At the quarterly meeting of the Milwaukee United Soccer Club Board of Directors held this past Wednesday, the decision was made to cease operations and dissolve the organization effectively December 31, 2015. Currently, we are about $300 short of covering our lone outstanding bill from 2015 and the tax filing for the year. All equipment will be donated to local non-profit organizations that have a soccer component in their programming (three have been identified) or liquidated. Donations to help with the wind-down can be made through the PayPal button at the top of page. We would like to thank all our supporters, former players, and board members for their efforts over the past three years in helping us get MUSC off the ground and put in place a solid on-field operation that resulted in an overall record of eight wins, nine losses, and two ties, brought exposure to lesser-known players in the greater Milwaukee area, and assisted in player development for a number of colleges in Wisconsin and beyond.
Following the July 4th break and a disappointing result against Elm Grove SC on Wednesday, Milwaukee United took to the field at Doyne Park last night to close out the 2015 Women’s Premier League regular season against Racine United, a reschedule from June 21st. Behind two goals from Paige Birschbach (Ripon College/Campbellsport) and multi-point performances from Callie O’Donnell (UW-Milwaukee) and Taylor Swittel (UW-Milwaukee/Brookfield East), the Owls evened their record at 3-3 and secured a fifth-place finish in the league standings with a 5-0 victory.
Milwaukee United opened the scoring in the third minute when O’Donnell deposited a pass from Monica Stephans (St. Norbert College/Hartford) past the Racine United goalkeeper at the near post. The lead was doubled in the 16th minute as Theresa Le (Cardinal Stritch University/Shorewood) cleaned up an O’Donnell cross from the right flank, and the sides went into halftime with the scoreline 2-0. Birschbach picked up her brace in the second half on goals in the 54th minute (assisted by Swittel) and the 73rd minute, sandwiched around a goal from Maria Stephans (UW-Milwaukee/Hartford) in the 60th minute (also assisted by Swittel). Kara Casebolt (Cardinal Stritch University/Racine Horlick) manned the nets to secure the Owls’ first shutout since a 0-0 draw against Milwaukee Sport Club in 2013, anchoring a defense which featured the Ripon College pair of Rachel Bautzmann (Mukwonago) and Danielle Senger (Hartford), Angelina Delgado (Cardinal Stritch University/Lake Geneva Badger), and Jessica Hyde (College of St. Benedict/Waukesha Catholic Memorial).
Pairings for the WPL playoffs will be announced later today, with quarterfinal matches to be played on Saturday at the SCORe Complex in Racine.
Milwaukee United SC went to Madison on Saturday for a doubleheader against Aris FC (fielded under the flag of RUSH Wisconsin) and the Madison 56ers. 180 minutes of action saw 16 goals scored and the Owls return to Milwaukee with a split of results, defeating Aris 7-3 in a record-setting performance followed by a 4-2 loss to the 56ers.
The opener of the twinbill got off to a fast start, with Brandi Peltier (Ripon College/Hustisford) scoring her first goal 12 minutes in, assisted by Maria Stephans (UW-Milwaukee/Hartford). Aris equalized four minutes later, only for MUSC to regain the lead in the 20th minute on Peltier’s second goal of the match. Aris tied the match in the 26th minute and took the lead in the 39th minute. Peltier wrapped up her first-half hat trick in the 44th minute [assisted by Taylor Swittel (UW-Milwakee/Brookfield East)] and the teams went to the half tied at 3. A change in tactics for the Owls resulted in a three-goal flurry in nine minutes at the start of the second half, with Paige Birschbach (Ripon College/Campbellsport) scoring in the 52nd and 57th minutes [Monica Stephans (St. Norbert College/Hartford) assisting on the first, Maria Stephans on the second] and Callie O’Donnell (UW-Milwaukee) picking up a goal in the 61st minute. Birschbach finished off her hat trick in the 86th minute, with O’Donnell getting the assist. Milwaukee United records set in the match include: most goals in a game (7); most goals in a half (4); most assists in a game (5); most points tallied in a game (19); and largest margin of victory (4). Other standout performances came from Michelle Peltz (Cardinal Stritch University/Nicolet), Jessica Hyde (College of St. Benedict/Waukesha Catholic Memorial), Anna O’Donnell (Milwaukee School of Engineering), and Rachel Bautzmann (Ripon College/Mukwonago).
