Asheville City Sweeps Weekend Matches

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Asheville City scored two victories over the weekend (photos – T. Flynn)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (May 29, 2019)Asheville City’s men’s and women’s sides both won league matchups over Memorial Day weekend.

The women’s side faced FC Carolina Discoveries in their first WPSL game of the year. FC Carolina hosted in Rock Hill, South Carolina and the visiting Blues won in convincing form, coming away with a 5-0 victory.

Asheville City opened the scoring with a shot off the foot of Jennifer Cudjoe in the game’s 28th minute. Abbie Brown added the second goal of the game in its 55th minute. Brown followed up with her second score to put the Blues up 3-0, with Sarah Jacobs scoring late in the second to make it 4-0, Asheville City.

Brown scored in the game’s 98th minute for the hat trick and a 5-0 Blues’ victory.

Asheville City is on the road again this Friday to face Beaufort County SC in their second WPSL match of the season. The Blues (3-0-1, 1-0 WPSL/Carolinas Conference) are undefeated in four starts this spring.

The Blues’ men’s side scored a shutout victory of their own when they defeated the NPSL’s George Revolution on Saturday at Memorial Stadium, 2-0.

The Blues’ Chris Allan opened the scoring in the game’s 31st minute, and Asheville City went into halftime with a 1-0 advantage. In the second, Frank Rosenwald headed in a Dylan Burke corner kick to stake the Blues to a decisive 2-0 lead.

In six games this season, including an April 27 friendly against the Tri-City Otters, Asheville is 3-2-1. The Blues are 2-2-1 in league contests. They travel to face Inter Nashville on June 1, whom they dropped a 1-0 decision to at Memorial Stadium earlier this month.

For a more detailed accounting of both games from the club, click here.

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Fieldhouse Report, 05.14.2019

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The Tourists defeated Greenville 2-0 on Monday night (Photo – T. Flynn)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (May 14, 2019) Tourists Baseball – Seven weeks into their South Atlantic League season, the Tourists found themselves 14-22 and 5.5 games off the pace from the Southern Division-leading Charleston RiverDogs (20-17).  Asheville has struggled with consistency at times this season with two six-game losing streaks pinning them under .500 to date. They’ve now won three out of the last four after defeating the Greenville Drive (14-22) on Monday night at McCormick Field by a 2-0 score. 

Alexander Martinez earned his eighth save of the year for Asheville on Monday, tops in the South Atlantic League. Returner Nick Kennedy has also proven effective in relief for Asheville, with a 3-0 mark, 25 strikeouts, and a 2.08 ERA while not yielding a home run in the friendly confines of McCormick Field or on the road this season. The Tourists travel to face the Rome Braves tonight. Rome is two games up on Asheville in the Southern Division with a 16-20 mark.

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Both Asheville City teams return to Memorial Stadium this week (photo – T. Flynn)

Asheville City – After the Asheville City women’s side earned a 2-2 draw on Friday, the men followed suit with the same outcome against Greenville FC on Saturday. It was the first leg of the 2019 Carolina Clasico between the two men’s sides, leaving the deciding game to Saturday, June 8 at Memorial Stadium. See the team’s site for recaps from both matches.

Asheville City’s men’s team gets underway again at Memorial on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. against the SC United Bantams, while the women are scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. friendly on Saturday.   

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Asheville School faces SouthLake Christian tonight in an NCISAA playoff game (photo – Asheville School)

Local Preps – After an extended weather delay stalled the start of their game against Davidson Day, Asheville School’s boys’ lacrosse team used eight second-half goals to earn an 11-5 victory and advance into the second round of the NCISAA playoffs. The Blues scored seven unanswered goals in the third quarter and will travel to face Huntersville’s Southlake Christian Academy (10-4) in the NCISAA DII semi-finals. The face-off is set for 7:00 p.m. tonight.

