Category Archives: WPSL

WPSL DC-Area June Recap

June isn’t quite over yet, but I’m only going to make it to one more match, so here’s what’s happened so far this month.

All photographs courtesy of Larry J. Clark.

Virginia Beach City FC 4, Braddock Road Stars Elite 2

Braddock Road's Alex Myers attempts a shot against Virginia Beach.

Braddock Road’s Alex Myers attempts a shot against Virginia Beach.


On Wednesday, June 7, at Robinson High School in Fairfax, VA, a well-oiled Virginia Beach attack overpowered a normally solid Braddock Road defense and even though the Stars Elite scored twice – a good performance by them – it wasn’t enough.
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WPSL DC-Area Week One Recap

Meaghan McElligott

Australian Meaghan McElligott scored three consecutive goals in two matches for the Washington Spirit Reserves.

One week in (roughly), and we have three matches from the local teams in the books, two for each. (The math works out because they played each other.) The Washington Spirit Reserves are, unsurprisingly, 2-0-0, while the Braddock Road Stars Elite, also unsurprisingly, are 1-1-0.
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WPSL DC-area preview 2017

Washington Spirit Reserves players at a preseason practice.

Washington Spirit Reserves players at a preseason practice.

The regional elite women’s amateur scene has altered once again with the folding of the ASA Chesapeake Charge. For most of seven seasons, they were the local WPSL team to be reckoned with, but as time went by they found it harder and harder to recruit enough players to be competitive. When for some games last year they were starting the 13-year-old daughter of their operations manager, the writing was on the wall. So from two years ago when there were four local teams in two leagues, we’re down to two local teams in one league, the Women’s Premier Soccer League. Let’s look at those teams now.
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Spirit Triumph Over Breakers in Playoff Battle of NWSL Reserve Teams

Imani Dorsey scored twice to lead the Spirit Reserves to victory.

Imani Dorsey scored twice to lead the Spirit Reserves to victory.

WPSL East Conference Final: Washington Spirit Reserves 3, Boston Breakers Reserves 1

It was everything you’d expect the first-ever match between two NWSL reserve teams to be: hard-fought, high-quality, and suspenseful. But the 2015 W-League Champion Washington Spirit Reserves came out on top on the strength of two goals from Imani Dorsey and a strike from distance by Maddie Huster that Carli Lloyd would have been proud of. Boston’s Katie Lenz countered with a well-placed goal, but it wasn’t enough.
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Spirit Reserves Tough It Out in WPSL Regional Semifinal

Washington, Boston reserve teams will face off for WPSL East Championship

Midge Purce picked up two assists but should have had a lot more

Midge Purce picked up two assists but could have had a lot more.

Unlike last season in the W-League’s fiercely competitive Southeastern Conference, the Washington Spirit Reserves have seldom been challenged this year, with their toughest opponent being the Spirit Academy. That changed tonight when they faced the regional hosts the Penn Fusion. They came away with a 3-1 victory, but it was hard-fought.
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WPSL DC-Area End of Season Roundup

Spirit Reserves Capture Colonial Crown with 6-0 Win

The 6-0 final scoreline was not a shock, particularly considering that the Washington Spirit Reserves had plenty of subs, while the Richmond Kickers showed up with 11 players and no goalkeeper. (Or, as @jstats tweeted at me, “if they have 11 they have a goalie…that person just doesn’t know it yet”.) And that was with the start being delayed 25 minutes to allow the visitors time to show up.

That being said, it seemed anything but inevitable for the first 45 minutes. Despite having Ashley Herndon (James Madison), Imani Dorsey (Duke), Meggie Dougherty Howard (Florida), and Yanara Aedo (Colo-Colo) on the pitch, the first half seemed more like a game of keep-away: the Reserves had much the better of possession but had nothing to show for it. The best chance of the first 40 minutes was a 6th-minute shot by Wake Forest’s Maddie Huster from about 30 yards out that went off the top of the crossbar.