The second match of the day got off to a fantastic start for the Owls, with Maria Stephans scoring in the 22nd minute and Birschbach doubling the margin in the 28th minute (assisted by Peltier). The 56ers clawed back a goal in the 42nd minute and the first half ended 2-1. A short bench combined with the exhaustion of playing two matches back-to-back ultimately caught up to them, allowing the 56ers to take control of the match and score goals in the 50th, 65th, and 79th minutes.
After a break for the 4th of July weekend, Milwaukee United returns to Women’s Premier League action on Wednesday, July 8 against Elm Grove SC at Doyne Park in Milwaukee. Kickoff for the club’s home opener is 6pm.
Milwaukee United SC opened its 2015 Women’s Premier League season with a 3-0 loss to SC Waukesha/Strike FC in a match that was much closer than the scoreline indicated. Strike opened the scoring in the ninth minute when a shot from the edge of the penalty area deflected off an MUSC player and found the back of the next. Strike doubled their lead after 38 minutes and headed into halftime up 2-0. Halftime adjustments by coach Kara Casebolt brought greater attacking presence into the Owls’ lineup in the second half, but unfortunately didn’t draw the team closer on the scoreboard. Strike closed out the scoring in the 63rd minute on a penalty kick. Performances of note for Milwaukee United came from midfielder Monica Stephans (St. Norbert College/Hartford) and defender Jessica Hyde (College of St. Benedict/Waukesha Catholic Memorial) in their first-ever WPL matches, 2014 Most Improved Player Michelle Peltz (Cardinal Stritch University/Nicolet), and midfielder Callie O’Donnell (UW-Milwaukee). MUSC’s next match is this Sunday at 11am at Doyne Park (53rd/Wells in Milwaukee) against Racine United in what is becoming a Father’s Day weekend tradition for the two clubs.
After a LONG off-season that saw recruitment and scouting take a step backwards from previous years, we are able to tell our fans and supporters who will be playing for Milwaukee United Soccer Club this year in the Women’s Premier League. Our roster includes six players from last year’s squad along with nine newcomers to MUSC.
Kara Casebolt – This year, Kara will be the team’s player/coach and leading all activities between the lines. A 2014 graduate of Cardinal Stritch University, Kara played both defender and goalkeeper for the Wolves and helped to lead CSU into the Chicago Collegiate Athletic Conference playoffs her senior year.
Maria Stephans – One of Milwaukee United SC’s co-MVPs from the 2014 season, Maria will be counted on to provide leadership and attack-mindedness to the team’s midfield. A junior at UW-Milwaukee, Maria served as a co-captain for the Panthers this past fall and contributed one goal and five assists from her holding midfield position.
Brandi Peltier – Milwaukee United’s other co-MVP from 2014, Brandi returns to the Owls following a stellar senior season at Ripon College. Amassing 17 goals and nine assists for the Redhawks this past fall, Brandi closed out her college career as the school’s all-time leading goalscorer and finished #2 in Midwest Conference history in career goals (82) and points (186).
Paige Birschbach – Paige’s first season with MUSC proved to be the proper launching pad for her to excel in her freshman campaign at Ripon College. Paige was named to the Midwest Conference’s first team and was an NSCAA All-Region selection after tallying 14 goals and 12 assists (including two hat tricks) to help lead the Redhawks to the Midwest Conference championship game.
Danielle Doucette – A junior at Cardinal Stritch University, Danielle brings experience on the defensive end of the field and is already testing the coaching waters for a career beyond her playing days, one we hope can blossom at the club.