The Blues girls’ team captured an opening round victory over Davidson Day on May 7 but dropped their second-round game to top-seeded Charlotte Latin (12-4) on Friday. Asheville School concluded its season with an 8-3 record on the year after going 5-5 last season.

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Photos: Asheville City Vs. Chattanooga

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. – (May 10, 2019)Asheville City’s women’s soccer team went up two goals in the first half, but the Chattanooga Red Wolves fought back with two of their own to tie Friday night’s friendly at Memorial Stadium and earn the 2-2 draw.

The Blues’ Jennifer Cudjoe, a returner from last year’s 8-1-1 squad, put Asheville up 1-0 in the game’s first minute. Krystal Goss later delivered a freekick from near midfield perfectly into the box, and Alessandra Tavoloni was there to finish to put the Blues up 2-0 nearly halfway through the first. The Red Wolves then scored late in the first half to put the score at 2-1 heading into halftime. Chattanooga delivered the equalizer in the game’s 58th minute. 

UNCA’s Bryson Lee got the start for the Blues and split time with Hannah Leonard in relief in goal for Asheville. The squad next returns to the pitch at Memorial at 7:00 p.m. this upcoming Saturday.  (photos – T. Flynn)

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Fieldhouse Report, 05.08.2019

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Asheville City includes (l to r): Gillian Oyos, Bryson Lee, and Maya Gutman from UNCA (photo – UNCA Athletics)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (May 8, 2019) Soccer fans heading to see the Asheville City women’s team face Chattanooga on Friday at Memorial will be able to see two UNCA Bulldogs representing the home club, and a third working her way toward a roster spot. The Blues lineup includes goalie Bryson Lee and midfielder Maya Gutman, while fellow midfielder Gillian Oyos is not on the active roster but currently trains with the team. Gutman sports #25 for the Blues, while Lee wears #0 in goal. Friday’s game is set to start at 7:00 p.m.

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The Blues’ men’s side dropped a heartbreaking 1-0 game to Inter Nashville F.C. before 1,324 fans on Tuesday night at Memorial Stadium. The winner came off a freekick from Nate Grant that Blues’ keeper Pijus Petkevicius initially saved but then bobbled, allowing Nashville’s Victor Tsado to get to the loose ball and put the game-winner away about two minutes into extra time. The team is now 1-1 overall and 0-1 in the NPSL.

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The men travel to face NPSL rival Greenville FC at Greenville’s historic Sirrine Stadium on Friday at 7:00 p.m.

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Senior Caroline Frisch had three goals in an opening-round playoff win (photo – Asheville School)

Local Preps – Asheville School’s girls’ lacrosse team defeated Davidson Day (9-5) on Tuesday night in Asheville, 9-8. The win moves the team to 8-2 on the season and into the second round of the NCISAA DII playoffs. Senior Caroline Frisch and junior Lien Duke each had a hat trick, and sophomore Bella Baldecchi made several key saves late for the Blues. They’re scheduled to face top-seeded Charlotte Christian (11-4) this Saturday in Charlotte.

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Senior Jake Drum will try to repeat this effort at the faceoff-X on Friday (photo – Asheville School)

The Blues boys’ lacrosse team under head coach Lecky Hollar will also host Davidson Day (8-5) in its first-round NCISAA DII playoff game on Friday at 6:00 p.m. Asheville School is 9-4 overall this season. 

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Fieldhouse Baseball Report, 05.06.2019

Western Carolina Baseball Southern Conference Baseball
Matthew Koehler is third among Southern Conference hitters (photo – WCU Athletics)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (May 6, 2019)College Baseball – After a long weekend in Atlanta facing #8 Georgia Tech, the WCU Catamounts travel to face SoCon-leading Samford (34-14, 14-4) this upcoming week.

Following that, they play a single game against Eastern Kentucky (26-22) before hosting Citadel (10-36, 3-15 SoCon) on May 16-18 to close out their 2019 regular season schedule. The Southern Conference tournament begins on May 21 with a play-in game between the eight and nine teams in the conference.