Richmond suffered further misfortune as their #2 went down in the 38th minute after tangling legs with a Spirit player. She was diagnosed with a bad ankle sprain and missed the rest of the match, so the Strikers were down to ten players.

Quite possibly as a result, the Reserves got two decent chances late in the half. In the 41st minute, Dorsey received a nice cross just inside the top of the 18 but sent it right to the goalkeeper. In the next minute, Dougherty Howard took a shot from about 20 out but sent it high.

Assistant coach JP Sousa was not happy at halftime. “We started off very flat. That was a boring first 45 minutes, very uninspiring. We were just a little bit lazy around the ball, let things happen. We were happy to keep it, but we didn’t do anything positive with it in their half of the field.”
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Spirit Academy Down ASA Charge, 3-1

Annaugh Madsen defends against up-and-coming Charge forward Bridgette Andrzejewski. (Photo by Ken L. Harriford.)

Annaugh Madsen defends against up-and-coming Charge forward Bridgette Andrzejewski. (Photo by Ken L. Harriford.)

Both sides were shorthanded in this late-season, mid-week WPSL match. The Spirit Academy were missing eight players, including all their U-20 national teamers. One of their assistant coaches suited up and played at least a third of the game. The ASA Charge started the match with ten players (the eleventh got stuck in traffic and was taking her earrings off on the sideline), and that was with their operations manager’s teenage daughter playing forward.
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Washington Spirit Farm Teams: Where Are They Now?

2015 USL W-League Champion Washington Spirit Reserves

2015 USL W-League Champion Washington Spirit Reserves

One year ago today – well, besides a certain team winning a world championship – the Washington Spirit Reserves and the Braddock Road Stars Elite (now the Washington Spirit Academy) faced each other close to full-strength. There were numerous players to watch on both rosters, so I made a record of the names and vowed to come back once a year to review where the players are now. So here’s the first entry:

Playing professionally in the NWSL: Caroline Casey (Sky Blue), Carson Pickett* (Seattle Reign).

Playing professionally overseas: Kara Wilson (Speranza FC Osaka Takatsuki, Japan), Sarah Zadrazil (Turbine Potsdam, Germany), Amber Stobbs (Reading FC, England).
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Spirit Reserves Looking Like Champions Again

The reigning North American W-League champion Washington Spirit Reserves may sit atop the Colonial Division standings (at least once you adjust for number of games played), but they haven’t looked all that impressive doing it. The ASA Chesapeake Charge held them to a draw on their home field, and the Spirit Academy twice gave them all they could handle despite falling short. Their most lopsided match was 5-0 over the winless Virginia Beach City FC.

Tonight, though, they smacked down middle-of-the-table Fredericksburg FC, 6-0, and the game was all but decided short of the 20th minute.
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Spirit Farm Teams: Near Futures 3, Far Futures 1

Wake Forest rising junior Maddie Huster (left) keeps an eye on Osbourn Park High School rising senior Myra Konte as Ashley Herndon (far left) looks on.

Wake Forest rising junior Maddie Huster (left) keeps an eye on Osbourn Park High School rising senior Myra Konte as Ashley Herndon (far left) looks on.

When the ageless Joanna Lohman was the general manager of the Washington Freedom’s elite amateur team, she decided they should be dubbed the “Futures” rather than the “Reserves”. Applying that to the Washington Spirit’s two WPSL teams, the Reserves and the Academy, you can think of them as the “Near Futures” and the “Far Futures.”

The Reserves have players available for professional appearances like emergency goalkeeper DiDi Haracic and draft pick Alli Murphy, as well as a healthy share of the U-23 national team roster. The Academy, meanwhile, have five players on the U-20 national team – who were not available for this game – along with a bevy of talented players of similar ages or even younger. In fact, head coach Larry Best started five players who have yet to play in college and subbed in three more.

Despite the age difference, it was an intensely competitive match. The Reserves had the talent, but the Academy had been brought up in the Braddock Road style and worked together extremely well. Both teams put on a demonstration of quality possession soccer.
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