San Antonio FC to Host USL Staff Development Event

Photo: Victoria Azaria (Creative Commons)

San Antonio is continuing its commitment to the United Soccer League (USL) as they will host another offseason event next month. San Antonio FC announced on Monday that they will be playing host to the USL Operations and Sales Summit.

The event will bring all USL clubs, including the three new clubs of Ottawa, Reno, and Tampa Bay to San Antonio for the three day event. The event starts next Monday, November 7th through to the Wednesday, November 9th.

The summit allows every USL club to get together once a year and provides workshop to USL clubs and staff through operations and sales matters. The sales side focuses on tickets and sponsorship while the operations focus on game and team operations.

Being hosted by San Antonio FC provides the opportunity to use Toyota Field and the STAR Soccer Complex as venues for the event. Visiting USL staff will be given tours of the two venues and hear seminars about managing the two venues.

Despite the event taking place out near I-35 the delegates to the summit will all be staying in historic hotels downtown. The Crockett and Menger Hotels are playing host to the delegates and will no doubt also host a number of events, although social events are said to also be held at the Toyota Field complex.

The event being held in Texas continues the south’s hosting of the event as the 2015 version of the event was hosted by the Tulsa Roughnecks. San Antonio FC will be hoping that hosting the event doesn’t lead to a dire on-field performance the following season, which is what happened to Tulsa.

ACU Sneak Past UIW to Close 2016 Season

photo: UIW Athletics

UIW women couldn’t celebrate senior day with a win at Benson Stadium on Friday night as they fell to Abeline Christian. The Cardinals managed to come from behind but gave it up in the second half to fall to a 2-1 loss.

The Cardinals started the match well, but after five minutes Abeline Christian was able to quickly get charge of the match. Chloe Fifer was the main outlet for the Wildcats as she took all their set-pieces, with three corners in the first 15 minutes.

In the 16th minute ACU was able to open the scoring after their strong attack finally broke through. As had been the trend throughout the match, it was a set-piece which finally produced the goal as Fifer sent in the ball from the corner which found Dylan Owens who sent the ball past the keeper.

That forced the Cardinals to go for the match and Sam Batley was looking the most likely to get the goal. In the 29th minute she had her best chance as she was left in the space to shoot but she could only send her effort over the bar.

After a good passage, the Cardinals finally got the equalizer that they were threatening in the 39th minute. Brooke Hanson was able to send a ball in for Batley, in space, she hit a half-volley which left the keeper with no chance and made it 1-1.

Abeline Christian started the second half the stronger side but the Cardinals defense was proving strong in stopping the opportunities. Those shots were being spread throughout the team but no one was able to get the shot in to the back of the net.

The Wildcats were proving the stronger side throughout the second half as they had almost all of the attacking chances and shots. In the 76th minute they finally broke through as Sophie Standifer sent a long ball up the field, finding Owens who was able to score at the near post and restore ACU’s lead.

UIW pushed for the equalizer again through the final 15 minutes but the ACU defense stood firm and kept the Cardinals out. Despite the final result, UIW showed they could compete with a strong Southland Conference side, which will give them confidence as next season they will finally be eligible for post season.

UTRGV Manage Comfortable Win Over UIW

Photo: UTRGV Athletics

The Rio Grande Valley continued its domination over San Antonio soccer teams on Thursday night as UTRGV defeated UIW men. The Vaqueros won the match 2-0 at the UTRGV Soccer Complex giving UIW a big hit.

After UIW started the match well, with Fernando Laverde looking dangerous for the Cardinals, UTRGV  quickly got charge of the match and scored the opener. In the 15th minute Juanito Ramirez made a strong run down the right and then sent in the ball for Angel Lopez who buried the shot.

The Cardinals were required to go for the match and they were the stronger team throughout most of the remainder the half. But a strong performance in goal from Esa Aalto kept the Cardinals at bay and kept the match 1-0 up at half-time.

