Archive for June 2012

This Could Be You   Leave a comment

We have gotten a couple of answers regarding Women’s League Soccer and have sent on additional questions to the the league’s main contact person, which hopefully will result in the necessary information to determine whether we seek entrance there or in WPSL for 2013.

Onto the focus of this entry, the players we’d like to bring into the Milwaukee United fold.  I have been watching local players for several years now and have come to find no less than 60 of them from Milwaukee County playing in any one season at the intercollegiate level (most of them in Division III, but a few sprinkled amongst Division I and Division II rosters).  While we wait for 2012 rosters to be set, I have been going back over past years’ databases to re-familiarize myself with certain players and to organize the database for this season.  The 2013 team that will be playing in one of the aforementioned leagues will be made up of the players I will scout this season, along with perhaps one or two recent graduates (players that had been followed/scouted in past seasons) that have settled (at least temporarily) in Milwaukee.  Although I will not say on here who exactly I’m watching, I can provide some examples of players (both past and present) of ones:  The following is a short list of players on the radar:

  • A forward playing Division I soccer in Ohio
  • Two goalkeepers playing at the Division II level outside the state of Wisconsin
  • An MPS graduate who plays college soccer in the NAIA
  • A midfielder who plys her trade in Minnesota at the Division III level
  • A pair of defenders who are at schools in Illinois
  • Several players who are at local schools in the Northern Athletic Conference (private school conference)
  • A number of players at schools in the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Conference (UW-hyphenated schools)

We watch games in-person (within reason), via the Internet (when available), as well as monitor match trackers and live stats pages schools might post.  I believe that spending time during the college season to follow players is more beneficial both in terms of information and in resource allocation than one or two days of random evaluation of talent.  Being invested in players through this method in my opinion leads to greater team cohesion and a better crafting of a roster.

We are just a few weeks away from the 2012 college season beginning and I look forward to seeing as many players as possible who could eventually become members of the Milwaukee United SC entry in WPSL or WLS.  If you know players who you think we should check out, let us know (milwaukeeunitedsc@gmail.com, facebook.com/milwaukeeunitedsc, or @milwaukeeunited on Twitter).

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Posted June 24, 2012 by Scott in Club Philosophy

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Where Shall We Go?   1 comment

With the demise of Women’s Professional Soccer earlier this year, the landscape of women’s soccer in the United States has shifted, with no clear first-division league and with no legitimate pyramid of leagues that one can look at and determine where to place their team or club.  Currently, there are three leagues which exist on a regional and/or national level, those being the Women’s Premier Soccer League, the United Soccer Leagues’ W-League, and Women’s League Soccer.  What do each league offer and where would Milwaukee United find its best fit both at the outset and long-term?

The Women’s Premier Soccer League has been in existence since 1998 and is home to more than 70 clubs across the country which play regionally with the top teams in each region advancing to a national tournament at the end of July.  The Midwest Conference has 7 teams at present (down from a high of 11 or 12 last season), with FC Milwaukee and the Madison 56ers two of those.  Initial buy-in to the league and annual dues are fairly low and a large organizational infrastructure isn’t necessary, making it a viable home for an upstart club built on college players home for the summer or one looking to expand playing opportunities for those who age-out of a club’s youth system.

The W-League is the longest-running women’s soccer league in the country, beginning in 1995.  Incidentially (or perhaps not so incidentally), the WPSL was formed by a handful of W-League teams that broke away over league rules/management.  The W-League at present has thirty teams in the United States and Canada, with most if not all affiliated with Premier Development League (men’s U23) or USL Pro teams.  The cost to enter the league is much higher than that of WPSL (on the order of maybe 5-6x) and a larger organization necessary to operate the team.  There are currently no W-League teams in the midwest.

Women’s League Soccer started in 2011 with 11 teams based in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois.  The 2012 season is being contested by five teams (Des Moines Menace, Cincinnati Lady Saints, Fort Wayne SC, FC Indiana South Bend, and FC Indiana based in Lafayette).  I have sent questions about the league to the head of the Cincinnati Lady Saints and am awaiting a response.

