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 →
Coming into this Tuesday evening match (July 7) I didn’t hold out much hope for ACF Torino. So far in the season they were 0-2-3 against the 3 new teams of the South Atlantic Division. Meanwhile, the Charge were an undefeated 6-0-0 against those same teams, with most wins by 3 goals or more. Continue reading →
Cheyenne Skidmore scores the game-winning goal in the Charge’s home opener (photo courtesy of Ken L. Harriford).
In addition to our two local W-League teams, one in northern Virginia, the other northwest of DC, there are two local WPSL teams, both based east of DC, the Anne Arundel County based Chesapeake Charge, and the Prince George’s County based ACF Torino.
In contrast with the W-League, the WPSL is exploding. It’s expanded to 82 teams this year from 72 last year and includes at least 4 teams affiliated with professional NWSL teams. (The Spirit Reserves are the only W-League team associated with an NWSL team.) It’s reportedly the largest women’s league in the world.
The downside from a journalistic perspective is that the WPSL is comparatively lackadaisical about providing information. I know all about the W-League playoffs. All I know about the WPSL playoffs is that just one team from the South Atlantic Division will qualify, the conference finals will take place in New England the weekend of July 18, and the league finals will take place in Houston the weekend of July 25. But just try to find any of that information on the WPSL website.
South Atlantic Division
The South Atlantic Division is living more up to its name than in previous years, when it included teams from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. This year it has five teams from Maryland and Virginia. The Maryland teams are familiar, ACF Torino and the ASA Chesapeake Charge, while the Virginia teams are all new: Chesterfield United (south of Richmond), Fredericksburg FC, and Virginia Beach City FC. Torino assistant coach and midfielder Elise Bender is happy with the smaller geographic footprint. “Thank goodness, we’re just Virginia and Maryland. The farthest game for us is Virginia Beach, so that’s not so bad.” Continue reading →