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. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
It’s a different landscape for elite women’s soccer in the DC-area this year. With the folding of the W-League, the Spirit Reserves and the Braddock Road Stars Elite (now the Washington Spirit Academy) have come over to the Women’s Premier Soccer League to help form the Colonial Division along with perennial WPSL powerhouse ASA Chesapeake Charge. This means that the Charge and the Spirit teams – long separated by the lack of love between the W-League and the WPSL – will finally play each other for the first time ever, and in home-and-home series. That’s certainly something I’m looking forward to.
The remaining teams in the division are Fredericksburg FC, the Richmond Strikers, and Virginia Beach City FC, but I’m just going to look at the aforementioned ones that I’ve been following. Continue reading →