Calgary Foothills WFC kicks off their second season in the United Women’s Soccer (UWS) league with a visit to Real Salt Lake Women Friday, May 25. A week later Foothills WFC play their first home game of the season against So Cal Crush at the Calgary Soccer Centre Friday, June 1.
Calgary Foothills WFC Troye Flannery spoke with Total Soccer Project last week about the lessons learned from last season and what lays ahead for the club in the new campaign:
How did last season go and what challenges did you remember facing in your first season in UWS?
One big challenge was just not knowing what to expect. You know, you read rosters, you see résumés and everything on paper, is just on paper. I remember going into our first game – had no idea. It was a 16-hour bus ride to Salt Lake, and we’re not doing that this year. Spent most of the first half filling out paperwork I had never seen before, just trying to figure out what’s what.I’m not going to lie, we were ready as best we could be in the short turnaround time we had from being accepted, but this year we feel way more prepared. We know what to expect.
Hats off to the roster we put together last year, and all those young women did what they did for us. But with respect to them, we’re a bit stronger on paper this year. And we’ve had a little more lead up time to get ready. And we’ve learned some lessons. We’re in Salt Lake next week – we’re not bussing, we’re flying.
But everybody’s hit the upgrade button as much as we have. The league this year is a bit different with the LA Galaxy coming in and Colorado Pride coming back in. Those are two good, good franchises.
Based on what we saw last year, we’re competitive, we finished second. And we’re going to try and win. We’re going to try and go after it.
How is this season’s roster looking?
We have a few returning members. Both our goal keepers, sort of the core of the team is back. And some of our young academy products – Mya Jones, Sophia Mondaca are back. We picked up some injuries, we needed to move on from those. Joëlle Gosselin is back.
Then we added some new blood, so to speak, and a couple more academy products and players from the local community as well and some from Edmonton.
Totally different look. I was just working on the travel squad for next weekend last night and it’s quite different.
Where does the strength lay within this squad?
I think going forward – in attack. People keep commenting, that have seen us thus far, that we’re dynamic in attack. Sarah Kinzner is back and she gets people out of their seats because she’s so good on the ball. Mya Jones, same thing. Rehana Murani, she’s from Edmonton and played for Blizzards major league, she’s going to play as our number 10 right away. She’s dynamic. Yvonne Northover. We have an English youth international in Jesse Jones. These are all dynamic players.
We’re not done there. We’ve got wingers, both of whom, Christabel Oduro and Alex Lamontagne, have played for Canada senior team four or five times.
We’re littered with all kinds of international experience at least at the U20 level – in a couple cases representing Canada in Cyprus three, four or five times. Going forward, we’re electric. The team’s designed to entertain. That’s what we’re going to try and do.
What is the format for the United Women’s Soccer season?
There are three conferences. The winner of each conference automatically qualifies for final-four (playoffs). And then, either the host or the best second-place team.
Last year they had the conference winners and then the fourth position went to a wildcard. And the wildcard went to a series of three considerations – length of schedule, etc.
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So, this year we know. If we want to guarantee, we have to win the conference. No days off, no bad days and that’s what we’re going to do.
What challenges do you see coming with such a compact season?
Most of the season is in June. I think the challenge is this year, we put together a squad that has some depth, that we can have some squad rotation in it based on the travel schedule. We’ve done that. We’ve got 24-25 legitimate grade-A UWS players, in our opinion.
But as I say, I’ve been looking at rosters and I stopped, because it was a little bit unnerving. I’m looking, saying”, I’m pretty happy with this signing,” and then look and say”, oh, you’ve done that too.” Virtually everybody on LA Galaxy has played for the US U20s or Australian U20s. The whole league is littered with internationals.
You need depth and you need to stay healthy. When you’re traveling you need to adjust to the altitude in some places, the heat in other places. That’s just the way it is.
The UWS season runs for six weeks and will see Foothills WFC play a total of 10 matches in the West Conference against Real Salt Lake, So Cal Crush, Santa Clarita Blue Heat, Colorado Pride and LA Galaxy. Playoffs follow the regular season but feature the best from each division.
UWS is a second-tier league in the North American soccer pyramid, below National Women’s Soccer League. The league features 27 clubs but only one Canadian team, Calgary Foothills WFC.
Calgary Foothills WFC’s next home game is against So Cal Crush at Calgary Soccer Centre Friday, June 1 at 6:30pm.