Archive for the ‘Milwaukee’ Tag

State of the City   Leave a comment

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


Posted May 12, 2015 by Scott in Uncategorized

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All-City Conference Selections   Leave a comment

First team
Position players: Miriam Cortez, Hamilton; Claudia Cisneros, King; Suzy Scotty, King; Erin May, Languages; Ariana Gomez, Languages; Olimpia Garcia, Reagan; Gabrielle Newton, Reagan; Gabrielle Sustache, Reagan; Makya Kirchner, Riverside; Abiline Rosas, Riverside.
Goalkeeper: Ana-Karen Valesquez, Hamilton.
Second team
Position players: Adriana Hernandez, Hamilton; Evalise Navarro, Hamilton; Kendall Edwards, Languages; Deja Davis, Languages; Jacqueline Biernat, Reagan; Ashley Hernandez, Reagan; Malee Xiong, Riverside; Shoua Vang, Riverside.
Goalkeeper: Anna Dannecker, Reagan.

First team
Position players: Nataly Alanis, Carmen; Kimberly Lozano, Carmen; Marqueesha Smith, Madison; Ia Thao, Madison; Pang Thao, Madison; Verenice Ochoa, Pulaski; Katiushka Cruz, South; Marisia Sanchez, South; Tiffany Carter, Bradley Tech; Sandra Ramos, Bradley Tech.
Goalkeeper: Morgan Johnstone, Pulaski.
Second team
Position players: Marina Garcia, Carmen; Jade Rhymes, Madison; Daysha Harris, Madison; Jocelyn Martin, Pulaski; Zashy Torres, Pulaski; Amira White, Pulaski; Anahi Hernandez, South; Muchi Plaw, South; Braxcton Dodd, Bradley Tech; Naw Paw Say Wah, Washington.
Goalkeeper: Aliyah Williams, Washington.

Posted July 8, 2014 by Scott in Uncategorized

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2014 Season Preview   Leave a comment

Milwaukee United Soccer Club’s second season in Wisconsin’s Women’s Premier League begins this Saturday.  After an inaugural campaign which saw MUSC finish 2-3-1 and middle of the pack in the WPL’s South division, the front office worked in the off-season to add depth for the 2014 season.  With 14 newcomers joining 10 members of last season’s team, this year’s version of the Owls offers greater competition up and down the roster and greater positional flexibility on the field.  The 24 women on the opening day roster come to Milwaukee United from 10 colleges and universities in the Midwest and 15 different high schools in Southeastern Wisconsin.

Milwaukee United SC underwent a number of off-the-field changes this past fall and winter, not the least of which was handing the coaching reins for the WPL team to 2013 co-scoring leader Brenda Hernandez.  A four-year starter at Cardinal Stritch University, Hernandez led by example on last year’s team through tireless play and the willingness to do whatever was necessary to help the team achieve on the field.  Hernandez will be a player/coach this year, with administrative and on-the-field help coming from the front office and other post-college players on the team to make things flow in training and on game day.

This year’s captain is returning defender Katherine Oleniczak (St. Norbert College/Wauwatosa East), with incoming midfielder/forward Maria Stephans (UW-Milwaukee/Hartford) serving as her assistant.  Up front, the Owls have added three-time all-Midwest Conference selection Brandi Peltier (Ripon College/Hustisford) and Stephans to a returning core of players that accounted for 40% of last season’s scoring and 47% of last year’s points.  The team’s midfield contingent includes newcomers Katelyn Hronek (Lake Forest College/Wauwatosa West) and Anna Stadler (Cardinal Stritch University/Wauwatosa West) along with 2013 Most Improved Players Neysel Powell (Alverno College/Milwaukee School of Languages) and Heidi Hetzel (UW-Oshkosh/Sheboygan South).  The largest influx of talent comes on defense, with three members of Cardinal Stritch’s backline (Danielle Doucette, Michelle Peltz, and Samantha Read) coming aboard to join returning stalwarts Oleniczak and Kaitlin Malliet (St. Norbert College/DSHA).  In goal, the team will have the services of Kara Casebolt (Cardinal Stritch University/Racine Horlick) and Kristy Leopold (Southwest Minnesota State/Nicolet).

