SEATTLE, WA— (club release) The Sounders Women to play two time defending NWSL Champions, FC Kansas City and FC Courage of the WPSL. The Sounders Women will play back to back games with the first against FC Kansas City on May 18th, then FC Courage on May 19th.
For over a decade, the Sounders Women soccer club has worked to develop players and build role models for young women through the game. Many players at the highest level of the women’s game have taken a turn in the rave green in Seattle and with each year, the club looks to redefine itself in the ever changing soccer landscape. As part of the Player First initiative, the brass looked for ways to expose the next generation of professional women’s players to the level they seek day in and day out in their college and other amateur environments. With the folding of the W-League, the Sounders Women will play in the WPSL national league in 2016. The club was looking to supplement league play with opportunities for the players working for that next level.
The Player First initiative is about giving the Sounders Women players the very best environment to continue their growth as players as they move back into their college seasons and ultimately look to make the NWSL home in the future. Alex Arlitt played the 2015 season for the Sounders Women and currently calls FC Kansas City home.
“My summer with the Sounders helped me tremendously to get to the next level. It exposed me to a fast paced training environment and the chance to play with and against some of the best players in the country,” said Arlitt.
The opportunity was spawned through a relationship with Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski of FC Kansas City and Darren Sawatzky, the Sounders Women General Manager. The two played together as professional players years ago and coached against each other in the MASL this winter. The commitment comes from Sounders Women owners Cliff McElroy and Lane Smith, along with Huw Williams, FC Kansas City General Manager and Chris Farabee, FC Kansas City Assistant Director of Operations.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to play against Sounders Women. It will give us a chance to look at some of the best young players in the country and evaluate how they will do at the next level. I think that this just a beginning of a long partnership,” said Vlatko Andonovski, Head Coach of FC Kansas City.
As part of the cross country trip the Sounders Women will take on FC Courage, the local WPSL team included on the trip.
“We are excited about the tremendous opportunity to play the Sounders Women in a WPSL preseason scrimmage. We know that they have had a great reputation formerly playing in the W-League. The WPSL has over 16 regions playing in the US and this is an opponent that we wouldn’t normally get to meet, so we are really looking forward to May 19th,” said Wendy Louque, Head Coach for FC Courage.
The Sounders Women commitment to developing players in the women’s game brings new opportunities with the same end goal.
“The Sounders Women have been synonymous with opportunity and growing the game, explained McElroy, “We want to make sure we are giving these young women great opportunities to continue to develop and grow. The trip to play against the reigning NWSL Champions is another great opportunity and we are very happy that our WPSL partners in FC Courage are willing to play.”
Both games on the trip will be friendly games with the teams looking to prepare for the season games for both respective leagues. The Sounders Women kick off the 2016 WPSL campaign on May 22nd at Starfire Sports Stadium at 12pm. Information and tickets can be found at http://www.sounderswomen.com.
Sounders U23/Sounders Women
The Sounders U23 and Sounders Women teams are owned and operated by owners Lane Smith, Cliff McElroy, and Mike Jennings.
The Sounders U23 play in the Northwest Division of the Premier Development League (PDL) and the Sounders Women play in the WPSL. Featuring current college age amateur players with former international and professional stars, both the PDL and the WPSL provide elite amateurs the opportunity to compete while maintaining their eligibility as college student-athletes. Both the PDL and the WPSL are recognized throughout the world for providing superior competition for players, while offering affordable family