The Catamounts (18-25, 7-11) have more than doubled up their 2018 regular-season win total (7) and will try to close the gap on 2017 when they went an even 28-28 on the year. This year’s team has two of the league’s top three hitters in its lineup – Justice Bigbie (.381-11-47) and Matthew Koehler (.371-12-43). The team also has wins over Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Ohio State on its 2019 resume.

Furman currently sits at 20-27 overall and in fifth place with a 9-9 record within the SoCon. The Paladins took two-of-three against VMI (8-13, 14-45) this past weekend and are led at the plate by Jabari Richards’ .347 average.

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UNCA returns to Greenwood Field on Friday (photo – T. Flynn)

The UNCA Bulldogs (14-30, 8-13 Big South) are on a 10-day hiatus after dropping a 10-8 decision to ETSU on April 30 at Greenwood Field. The team returns to face the Big South’s Radford (23-24, 14-7) this upcoming weekend beginning with a 6:00 p.m. start on Friday.

Nine of its ten teams qualify for the Big South conference tournament beginning on May 21. The six through nine seeds play a pair of single-elimination games to gain entry into the double-elimination round of the tournament. Right now, the Bulldogs are in seventh place, a half-game behind USC Upstate and a full game behind Gardner-Webb in fifth place. The Bulldogs’ Greg Gasparro is hitting at a .325 clip, good for ninth place in the circuit and best on the team.

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Photos: Tourists Vs. Suns

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Willie MacIver (center) had the game-winner for Asheville on Tues. (photo – T. Flynn)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (May 1, 2019) – The Tourists walked off the field on Tuesday night with a 5-4 win against the visiting Hagerstown Suns. The game was tied heading into the bottom of the ninth when Grant Lavigne opened the frame with a double to right field. Lavigne narrowly avoided the tag at second and set the stage for Willie MacIver‘s drive to deep left-center that ended the game and sent the Tourists (9-15) onto the field in celebration.

Picking up the win in relief for the Tourists was lefty Nick Kennedy. Kennedy is a returner for the Tourists this season and struck out two in one inning of relief work and moved to 3-0 on the season for Asheville. Started Alfredo Garcia (below) struck out eight Sun batters in just 4.2 innings but was also hit hard, allowing nine hits and three earned runs.

Asheville Pitching

Right fielder Luke Morgan made his McCormick Field debut an auspicious one when he went 2-4 with two stolen bases for the Tourists. Third baseman Danny Edgeworth made his first appearance in an Asheville uniform after two seasons with the short-season Boise Hawks. The Nashville native singled to center and drove in a run in four plate appearances. The Tourists hosts the Suns (10-15) tonight at 7:05 p.m. in the second game of the three-game series.

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Fieldhouse Report, 04.29.2019

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 22 Northern Illinois at Florida State
FSU defensive end Brian Burns (99) was the top overall pick by the Carolina Panthers. (photo – Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (April 29, 2019) – National – The Carolina Panthers made Florida State’s Brian Burns their #1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft last week. Prior to the draft, I contributed a preview article to Forbes on how it might play out for Carolina.

Tourists Baseball The Asheville Tourists snapped a seven-game skid with an 8-2 victory on Sunday against the West Virginia Power (15-7). Right-hander Shelby Lackey (1-2) proved the stopper when he allowed just one hit in five innings of work while striking out five. The Tourists are now 8-15 on the year and will host Hagerstown (10-14) tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. at McCormick Field.

Asheville City Soccer  The Blues’ men’s and women’s sides each came away with a win in their opening weekend at Memorial Stadium. The women led off with a 2-1 victory over the sixth-year Columbus Eagles FC on Friday night. The Blues return to play on Friday, May 10 to host the Chattanooga Red Wolves at 7:00 p.m.

Two players from last year’s inaugural squad, Caroline and Emma Hauser, began play professionally this season in Sweden. 