The Women’s Premier League will see 15 teams compete for the state championship across three divisions (North, South, and West), with Milwaukee United SC playing in the South division against a pair of teams from Croatian Eagles SC (Majors and U23), Racine United WPL, and Milwaukee Sport Club U23.  This season’s expectations are: to contend for the division title and make the four-team statewide playoffs; to have players improve both technically and tactically in their natural positions as well as develop increased playing ability in other positions on the field; and to offer our community a positive set of role models for future generations of players.  Given the additions to last year’s squad and the move to a more possession-oriented game that involves more players on the offensive side of the ball, we believe those goals are quite attainable.  Join us on Saturday at 11am at Doyne Park (53rd and Wells St. in Milwaukee) for the season opener against Racine United, where the Owls will seek to start 2014 on the front foot and begin the climb to a league title.


Posted June 12, 2014 by Scott in Uncategorized

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MPS Soccer Saturday   Leave a comment

This past Saturday saw all eleven girls’ soccer teams from Milwaukee Public Schools in action at the same location, Pulaski Stadium on the city’s south side.  The day started at 9am with the City Tournament, comprised of seven teams.  South Division would come out on top by defeating Madison 3-1 in the final after making their way past Washington (7-0) and Carmen (2-0 on penalty kicks following a 1-1 draw) in earlier rounds.  Following the City Tournament, the top four teams in MPS took the field to complete the two-day City Cup (semifinals were played on Friday afternoon at Bradley Tech).  The School of Languages defeated Hamilton 2-0 in the third-place match and Rufus King squeezed past Reagan 1-0 in the championship match.

Our analysis of the weekend:

*  There is legitimate soccer talent at every MPS school, but it is spread out piecemeal amongst most of them (the top two or three schools have a larger number of top players than those below them).

*  The biggest problem across ALL schools and teams is goalkeeping as there seems to be little training of the position by coaching staffs or commitment to it by players.  This might be an area where we can actually help sooner rather than later, with the possibility of a goalkeeping clinic over the summer utilizing our friends, partners, and current players to provide some fundamental skill development for all interested girls.

*  Reagan is on the ascendency and should eventually overtake Rufus King as the top soccer school within MPS.  They have a young squad that is nearly as skilled as King (King has greater program depth as results of the reserve sides’ matches this year indicate) and have lost by just one goal in each of the teams’ matches this year (3-2 on April 8 and 1-0 in the City Cup final).  Being a fairly new program in MPS, Reagan does not have the history of losing by lopsided scores to King that invokes fear before taking the field against them and the team radiates a certain level of hungriness that frankly is not evident in King’s players (I’d be happy to further explain this point if anyone wishes to know more).

*  Carmen has loads of potential to become a player in the city soccer ranks over the next few years (2014 is their first season as a varsity-level program, having co-oped with Bradley Tech before playing a stand-alone junior-varsity schedule last year) given the school’s demographics and the external soccer infrastructure of the area.

*  Madison has potential as well to grow into a program that can stir up trouble for the top schools in MPS.  Their pragmatic style of play allowed them to make the final on Saturday despite being out-skilled in their matches against Pulaski and Riverside.  Combined with solid coaching,  we believe that were they to get a couple of experienced players into the school (and onto the team), it would allow them to elevate their game and begin the process of becoming a team that is capable of holding its own against First Division opposition.