But after the break, UTRGV came out the stronger side, dominating the opening moments and in the 59th minute they doubled the lead. A foul allowed Frederik Frankman to step up over the ball, in range, which allowed him to hit a powerful strike, beating the keeper, to make it 2-0.

Now two goals down, UIW had to press on and try and find a goal and in the 65th minute they went agonizingly close. Ben Conway saw his shot from the edge of the area blocked, which lead to a corner, but Conway’s corner couldn’t find a man as UTRGV cleared the ball.

Still needing two goals to get the match just back to overtime the Cardinals physicality ramped up as they tried to gain possession whenever they lost it. That mostly just led to more yellow cards and fouls given away which broke up any flow.

The Cardinals went the closest late in the second half, with Conway again the most likely to get a goal. But UTRGV did strongly, holding back the Cardinals attack and managing the two goal win, their third in conference play.

Five Trinity Players Earn Academic All-District Honors

Todd Whittaker (Photo: Trinity University Athletics)

Five Trinity players were honored by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) on Thursday as they were named to the Soccer Division III Academic All-District 8 First Teams. Four of the women, and one man received the honors getting named to the squads, which now makes them eligible to be Academic All-Americans.

Julia camp has been a strong leader for the Tigers both on and off the field as she has managed 10 goals and seven assists. On top of that her off-field work has also been of high quality managing a grade point average (GPA) of 3.76 as she seeks an English degree.

The other strong goal scorer, Yasmeen Farra, reigning offensive player of the week has also been named to the team as she has managed 11 goals and four assists. That comes with a GPA of 3.47, impressive in an Engineering science program.

Jordan Leeper has managed one goal and seven assists this season, helped by being the taker of the majority of the set-pieces. Leeper is studying communications and in her final year she is managing a GPA of 3.75.

Hannah Booher is the final women’s player in the squad as she has managed two goals and three assists so far this season.  Booher has the highest GPA of the quartet, managing a 3.86 in her Biology studies, while contributing defensively for the Tigers.

For the men the lone honoree was Todd Whittaker, the starting goalkeeper for the men’s side who has made 38 saves in the 17 matches this season. In his studies Whittaker has been excelling in his Chemistry work as the Australian begins to wrap up his senior year.

Yasmeen Farra Claims SCAC Offensive Player of the Week Award

Photo: Trinity University Athletics

On the weekend where Trinity University’s women clinched the regular season title, Yasmeen Farra has won the conference offensive player of the week award. The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) gave Farra the honor on Tuesday.

The award makes it the second straight week Farra was given the honor and was a hard choice to argue against in her two goal weekend. Farra scored the game winner in both matches as the Tigers won 3-1 and 3-0 this weekend.

Farra’s first goal of the weekend came on Friday’s match against Southwestern as she was able to break the tie. With the score locked at 1-1 the Tigers won a penalty which saw a change in the taker, after missed penalties this season the new taker was Farra who stepped up and made no mistake to make it 1-1. She then added an assist on Trinity’s third goal of the match as the Tigers sealed the top seed.

Against Texas Lutheran Farra again was credited with a game winner as she scored the first goal of the match on Sunday. From there Trinity cruised and won the match 3-0 to seal the SCAC regular season title.

Farra is leading the Trinity golden boot race with 11 goals, she has added to that with four assists, making her a crucial member of the squad, and a strong candidate for the SCAC offensive player of the year award. She will have two more chances to stake a claim for that award as Trinity finish their regular season this weekend on the road to Schreiner and University of Dallas.

Tampa Bay Rowdies and Ottawa Fury Defect to USL

Image: United Soccer League

Some familiar faces have joined San Antonio FC in the United Soccer League (USL) as Tampa Bay Rowdies and Ottawa Fury announced they will be joining the league in 2017. The two teams will defect to USL from the North American Soccer League (NASL) former home of the San Antonio Scorpions.

