Looking to expand women’s soccer opportunities after high school, Dover’s Coastal Atlantic Futbol Club announced they are joining a national organization.
CAFC announced they will form a premier-level club that will join the Women’s Premier Soccer League beginning in 2019.
The WPSL is a feeder program that focuses on growing players for either college soccer, or professional opportunities such as the National Women’s Soccer League.
(VIDEO: Executive Director Joe Brown explains the opportunities for Delaware athletes with his new team)
CAFC started last year with youth programs and plays at Frederica’s DE Turf Complex, which houses 12 artificial grass surfaces, the largest of its kind in Delaware.
Admission would be charged to the premier-level games, but Executive Director Joe Brown said they will wait to start play until 2019, to give the team a chance to scout regional talent and see who would be interested in playing in Delaware.
“We can make our claim and our stake to where we want to be, that can fit the budget and profile of what we’re doing. Plus, fitting the schedule of DE Turf, and what they’re doing during the summer.”
The WPSL season runs from May through July, and the team is considering joining either a Virginia-Maryland division, or a New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania grouping. There will be 14 games, 7 home, and 7 away.
Brown, who is Padua’s head soccer coach, could not confirm if any Delaware players compete in the league, citing that former Caesar Rodney standout Lexi Prillaman trained in New Zealand during an internship last summer as she continues to star at the University of Richmond.
Any opportunity to step on the field against equal compeition is important, according to Brown.
“Soccer doesn’t lie. A kid that’s 19-years-old played in 1,000 matches, and someone who’s 25-years-old has played in 600, it’s about that time on the field. We want to bring that gap together.”
He added that there’s no age limit, in that an elite high school player could get the opportunity to hone their skills against women, as opposed to just dominating their peers at the high school level.
“If there’s a kid who is 17-years-old that can play, we’re going to push them up into this team, because they need to be playing at a higher level with more stress than they’re getting in a high school game, or even in their club system. We’ll make sure we can get them in a good diet if that’s what they want.”
Brown said a side-effect of the team is creating role models and mentors for the next generation of potential First State soccer players.
“The babies, up to the high school players, have something they can strive for. Two, the high school teams need to see a clean picture on how the game is played. They’re not watching it on TV.”
Coastal will not be directly affiliated with any NWSL club, but it is seen as a showcase for a future draft into the league.
Brown does have plenty of experience in national soccer. He ran the Delaware Wizards’ United Soccer League team for four years in the 1990s, before moving on to the Carolina Dynamo, where he led the second-division team to a battle with an Major League Soccer club in the all-division Lamar Hunt Cup.
The club host a community contest to determine their nickname besides “Coastal Atlantic Football Club”.