I had a couple of nice conversations with parents over the two tournament days, one with the mother of a King freshman defender and one with the father of a Reagan freshman midfielder.  Their sensibleness regarding their daughters’ play and overall game quality was fairly refreshing given how some parents can be in their pursuit of “the best for their child”.  These two young ladies are examples of the kind of players we pursue, those who are overlooked, underappreciated, or ignored by the traditional soccer community.  Even with actively-engaged parents and their willingness to be supports for their kid’s pursuits (financially and logistically), the internal culture of most clubs can create obstacles that are hard if not impossible to overcome and can do damage to these players’ desire to continue in the game.  I would welcome these two into our fold and hope our visit to King on Monday evening for their return match against Reagan will spur another conversation or two about who we are and what we want to do in Milwaukee.

Below is the list of results from the weekend:

City Cup
Friday (semis)
King 6 Hamilton 0
Reagan 1 Languages 0
Languages 2 Hamilton 0 (Third Place)
King 1 Reagan 0 (Championship)

City Tournament
First Round
South 7 Washington 0
Carmen 1 Tech 0
Madison 1 Pulaski 0
Winners Bracket
South 1 Carmen 1 (South advances 2-0 on PKs)
Madison 2 Riverside 0
Consolation Bracket
Tech 2 Washington 0 (Washington finishes 7th)
Pulaski 1 Tech 0 (fifth/sixth place)
South 3 Madison 1

Posted May 6, 2014 by Scott in Uncategorized

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2014 WPL Roster Release (Part I)   Leave a comment

After several months of scouting and player evaluation, Milwaukee United Soccer Club is pleased to announce the first portion of its roster for the 2014 Women’s Premier League season.  Returning from last year’s team are forwards Brenda Hernandez, Rasika Perera, and Leeah Rivas, along with midfielders Heidi Hetzel, Neysel Powell, and Ashley Saskowski.  New to the club in 2014 are midfielders Carly Herald, Katelyn Hronek, Casey Scheibengraber, and Maria Stephans, plus defenders Emily Ogas and Michelle Peltz.

Brenda Hernandez – A 2012 graduate of Cardinal Stritch University with a degree in art, Hernandez played four years for the Wolves following her high school career at Whitefish Bay Dominican.  Brenda led Milwaukee United in scoring in 2013 playing both forward and midfield for the club and is currently the librarian at Allen-Field Elementary School in Milwaukee.

Rasika Perera – A junior psychology major at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Perera tallied 21 goals for the Blue Angels over the past two seasons.  A graduate of Oak Creek High School, Rasika shared the Milwaukee United scoring title with Brenda Hernandez in 2013.

Leeah Rivas – A sophomore business management major at UW-Oshkosh, Rivas returns to Milwaukee United after a fall season where she helped the Titans advance to the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship game.

Heidi Hetzel – Rivas’ teammate at UW-Oshkosh and previous to that at Sheboygan South High School, Hetzel comes back to Milwaukee United after being named one of the club’s Most Improved Players in 2013.  A sophomore environmental studies major, Heidi made 19 appearances for the Titans this past fall.

Neysel Powell – Another one of MUSC’s Most Improved Players from the 2013 season, Powell returns to the club following an outstanding season at Alverno College where she played a variety of positions in contributing to the Inferno’s winningest campaign in school history.  A sophomore pre-law major, Neysel appeared in all 40 matches for the school in her two years there.

Ashley Saskowski – Vice-captain of the club’s Women’s Premier League team in 2013, Saskowski finished her intercollegiate career at St. Norbert College this past fall and will graduate in May with a degree in business administration.  A versatile player, Ashley contributed at forward, midfield, and defense for Milwaukee United in 2013 and was a key cog in pulling out the club’s 1-0 win over Madison 56ers Capitals.

Carly Herald – A junior public health major at Carroll University, Herald was named Honorable Mention All-Midwest Conference following her 2013 season for the Pioneers, one which was highlighted by a 35-yard overtime goal against defending conference champion Lake Forest on October 10th.

Katelyn Hronek – A freshman pre-vet major at Lake Forest College, Hronek played her high school soccer at Wauwatosa West.  In her first season with the Foresters, Katelyn converted from midfield to fill in at sweeper following injuries to the team’s backline and contributed two goals and two assists from her deep-lying post.

