Women's Soccer News: ASA Chesapeake Charge and Aztec MA Join Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) New Elite League
Elite League Now Has Six (6) Women's Teams Competing in the 2012 Season
The Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) has announced the addition of ASA Chesapeake Charge and Aztec MA to the growing ranks of the new WPSL Elite League. The two teams will join Chicago Red Stars and FC Indiana from the WPSL and the Boston Breakers and Western New York Flash from Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS)for the inaugural 2012 season.
The WPSL Elite League now has six (6) women’s soccer teams competing in the 2012 season.
The new WPSL Elite League is an elite league that will be based in the Midwest and East Coast for the 2012 season. Teams in the league will have the option of competing with all professional players or with a mix of professionals and amateurs. The WPSL already had plans for an elite league based on the West Coast, to begin in 2013, but the suspension of the 2012 WPS season caused those plans to be moved up.
"This move is a way of continuing the growth of the WPSL pyramid that we have been working on for years," said WPSL Commissioner Jerry Zanelli. "This year the WPSL formed a separate under 20 nation-wide league. We already had plans for the elite league in 2013 when this opportunity presented itself. We certainly feel it is a good idea. It fits into our plans to provide a highly competitive environment for players."
The formation of the new league, which was announced on February 9, 2012, is in part a response to the decision of WPS to suspend the 2012 season, leaving five (5) teams without the ability to play.
WPS's Board of Governors moved in January to suspend the season to allow the League the necessary time to reinforce its business and resolve pending legal and operational issues that have hindered the recent growth and progress. The WPSL Elite League will provide a venue for WPS players to continue competing at a high level in preparation for the planned return of the WPS in 2013.
The latest teams to join the Elite League are ready for the challenge. The Aztec MA are uniquely prepared for this new league, as they have been the reserve team for the Boston Breakers for several years. The two teams have worked closely in the past to identify players with the potential to perform at the professional level. Several Aztec MA players have had the opportunity to move up to the Boston Breakers, including Megan Mischler, Jordan Bishop, Leah Blayney and Sophia Mundy.
“We have been in the WPSL for seven years,” said Aztec MA President Mike Kersker, “so we have a lot of experience. We started at the bottom and we have worked our way up to the top now.”
In contrast with Aztec MA, ASA Chesapeake Charge is one of the newer teams in the league, having joined for the 2010 season. But the team has a strong foundation on which it has built its success. Arundel Soccer Association (ASA), the team’s parent club, is a twenty-five-year-old organization with over 1500 player from youth to adult and includes ASA Charm City, a men’s team. In their first year Chesapeake Charge reached the playoffs, and in their second year they lost in the regional finals.
“We’ve been in the WPSL two years now,” said General Manager Patrick Crawford, “and we’ve had some pretty good success. We’re very happy with where we’ve been and decided that, with the talent that we have this year, we were definitely ready.”
“As far as the Elite League goes, I’m very optimistic,” said Crawford. “The Elite League will be the top league in the United States for women’s soccer. We are happy to be competing in this new women’s league and I think it speaks highly of ASA Chesapeake Charge after only two short seasons in the WPSL.”
The WPSL is organized with regional divisions, with regional championships leading to a final four playoff for the league championships. In 2011 Orange County Waves and Chicago Red Stars competed in the WPSL Championship, with Waves winning 2-1. The new Elite League will determine its champion and the championship weekend at a later date.