’s debut game Saturday, May 14 (7:00 p.m.) versus Minneapolis City SC at Bradley University’s Shea Stadium.
While single-game ($5 GA, $25 premium fieldside) and season tickets ($25/$125) now are available for sale online at PeoriaCitySoccer.com, tickets and t-shirts also will be available for purchase in person during the team’s two upcoming Five Bars Fan Events: Saturday (9:00 a.m.) at The Fox Pub and Cafe during the restaurant’s final Fox Footy & Fry-up and Bearded Owl Tap Takeover, which will feature the debut of Peoria City Pils; and Wednesday, May 11 (6:00 p.m.) at The Fieldhouse Bar and Grill.
Peoria City last month announced the formation of the Five Bars Pub Club, an association of five local establishments which will host Peoria City events and soccer-themed promotions throughout the year. The first Five Bars fan event was April 21 at W.E. Sullivan’s Irish Pub & Fare in Peoria Heights and the two additional pub club members are Bearded Owl Brewing and Pour Bros. Craft Taproom.
Following the team’s debut May 14 versus Minneapolis City, the other five Peoria City home games are scheduled for Friday, May 27 (Des Moines Menace); Friday, June 3 (St. Croix SC); Wednesday, June 22 (Des Moines Menace); Friday, July 1 (FC Manitoba) and Sunday, July 3 (Thunder Bay Chill). All six games are slated for 7:00 p.m. CT kickoffs at Bradley University’s Shea Stadium.
Five Bars is a reference to the design of the Peoria City badge, which incorporates six diagonal lines to form the borders of five wider bars. The lines symbolize the six Illinois River crossings into the Peoria city limits, while the five bars represent Peoria’s five city council districts.
ABOUT USL LEAGUE TWO
A part of United Soccer Leagues, LLC, which also operates the USL Championship, USL League One, Super Y League and the new USL Academy, USL League Two is the top pre-professional soccer league in North America, offering a summer platform for aspiring professionals across the United States and Canada. League Two is the defined and proven pathway for players to progress to the ranks of professional soccer, while its clubs become fixtures in the communities where they operate. More than 70 percent of all MLS SuperDraft selections since 2010 have League Two experience, including 66 alumni chosen in 2018 and 61 in 2019. Werder Bremen’s Josh Sargent, Inter Miami CF’s DeAndre Yedlin, and Atlanta United’s Brad Guzan are among the many U.S. National Team players to have competed in USL League Two before making their professional debuts.