On the men’s side, the Blues defeated the Johnson City’s Tri-City Otters by the same 2-1 score in their 2019 season opener on Saturday night. Their next game is scheduled for May 7 when they host Inter Nashville F.C. in their first NPSL match of the year.

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Brevard attackman Jackson McKaig was the region’s top goal scorer in 2019 (photo – BC Athletics)

College Lacrosse – The men’s lacrosse spring calendar is complete for area teams, with Brevard (6-7, 3-4), Furman (4-10, 2-5), Lees-McRae (4-10, 0-7), Montreat (4-11, 3-2) and Mars Hill (3-12, 0-8) all finishing their 2019 schedule in late April. Brevard College senior Jackson McKaig registered 52 goals to lead all area scorers this spring and was rewarded with a spot on the USA-South‘s first-team All-Conference squad along with teammate Robert Kokal.  

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The Blues’ Oliver Lewis lines a double on Saturday (photo – T. Flynn)

Local Preps  – On Saturday, Asheville School fell to the visiting Anderson Cavaliers on the diamond and are now 3-8 on the season, and 1-4 in NCISAA conference play. The Blues travel to face area rival Carolina Day (4-10, 0-4) on Tuesday. The squad is led by head coach Gus Schill, who also leads the Blues on the gridiron each fall. 

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Asheville School captured a 15-2 victory over Science Hill (Tenn.) this weekend (photo – T. Flynn)

On the lacrosse field, the Blues boys’ team moved to 8-3 on the year after defeating Johnson City’s Science Hill. In local play this season to date, Asheville School dropped an 18-3 decision to Arden’s nationally-ranked Christ School (16-2) earlier this month, and has two wins over first-year program T.C. Roberson (5-9) and a victory over Asheville Empire‘s club team.

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Asheville City Men’s Soccer Preview

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Asheville City men’s team begins play this Saturday (photo T. Flynn)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (April 21, 2019) – Fieldhouse recently spoke with Asheville City’s men’s soccer head coach, Mick Giordano. Last year was Giordano’s first as head coach of the Blues and the team’s second campaign ever. Giordano is currently on the UNCA men’s soccer staff and also graduated as a Bulldog after two seasons with the team in 2012 and 2013. He’s previously coached at Wake Forest and Wofford.

The Blues host their 2019 season opener this Saturday (April 27) at Memorial Stadium at 7:00 p.m against the Tri-City Otters

The interview was conducted at Asheville City’s 2019 launch event on March 28 and was edited for length and clarity.

On the 2019 Squad

We’re looking at carrying 26 to 27 [players] at most on the first team, and then we’re fortunate, we’ve added the AC Academy. That will be some of the younger boys and some will certainly factor in and be pulled up to the first team. They’ll also be able to go back and be in an environment that’s a little bit more suitable for them full-time. 

We’re in a good spot with the roster. A lot of what we’ve done this year has been straight recruiting and the staff was fantastic. With us watching games throughout the fall, we probably watched over 150-200 games. 

After personal conversations, speaking with coaches, or recommendations that we got from other coaches, we’re pretty happy with the roster. We think that it’s going to be a good group. We’ve got seven coming back; several of them were starting guys that were really important for us. 

(Returners include: Bruno Andrade, Lukas Joyner, Luke Matthews (pictured above), Will Mims, Frank Rosenwald, Jamie Smith, and Nathan Watt)

On the Team’s Expanding Reach

We’ve been going and tapping into some new markets in Oklahoma, Colorado, and California where maybe we didn’t know the coach last year, or we didn’t know someone [there] before. Coming back now, the club’s done a really good job with getting its name out and word of how well it treats its players. 

Of the boys that played last year, 98% were still in college, and so when they went back – they obviously had a good experience – they spread the word. So, last year we had a lot of interest, and this year we’ve had even more. It’s been awesome in that way. The club’s name is out there.

On Playing in Asheville

Our fans are unbelievable. That certainly makes it easier to talk to a college player coming here in the summer. It’s a great professional environment, and they can play in front of 2,000 – 3,000. It’s almost a no-brainer. So with the try-outs and the recruiting, it was quite nice and quite easy. What was difficult were the decisions to set the roster. 