Based on those initial impressions, it would look like WPSL is the most stable and thus best place for us to establish a team.  In my opinion, the WPSL is the best league top-to-bottom and structurally in the US and I could perceive that being our long-term home.  However, there is a part of me that looks at WLS and sees the Christmas tree from “Charlie Brown”, in that it could become something great for the game in this part of the country (where there is no W-League and where teams go in and out of WPSL on an almost-yearly basis) as it is not part of the WPSL/USL war (in fact, FC Indiana SB is the sister side of the PDL’s Indiana Invaders and FC Indiana’s top team plays in WPSL Elite).  It also could provide a viable 2nd division for women’s soccer, where clubs/teams could grow and perhaps move into either WPSL or W-League while also allowing for a team to remain in WLS.  I will provide updates on this question as the summer moves along and I get more information from those involved with the leagues.

Posted June 19, 2012 by Scott in Uncategorized

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What Defines a Geographic Area?   Leave a comment

Milwaukee:  city, county, metropolitan area?  Which definition would you use?  Which one should be used when discussing the place of girls’ and women’s soccer?

By most accounts, the Milwaukee metropolitan area (defined as Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha counties) does quite well in terms of qualifying teams for the state tournament in girls’ soccer (made up of eight teams in Division 1 and four teams each in Divisions 2 and 3), as the following numbers indicate:

2012:  5 teams (three in Division 1, one in Division 2, and one in Division 3).

2009-2011 state tournaments: Fluctuated between four and six, including four of the eight participants in Division 1 in 2009, and most years involving a team in each division.

These statistics hide something though, namely that only one of those teams in each of the four years resides within Milwaukee County (Divine Savior Holy Angels in 2009, 2010, and 2012; Whitefish Bay in 2011).  On the heels of my most recent post, one might not think that the rest of the schools in the county would be in a similar struggle to compete, but the economic resources in the area have not just slipped outside the city limits, but have crossed the county borders as well, with cities and school districts in the other three counties making up most of the remaining entrants at the state level and a larger-than-average proportion of the area’s college soccer players.

At Milwaukee United, we define “Milwaukee” from a county perspective, doing so based on its population size (approximately 950,000, with the city of Milwaukee making up around 600,000 of that).  A community of that size makes for a reasonably robust player pool and potential fan base.  Were we to add in the surrounding counties, it would create a much more unwieldy player pool (for instance, a partial scan of 2011 NCAA and NAIA women’s soccer rosters found 60 players from Milwaukee County but almost 180 total when the other three counties are included), would defeat one of the club’s main purposes (shining a light on local talent that maybe gets overlooked due to where they play high school soccer or their inability to afford club soccer play), and would untether the club from its central defining location.  In contrast, FC Milwaukee (the local giant in the club soccer game) plays in Germantown (Washington County) and is based out of Butler (Waukesha County).  Even though we are most concerned with expanding opportunities for girls and women within the city of Milwaukee, the county as a whole has a very similar ceiling on it, whereby if you do not play for FC Milwaukee and/or attend DSHA or Whitefish Bay, forget about the possibility of a Division I playing opportunity.

Is this standard too limiting?  Is the problem one which has no easy solution?  I know there is enough talent within these borders to stock a team in either women’s soccer league we will consider for 2013, and to quote one of my brothers in arms, we should dare to be different.

Posted June 10, 2012 by Scott in Uncategorized

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This Must Be Fixed   2 comments

Last Thursday was the opening round of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) girls’ soccer tournament, with regional matches in three classes.  In the nine matches involving Milwaukee Public Schools teams (eight in Division 1 and one in Division 2), the MPS schools went 0-for-9 and were outscored 102-0.  The closest scoreline was 6-0, the largest 21-0, and all but two of the games were double-digit defeats.  No MPS school has made the WIAA state tournament since 1989 (Riverside University High School in a one-class system), with no MPS school participating in a sectional final since 1993 (again, Riverside).  Rufus King, which is on a 93-game unbeaten streak in the City Conference, lost to Germantown by that aforementioned 6-0 scoreline.  Milwaukee School of Languages, the only MPS school that plays in Division 2 and King’s closest competition in the league this year, went down to Shorewood 9-0.