Michelle Peltz – Also a junior at Cardinal Stritch, Michelle was MUSC’s most improved player in 2014 and is expected to build upon that this summer while competing for time at both midfield and defense.
Catherine Guttmann – A 2011 graduate of Concordia University-Wisconsin, Catherine will provide an experienced hand to the squad as she assists Kara in managing the team and covers for her in goal on occasion.
Monica Stephans – The first-ever pre-college player to take the field for Milwaukee United, Monica will join the squad once her senior season at Hartford Union High School is finished. An incoming freshman at St. Norbert College, Monica was named to the WSCA All-State team in 2014.
Jessica Ochocki – The first player with ties to MUSC to move onto the college ranks, Jessica is the third of four forwards and six players overall from Ripon College on this year’s team.
Danielle Senger – The fourth Ripon College forward on the squad, Danielle comes to the Owls with experience at forward and center midfield.
Chelsey Abler – A senior at Ripon College, Chelsey returns to the field following a season off from the game and is expected to help anchor the back line.
Rachel Bautzmann – The last of the Ripon contingent, Rachel made 18 appearances for the Redhawks as a freshman and will be part of a new-look defensive core this summer at Milwaukee United.
Jessica Hyde – A player who knows what winning takes, Jessica joins MUSC on the heels of three straight WIAA state championships with Waukesha Catholic Memorial and a successful first season at the College of St. Benedict.
Michele Ripp – A graduate of UW-Whitewater, Michele brings a vast soccer-playing resume to the club and will be expected to contend for time on the flanks.
Gisel Romero – A graduate of Marquette University, Gisel returns to competitive play following some time away and will be a key cog in the club’s community outreach this summer.
With just 25 days until the scheduled season opener, we are looking to add another 6-8 players to this number. If you would like to be part of our 2015 squad, head over to the WPL gateway and send us a note.
The first two Saturdays in May brought the eleven Milwaukee Public Schools girls’ soccer teams to South Stadium and Bradley Tech High School for a pair of divisional tournaments, with the Schissler (2nd) Division playing on May 2nd and the Williams (1st) Division on May 9th. Small surprises came in the Schissler results (Milwaukee School of Languages’ JV team drawing their matches with Carmen and Bradley Tech’s varsities, Tech winning their pool and advancing to the final), but in the end South Division showed why they are fighting to be promoted to the Williams Division in 2016 with three solid victories to win the tournament (2-0 over Madison, 10-0 over Washington, and 4-0 over Tech in the final). In the Williams tournament, pool play ran to form (King and Reagan swept their opponents), but in the final Reagan would pick up its first-ever win over King, 1-0. The loss to Reagan was King’s first stumble against an MPS opponent since dropping a shootout to Pulaski in the 2007 City tournament final. The tournaments shine for a brief moment a positive light on a soccer landscape within MPS that is struggling on so many levels and which affects all its schools in one way or another.
The state of girls’ soccer in the Milwaukee Public Schools has been for most of its existence a case of a couple of teams succeeding at the expense of the rest, as no school other than King or Riverside has won a conference championship and only a handful of schools able to develop and maintain a sustainable varsity-level program. The disparity between the top and the bottom of the MPS pecking order is vast, but there are different issues of concern amongst those schools. For the ones at the top, it’s about being competitive outside the bounds of the city. The next tier’s issue is how to close the gap to those top schools. Further down, foci may include how to replicate the success of the academically-centered schools in the top tier(s), how to utilize the school’s demographics and location to foster a “playing culture” as their program’s foundation (one that runs counter to the academically-driven model of advancement), or how to build their programs to survive and compete.