Casey Scheibengraber – Another newcomer to MUSC for 2014, Scheibengraber is a junior at Alverno College majoring in math education with a desire to teach in Milwaukee Public Schools in the future.  Like Powell and Emily Ogas, Casey attended Milwaukee School of Languages prior to Alverno, a pipeline that has seen at least one Hawk join the Inferno in each season since 2009.

Maria Stephans – A freshman pre-med major at UW-Milwaukee, Stephans brings a cabinet full of awards to the club from her time at Hartford Union High School, where she holds every scoring record for the Orioles and was named all-area player of the year three times in her four years at the school.

Emily Ogas – A freshman biology major at Alverno College, Ogas joins Milwaukee United after a fine first season for the Inferno where she played both outside back positions and center midfield.

Michelle Peltz – A freshman business management major at Cardinal Stritch University, Peltz played her prep soccer at Nicolet High School alongside 2013 MUSC Most Valuable Player Kristy Leopold and made nine appearances for the Wolves in the 2013 fall season.

Name Position College High School
Ashley Saskowski Midfield St. Norbert College West Allis Hale
Neysel Powell Midfield Alverno College Milwaukee School of Languages
Brenda Hernandez Forward Cardinal Stritch University Whitefish Bay Dominican
Maria Stephans Midfield UW-Milwaukee Hartford
Rasika Perera Forward Mount Mary College Oak Creek
Casey Scheibengraber Midfield Alverno College Milwaukee School of Languages
Katelyn Hronek Midfield Lake Forest College Wauwatosa West
Emily Ogas Defense Alverno College Milwaukee School of Languages
Heidi Hetzel Midfield UW-Oshkosh Sheboygan South
Leeah Rivas Forward UW-Oshkosh Sheboygan South
Michelle Peltz Defense Cardinal Stritch University Nicolet
Carly Herald Midfield Carroll University Wauwatosa East

Posted January 7, 2014 by Scott in Uncategorized

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Play for Us (2013 version)   Leave a comment

This is a repost of our player pitch from last year, with some edits to bring it up-to-date.

The 2013 college soccer regular season is coming to a close, with just a handful of matches left for all teams.  Despite a number of local players expected to participate in conference tournaments (and hopefully their division’s NCAA tournaments) once the calendar turns to November, the bulk of our scouting work for the season is completed and our focus turns to planning who to invite to our two players’ events over the semester break in December.   We have stated in past entries who we are, what we want to do, and what it takes to be selected to play for us.  With that, I am going to lay out WHY you should want to play for Milwaukee United Soccer Club.

1)  We will be competitive.

With our mission being to provide increased playing opportunities for local soccer players and those from underserved soccer communities, most people might believe that we will not be able to hold our own against teams that recruit far-and-wide to bring together top-loaded rosters from (in their opinion) more prestigious programs.  That is simply not true.  Last summer, we were able to shutout three of our six opponents despite having only two traditional defenders on the roster and finished in the middle of the pack in the South division of Wisconsin’s Women’s Premier League.  This year’s watch list has eclipsed 250 points thus far and is closing in on 100 goals for the campaign, with 38 of 66 field players picking up at least one point.  The players we are looking at come from programs as diverse as the University of Central Florida, which has been ranked in the Division I polls this season, to Alverno College (an all-women’s school in Milwaukee) and Michigan Tech (located in the northernmost portion of the Upper Peninsula), and we feel these players are capable of coming together to form a pair of solid teams for the 2014 WPL season.

2)  We will help you get better for next season.

Because we have spent considerable time watching players, we are familiar with current strengths and weaknesses in their games.  As mentioned in our entry titled A Full Year Approach, we view college and summer soccer as two complementary building blocks, where each can help a player get better for the other.  A player may have been a striker in youth and prep play, but has been shifted to another position when she started college play.  We will work with the player in training and matches to develop her skills in both her “natural” position and her “college” position so that she is able to return to campus in the fall a better player and able to make a significant contribution to her college team.