I think you take Detroit, you take Chattanooga, and then you take us and those are the top three environments in the NPSL (National Premier Soccer League). Our fans are at the very top.

It’s crazy – it’s hard to get the boys to hear you sometimes. We’re right there [next to the stands]. We made the change after the first year when our bench was right where the South Slope Blues are. Last year we changed our bench to go where the assistant referee is, on that line.

We’ve got a little notepad that, if we need to, we’ll write notes if the boys can’t hear us and we’ll pass it along to them.

I absolutely love having that environment.

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Asheville City head coach, Mick Giordano (photo – T. Flynn)

On Coaching in Asheville Year-Round

Coach [Mathes] Mennell, the head coach at UNCA, was actually my first boss in the college game and gave me my first start. So, I’ve been able to come back and join his staff as well which has been great.

Matt Tellez is the other assistant (at both UNCA and with Asheville City) and he’s one of my best friends, so it’s been really fortunate. I came back up and worked with Coach Mennell again and it’s just been fantastic. 

On the Team’s Style of Play

We want to be able to have possession. Everyone’s going to say that, but for us it’s not just keeping it, to keep it. It’s up to us to keep it, to break lines, and get the goal and be attacking-oriented. So, we’re going to have this possessing style that has an attacking purpose to it.

On the road, I learned as a first-year coach, there are times in certain environments – on certain fields – that we’re not gonna be able to do that in our conference, unfortunately. So, on the road, just like a pro team, maybe it’s a little uglier, maybe it’s a little bit more direct, maybe it’s just a solid block and you’re defending a little deeper and you’re not pressing, but you go find a way to get a one-nil result.

At the end of the day, one-nil results get you three points, and those get you at the top of the table.

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Photos: UNCA Vs. Furman

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UNCA hosted Furman on Tuesday evening (photos T. Flynn)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (April 17, 2019) The UNCA Bulldogs hosted the Furman Paladins on Tuesday evening at Greenwood Field. The Paladins put up one run in the third and two more in the fifth, good enough to earn the 3-2 victory. Furman’s Nik Verbeke (2-4) earned the win in relief for the visiting Paladins (13-23). Verbeke pitched two scoreless innings and limited the Bulldogs to one baserunner. UNCA’s Danny Wilson (0-4) pitched 4.1 innings and was tagged with the loss.

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Dax Roper, Anthony Fontana, and Bret Huebner each had two hits for Furman. Roper and Huebner laced doubles, while the Paladins’ #6 hitter, Sterling Turmon, had a home run for the guests. Carmine Pagano and Jacob Edwards had two hits apiece for the Bulldogs.

UNCA travels to face Charleston Southern (14-26) to begin a three-game set on Thursday, while Furman will travel to Cullowhee to face the SoCon’s Western Carolina (16-16) on the same day.

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Asheville City Women’s Soccer Preview

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Asheville City soccer returns to Memorial Stadium this year (photo T. Flynn)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (April 2, 2019) – Fieldhouse recently caught up with Asheville City’s women’s soccer team director of operations, Stacy Enos. Last year, Enos served as both the team’s head coach and director of operations. She previously was the head women’s soccer coach at Warren Wilson College and is a former national champion at the University of North Carolina and an inaugural member of the US Women’s National Team (1985-1987).

The interview was at Asheville City’s opening event on March 27 and was edited for length and clarity.

On Her New Role and a new Head Coach

My focus last year was just to be the head coach and get us off the ground. So I’m excited to serve as the director of operations and we’ve hired Lisa-Marie Woods. She’s played in Norway and she was a player for us last year. It’s a good opportunity for us to bring her back in. She’s done a lot of coaching. She’s out at Creighton as an assistant right now. She’s just got a great soccer mind.