In MPS, much like in women’s soccer as a whole, money (or its equivalent) matters, mirroring the problems with “pay-to-play” in the private sports sector. The schools with “resources” (be they financial, structural, human, or demographic) are able to do well, whereas those without such benefits are resigned to a less-successful existence. Additionally, the bleeding of these resources (either from certain neighborhoods/school zones to others or outside the city borders) place an effective cap on the ability of most schools to rise through the ranks or to shake off a period of decline, not to mention the ability of those at the top to keep pace with their suburban competition. Academics drive EVERYTHING when it comes to girls’ soccer success in MPS, with that factor drawing the aforementioned resources which allow certain schools to be successful. Of the six teams in the Williams Division, all but one of them involve schools that are college-preparatory (King, Reagan, and Riverside) or have a niche academic focus (School of Languages, School of the Arts, MacDowell Montessori, and Meir Montessori; Arts and MacDowell co-op with Pulaski, Meir co-ops with Riverside). Pulaski is holding its own in its first year in the upper division, utilizing its long-standing co-op agreement with School of the Arts and its recent one with MacDowell Montessori to bridge the gap to the three college-prep schools. School of Languages’ niche existence is both a blessing and a curse. Being a 6-12 school, MSL is able to run an effective middle school soccer program and thus develop a pipeline for its high school teams. The school’s small size places it in Division 3 for WIAA tournament assignment, which has the potential to be a boon. On the other hand, that small base of students combined with a lack of 9th-grade influx to the school makes them wholly dependent on the niche draw they have and the in-house pipeline. Their boys’ team co-oped with Vincent this past fall, but the schools’ combined population moved MSL from Division 3 to Division 1 for the state tournament and thus defeats their position in the MPS landscape as its only program in either Division 3 or Division 4 for the WIAA tournament.
So where does this leave us? I believe a girls’ soccer summit needs to be held, one that we’d be excited to host/moderate. Stakeholders in the future of the game in Milwaukee should meet to discuss both our mutual concerns regarding soccer in the city as well as the unique challenges faced at our places in it. Such stakeholders might include: the eleven MPS schools (and their co-op partners) currently playing girls’ soccer as well as other schools that might have interest; parents of current (and future?) high school players; the Milwaukee Board of School Directors; and the Milwaukee Soccer Development Group. These entities, coming together with a common desire to elevate girls’ soccer in MPS, hopefully would create a larger discussion about academics, life circumstances, and how to best help our girls advance their personal and professional goals through high school soccer and help their schools grow the game in MPS. If you’d like to be involved, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2015 Women’s Premier League season will start on June 6 and will be Milwaukee United Soccer Club’s third year in the competition. After finishing mid-pack in 2013 and riding a perfect home record to a second-place finish in the WPL South division in 2014, the club is focused on securing a state playoff spot and continuing to grow toward the ideals of being an inclusive, highly-competitive women’s soccer organization. The following is a quick Q-and-A regarding the roster to date and the foci for this year’s on-the-field pursuits.
Q: Where does the 2015 roster sit presently?
A: Currently, we have 14 players who are committed for the 2015 season. We return 89% of our goalscoring from 2014, which should place us in good stead on the offensive side of the field. One negative is that only five of our 20 players from 2014 will be back this year, so developing cohesion amongst the squad will be something to strive for as the season progresses.
Q: Any noticeable gaps in the roster?
A: With so few on the roster at the present time, we are thin at a number of positions. We need to increase our depth across the board, then see how we might be able to convert players to spots on the field where we are most in need.
Q: What are the expectations for this year’s team?
A: I would expect that we will be able to compete for a place in the state playoffs. I also expect that we will maintain our unblemished home record (4-0 over the first two WPL seasons) and that we will give up less goals than in 2014.
Q: What are the critical areas of the game that will be stressed this season?
A: As mentioned previously, on-field cohesion and chemistry will be a priority, as will the team’s off-field camaraderie. Our newly-formed player leadership council will hopefully help us in both of those areas. In terms of on-field play, we need to overcome the late-game stutter steps that led to giving up goals in the final 10 minutes of all but one of our 2014 matches, which in the end cost us the wild-card spot last season. Also, more fluid play through all the lines and greater contributions across the roster will be a point of focus.
There is still time and space for you to be part of our 2015 season. Head over to our 2015 WPL gateway to drop us a note and get on the road to being an Owl this summer.