3)  You will be amongst friends (and perhaps rivals).

As I go over the playing/educational backgrounds of players in the pool, I notice that there are very few cases where a player doesn’t share some common thread with at least one other player on the list.  This is important because joining a new club/team can be awkward or unnerving, just like going away to school or moving.  Since the teams will come by and large from within the borders of Milwaukee County, there is a common language of cultural references the team will have (even if it is spoken in different dialects reflective of the 19 communities which make up the county).  To quote just a few of these common Milwaukee references:  Summerfest; Bradford Beach; Kopp’s; Mayfair; The Domes; bubbler.  People outside of the Milwaukee area might not know what you mean, but anyone from here will know and have some memory/experience of them.  Our goal is to turn a group of players that come in as individuals into a cohesive sisterhood where everyone is bonded into a common purpose and fights together as one, for each other and for their hometown.

If those reasons don’t encourage you to join us, take this one:  YOU HAVE BEEN CHOSEN!  As you may notice, I mention nothing about tryouts.  That’s because all of the information we need to make roster decisions has been garnered by watching you this season (or in past seasons in the case of older players).  We know what positions you play (in general), the relative amount of playing time you get, your stats from the season, and have determined that we want you representing us on the field, all without you having to prove it in a one-day, make-or-break event against others who are fighting with you for limited roster spots and to whom you may feel no loyalty to help show their best.  It’s this cutthroat approach to the game that we are wanting to reduce or eliminate.  Sure, you will be competing with one another for space on the match day roster or in the first XI, but not for a place within the organization (unlike some clubs in the area you or I may know), and you will have a place here unless you choose to no longer play (and even then, opportunities exist to participate off-the-field with the club).

Excited?  Interested?  Fill out the form below to receive our player questionnaire and let’s get the ball rolling on having you participate in one of our play dates over the semester break.

Posted October 14, 2013 by Scott in Club Philosophy

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We’re Moving Along   Leave a comment

Now that the college soccer season is underway, here’s a quick update on the watch list’s performance to date.  As of Sunday, the 66 field players on the list have compiled 52 goals and 34 assists for 138 points, with Michelle Greeneway of Lake Forest College leading the way with eight goals followed by St. Norbert’s Kaitlin Schmitz with five goals and five assists.  Of players from this past summer’s team, Rasika Perera from Mount Mary University has four goals, with Cardinal Stritch’s Cassie Braam (two goals, one assist), Brittney Brown (one goal), and Lourdes Gil (one assist) also getting on the score sheet in 2013.  Stand-out first-year players thus far include Alverno’s Samantha Devcich (five goals) and Hayley Serketich (four goals, three assists), Brianna Reid from UW-Whitewater (three goals, three assists), Sara Travia from Milwaukee School of Engineering (three goals, one assist), Anna Stadler of Cardinal Stritch (three goals, two assists), and Augsburg’s Morgan Kenny (one goal, four assists).

Off-the-field, we are working on a couple of projects for the end of 2013 and start of 2014.  We are looking at holding a series of events over the winter holiday break during the time span of December 27th through December 30th, comprising two player combines (one for returning MUSC players, pre-qualified new players, and selected invitees; the other for potential 2014 MUSC players), a morning of community service with local organizations, and a fundraising banquet/silent auction.  Following that, several members of the Milwaukee United SC organization are planning to attend the National Soccer Coaches Association of America convention in Philadelphia in mid-January.  We will have more to share about these in the next couple of weeks.  If you are interested in helping with (be it logistically or financially) or attending any of these events, please drop us a note at the bottom of this entry.

Players who want to get the process moving to play for us in 2014 should also drop us a line, as the sooner we’re able to send you the initial paperwork, the sooner you’ll be able to solidify a spot on one of our two teams.

Posted September 17, 2013 by Scott in Uncategorized

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