It is unlikely that the two teams will make a return to Toyota Field, as the two will both play in the eastern conference. The addition of these two teams to the league could still have repercussions for San Antonio as it will no doubt help USL seeking to earn division two status from the United States Soccer Federation (USSF).

Tampa Bay is an especially lucrative side to add to the league, as they are a well-established team with a recognizable name. That name is just an attempt to continue on from the original 1974 side which folded in 1994, and so is not strictly the same club but they have come under new ownership in Bill Edwards.

In recent years Tampa Bay have managed to renovate Al Lang Stadium converting it in to much more of a soccer stadium rather than a baseball venue. The capacity of 7, 227 is a strong capacity for USL and they have been seeing crowds around 6000, which will boost USL attendances which often lag.

Edwards was very excited by the move to USL and said in a statement “I have said from the day I acquired controlling interest in this club that I wanted to make it one of the most successful teams in North America. The Rowdies’ move to the USL is a positive step toward reaching the long-term goals of the club.”

Joining their NASL colleagues in defecting to USL is Ottawa Fury a club with a tie to Texas with former Austin Aztex coach Paul Dalglish now the coach at Ottawa. John Pugh is the president of the club and has been investing in soccer since 2002 with a W-League team, which gives him a prior connection to USL as the W-League was run by USL.

Ottawa has only been in the NASL since 2014, and lost the Soccerbowl Championship game last year after a strong first two seasons. The ownership group in Ottawa also owns their Canadian Football team and manages TD Place Stadium, Ottawa’s main outdoor venue.

OLLU Goalkeeper Wins Defensive Player of the Week

Photo: OLLU Athletics

The strong season for Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) women continued with yet another conference player of the week award. On Tuesday the league office gave Gabriela Lopez, the Saints senior goalkeeper, won the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) defensive player of the week.

Lopez continued her phenomenal form between the posts for the Saints as she has still not allowed a goal against any conference opponent this year. She also became the all-time Saints clean sheet leader, managing her 19th in the 1-0 win against Wiley College on Sunday.

This was the second straight week that Lopez was given the defensive player of the week honor as she managed two clean sheets this weekend. Her fifth of the season was in Thursday’s 2-0 win over LSU Alexandria while her sixth came after 99 minutes against Wiley College.

That match against LSU Alexandria saw Gomez manage five saves in the match in what was a comfortable two goal win for OLLU. The saints controlled the match and continued their perfect run going 7-0 in conference play.

Lopez is likely the favorite for the defensive player of the year award, the only player to have won two player of the week awards so far this season. She is a big part of why the Saints are closing in on the regular season title.

The Saints also had a nominee for offensive player of the week in Erica Robertson, who had a strong week contributing on multiple goals. But in the end Robertson didn’t do enough, just losing out to Valeria Hinojosa from University of Houston-Victoria.

Stephen F Austin Manage Simple win Over UIW

Photo: Stephen F Austin University Athletocs

Despite pushing the number two team in the conference UIW women could not get a result against Stephen F Austin on Sunday afternoon at SFA Soccer Field. A goal in each half was enough for the Lumberjacks to get the 2-0 win and boost their title chances.

SFA was coming in the stronger side and started the match the stronger side and after some good goalkeeping and defense the Lumberjacks broke through in the 17th minute. A free-kick allowed Hanna Barker to send the ball in, finding Brooke Dunnigan who buried the opportunity for the opener.

After scoring the goal, the Lumberjacks kept attacking trying to find a second goal, with UIW struggling to get in to the match. If not for poor finishing, as they sent their shots wide of goal, letting the Cardinals off the hook.

Late in the half, UIW had their best passage of the match to that point with Sabrina Martineau looking the most likely. But the Cardinals could not find a goal to pull themselves back in to the match, which kept it 1-0 at half-time.

A strong start to the second half by UIW was denied by Lillie Ehlert in the SFA goal, keeping UIW out and keeping the Lumberjacks in front. It was Emani Stewart who was able to get a strong shot away but Ehlert leapt up well and made a strong save.