This. Must. Be. Fixed.  There is no reason why EVERY single team went out at the first hurdle except that the mechanisms of the tournament bracket take “the luck of the draw” out of the equation.  When I coached, you knew before the season which teams were in your sectional, that the matchups were randomly determined using the alphabetical listing of the schools, and that every sectional in the state was set up in that manner.  Sometimes, two VERY GOOD teams would have to face off in the first round (for instance, Brookfield East and Brookfield Central) because the draw matrix paired Team 1 vs. Team 2.  Other times, a decent team could navigate their way deep into the tournament through the luck of the drawn bracket and some upsets in other games.  These days, all sectionals are seeded and the draw progresses from that.  This year, the highest seed an MPS school received was a 12 (Milwaukee School of Languages).  Moreso, in the two Division 1 sectionals involving MPS schools, they were seeded 13, 14, 15, and 16 and thus facing a top-four seed out of the gate.

How do we fix this?  To me, the easiest mechanism is to stop assigning schools to divisions for all sports based on enrollment.  In Wisconsin, there is a debate about whether certain schools in boys’ basketball should be placed in a higher division than their enrollment dictates (namely, small, private schools that have dominated in Division 3).  In this light, Milwaukee Pius XI petitioned the WIAA to allow its girls’ basketball team to play in the Division 1 playoffs despite its enrollment placing it in Division 2 (the boys’ team played in their assigned division).  With that in mind, I feel that ALL MPS schools should be able to petition to play in Division 2 for girls’ soccer from a competitive standpoint, with the WIAA also having the ability to move schools up into Division 1 that clearly have the institutional resources to play at that level.  Failing that, the creation of a regional or sub-sectional of JUST MPS schools would help to move the ball forward as it would in most years guarantee one or two schools making it into the sectional level of the competition.  If we are to grow the game in Milwaukee, there needs to be some means of giving our local schools access to playing on a bigger stage where they can actually compete instead of making up the numbers (at least there were no forfeits in this year’s bracket, unlike 2011 where Whitefish Bay made it to sectionals because two MPS schools refused to suffer the humiliation of a beatdown).  What say you?  Do you have any solutions to this dilemma?

Posted June 5, 2012 by Scott in Uncategorized

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Welcome!   Leave a comment

Welcome to our little corner of the Internet.  Milwaukee United Soccer Club seeks to provide a high-level playing environment for U16 and above girls and women from Milwaukee County.  We look to take a multi-level approach to bringing in players, advancing them, and ultimately offering them a platform on which to showcase their skills.

The entry point for players will be at the U16 level, with us actively recruiting players from organizations such as America Scores, Journey House, the Boys and Girls Club, Children’s Outing Association, and municipal recreation departments.  We would play only in the fall club season with the expectation that our players will play for their high school teams in the spring.  We plan to work with Milwaukee public high schools in elevating their ability to compete on a regional scale and perhaps see one of them play in a sectional final for the first time in almost 20 years (more on this in a future post).

Beyond what happens on the soccer field, the club would plan to offer both academic and athletic advising to its players, in the hopes that by taking an active interest in its players’ schooling, more (if not all) of them will see college as a worthwhile pursuit and be prepared to tackle its academic rigor once there.  Thus, we would hopefully be able to place more players from local high schools onto college soccer rosters and as such be able to develop a team to play in either the Women’s Premier Soccer League or Women’s League Soccer during the summer months from these players.  In 2011, only five graduates of Milwaukee Public Schools were on college rosters, with all of them playing in the greater Milwaukee area and all but one at Division III private institutions (the fifth was playing at UW-Parkside, a Division II school). In 2010, it was five as well, with two of those not returning for 2011, with the numbers for 2009, 2008, and 2007 very similar in terms of quantity and location.

For a more detailed layout of our blueprint, please check out this post from Two Touch Pass, and we look forward to working with anyone interested in helping to grow the game here in Milwaukee.

Posted June 4, 2012 by Scott in Club Philosophy