We were playing Beaufort County F.C. last year and I subbed Lisa in and she tactically saw what other players couldn’t see. It’s her mindset. She kind of poached between the lines and broke down the defensive line and gave us an attack which goes back to some of the philosophical belief, we just want to be this source of growth for players to solve on-field situations.

On a New Playoff Structure

Last year, we lost one game and it knocked us out of the tourney. That was hard. Just wearing my director of operations hat, we worked with the WPSL (Women’s Premier Soccer League) quite a bit and some other teams in our conference and we’ve created two divisions (within the Carolinas Conference).

So this year we’re going to have a playoff. It serves a couple of purposes. It keeps players invested in the team throughout the summer. Particularly, if you’ve lost a game, they then don’t put their head down and want to go home.

So we’re building some rivalry but we’re also keeping players invested and it’s the right way to go about a summer league playoff structure.

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A frequent scene at Memorial Stadium in 2018 (photo T. Flynn)

On This Year’s Roster and Team Structure

We’ve been working hard to bring players back. So we have people coming back, like Parker Roberts from Florida. Unfortunately, Brooke Bingham tore her ACL playing spring ball at UNC and so she’s out. My focus has been to fill some roles and we feel we’ve kind of accomplished that goal and we’re going to take the field with good personnel.

Lydia Vandenbergh is having a baby in about a week. We’re going to register her and she doesn’t have to take the field until she’s really fit. So she feels like by the end of June she could be fit. She has a chance to be a mom and also a chance to get fit.

We have five really unbelievable high school players and we have college players and we have players that have played pro at the highest level. They’ve kind of retired now and they want to keep playing, but they don’t want to keep playing at the level that’s required professionally. 

My roster is pretty set. We would take a couple of exceptional players. We lost a player from Central America to her national team just this week so that’s opened a spot. The world cup is happening and rosters shift and if you get people called up, you’ve got to be ready to go and we support that. That’s our whole focus.

Our team is amateur only. If a player has played professionally, then they need to go through a transfer back to amateur process because we don’t pay players. What we do provide is housing and we can provide travel expenses for when we’re on the road. That way we can tap into some college players. 

So it’s a good balance, and I think it’s a good mentoring system.

Our focus has always been to help create a second tier that’s going to feed the NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League) and to be a viable option for players that don’t get picked up in the pro ranks, or don’t go abroad. We’d like to create a really good base for the U.S. system.

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The Blues went 8-1-1 in their first season in 2018 (photo T. Flynn)

On the Asheville Environment

I think the thing that Asheville City has is the fans and the environment. People want to come play with us. We’ve been working with the neighborhood association and really trying to be good stewards and be respectful and have things in place and hire parking attendants. Really try to not impede our neighbor’s progress in and out. We want them to come home and we hope they come to a game, too.

On the Team’s Style of Play

Our mentality is that we want the women’s game to evolve. We want all of our players to be comfortable with the ball with their feet, no matter what the situation. We want them to be critical thinkers in whatever situation they’re put in. So, really try to keep the ball on the ground and play an attractive style of soccer and not a kick-and-run game. We press but we really try to impress upon players that we want the ball to go through the midfield. We want people to touch the ball.

Lisa-Marie has bought into that and it’s a style of play for her and for people to solve on-the-field situations if they need to check off.

On the Academy Program

We have an academy program we’re starting and it’s free. We’re really trying to address the pay-to-play mentality. And we’re also trying to get players to love to train.

I think Lydia, Meghann (Burke), and I love to train. Unfortunately, we’re in this reward system of games, games, games. But we value being at practice and pushing yourself.

You have to get players to change their mentality. You become a player in training, not in games. I think the games help you distinguish yourself. But we all believe in the training. So that’s the focus of the academy. We can pull players up if we need. Roster tryouts for the Academy are on April 20.

Word of Mouth on the Team

We’ve definitely have had good hits and picked up some players, and more international players which is good. We have a good roster returning from last year and coaches are calling, so it’s healthy. It feels right and we feel excited and we look forward to getting going.

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