That missed chance would prove costly as SFA was able to double their lead in the 58th minute after a loose ball in the box. The Cardinals were unable to get to the ball to clear it away, which allowed Breanna Moore to run on to the ball, beating three UIW defenders to make it 2-0.

Brooke Shirley was looking dangerous for the Lumberjacks as they went on the attack looking to extend their lead further. But the Cardinals defense did just enough to block the shots but they could not manage a goal as they fell to the 2-0 loss.

Late Goal Gives Rattlers Come From Behind win Over Jets

Newman attempt to clear (Photo: Newman University Athletics)

A late goal gave St. Mary’s women a big win over Newman as they managed a 2-1 win at Wilkins Field on Thursday night. After conceding in the first half the Rattlers fought back and managed the win, getting their fifth conference win of the season.

Newman started the match well, controlling the early possession with Caitlin Davis looking like the main outlet for the Jets. But Davis’ shooting was poor, often missing the target which kept things scoreless through the opening minutes.

After a decent passage from St. Mary’s the Jets got back control of the match and they opened the scoring in the 25th minute. Rosa Urista-Chico sent in a driven cross from the right hand side finding Megan Foster who shot it in to the bottom right hand corner.

St. Mary’s was forced to fight back and after 11 minutes the Rattlers were able to hit the equalizer. Again the goal came from a wing, this time coming from a sublime chip as Leah Whittaker made space and chipped it over the keeper, which was enough to make it 1-1 at the half.

The Jets started the second half well having the bulk of the early chances in the half, but they could not get past Erin Longford. The Rattlers keeper was doing well in goal and keeping the match level as the two sides could not break through.

When the match seemed headed to extra time, the Rattlers broke through to seal the win in the final minute of the match. After Kaitlyn Judge saw her effort saved, the rebound fell to Alexia Maldonado who easily scored the tap-in to get the 2-1 win.

Two Late Goals see UTSA Fall to WKU

WKU celebrate a goal (Photo: WKU Athletics)

The conference leaders proved too much for UTSA as they fell to a 2-0 loss to WKU in Bowling Green on Thursday night. It was a gallant fight from the Roadrunners who only fell late on in the match, conceding two late galls to fall to the defeat.

Unsurprisingly, WKU dominated most of the statistics, although UTSA certainly made it tighter than the Conference USA leaders would have expected. The best defense in the league still conceded seven shots in a very encouraging performance from the Roadrunners.

There was an early shot from each team in the early going but both those early efforts were blocked by some good defending. UTSA’s defense took a hit in the seventh minute when Alexis Alaniz took a yellow card, tying her hands for physical challenges for the rest of the match.

Following that early frenzy of attack, the match settled with WKU dominating the match, controlling the possession. The UTSA defense was doing well to get stuck in, flying their bodies in the way to block the chances and keep it scoreless.

The Roadrunners came back in the final 15 minutes of the half with Olivia Nicholls and Channing Machen looking the main outlets. Despite that they could not get past Allison Leone who did well in the WKU goal to keep it scoreless at half-time.

WKU came out from the half determined to get the opening goal as they were dominating the early proceedings. Hannah Weisse and Dee Dee Green linked up well as they were able to create several opportunities through the opening ten minutes.

The UTSA defense was holding out well, under heavy pressure from WKU, who had nine corners in the second half. Those efforts were taken by Green but the Roadrunners consistently cleared the shots away well.

In the 88th minute resistance finally broke down after another corner from Green finally unlocked the Roadrunners defense. The ball ended up loose in front of goal before WKU forward Sarah Gorham capitalized and poked it home.

Just one minute later WKU wrapped up the win, with UTSA committed forward trying to pull a goal back. That allowed a swift counter attack as Hannah Cady released Iris Dunn who ran clean through on the goalkeeper and buried the chance to seal the 2-0 win.