Maddie Huster (left) warms up while Rachel Moore (right) awaits her turn. (Washington Spirit photo)
For me, the 2018 NWSL draft was the culmination of the last four years (and more) of covering the elite amateur teams in the Washington, DC, area, as half-a-dozen of the players I’d been covering were picked for a shot at going professional. I stopped by the Washington Spirit’s third day of practice, on Wednesday, February 21st, to talk with as many of them as I could.
Head coach Jim Gabarra talked about picking “homegrown” talent. “We’re fortunate to bring that quality of players in who have an attachment to the area or the Reserve team or teams past. It’s always good to give future generations the real true carrot, the pathway to the professional team by showing that we’ll at least give a chance to those we’ve had in as Reserves.”
I asked did he think it made it easier for those with experience with the organization to make the transition. “Yes, I think it does. The psychological part of coming into a pro team or into a national team, if you haven’t ever been there, the first couple of days, the first phase is always difficult. And this way we’ve got players in our DA or on our reserve teams that have been in training sessions with the pro team, so it’s something they’ve gone through. So they get to know you, and the comfort level is a lot higher.” Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
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 →
The Charge were supposed to kick off their 2016 season on Saturday, May 21, by hosting the Richmond Strikers, but that match was called off due to the weather.
Instead, on an unseasonably cool Tuesday evening, they hosted Virginia Beach at Arundel High School’s Carroll Field.
Chesapeake have lost some key players after several years of being a WPSL powerhouse, including forwards Laura Kane, Maria Kresge, and Cheyenne Skidmore; defender Jennifer Gillette; and goalkeepers Lyndse Hokanson and Erin Quinn. In fact, on this evening despite being the home team they had just twelve players. As a result, while they still play quality soccer they’re no longer quite so formidable.
As for the visitors, when the Virginia Beach Piranhas played in the W-League (before they folded after the 2013 season), they were notorious for their physical play. With a head coach (John Germanos) and assistant coach (the legendary Mercy Akide-Udoh) who coached and played for the Piranhas, respectively, it’s no surprise that this team is similar. This game featured numerous fouls, complaints from both benches about uncalled fouls, and at least three yellow cards. Continue reading →
On Sunday, the Big East and Colonial Athletic Association teams switched off against each other. William & Mary faced Georgetown in the first game and shocked the Hoyas, 3-0. Then James Madison took on Seton Hall and prevailed easily, 5-0. Continue reading →
The Fairfield Inn by Marriott James Madison University Invitational – to give it its full name – presented a contrast in the first round of matches. In the opener, William & Mary dispatched Seton Hall easily, 5-1, while in the nightcap Georgetown had a tight, high-scoring battle with hosts James Madison before prevailing, 4-3.
If you had to set up a pecking order among the teams, it would definitely be:
1. Georgetown – last year 6-1-2 and #2 in Big East, 11-5-6 overall, ranked #25 in country.
2. James Madison – 7-2 and #2 in Colonial Athletic Association, 12-8 overall.
3. William & Mary – 5-4 and #4 in CAA, 12-6-1 overall.
4. Seton Hall – 0-6-3 in Big East, 3-10-5 overall.
I don’t want to diss Seton Hall too badly, but one of these teams is not like the others, and it showed in the results. Continue reading →