Groundbreaking Partnership To Further Women’s Soccer Led by Sacramento’s Premier Women’s Soccer Team
California Storm is one of the Women’s Premier Soccer League’s (WPSL) most historic clubs having earned many accolades in the League’s record books. The club was coached by WPSL founder Jerry Zanelli until his death and is currently tied for the longest active club having played 23 seasons.
According to the record books, California Storm also holds the No. 1 spot for Most Wins All Time for both regular season & playoffs combined (201) and regular season only (193), Most Conference Titles (14), and Most Playoff Appearances (11).
However, for California Storm Executive Director and Head Coach, Jamie Levoy, the club’s presence in the community is far more important than on-field achievements.
“California Storm is the community’s team.”Jamie Levoy, California Storm Executive Director and Head Coach
“We want to be more than a team that wins championships,” said Levoy. “We want to assist in real change and create opportunities for girls and women. Soccer is the tool we use to facilitate change.”
Recently, California Storm teamed up with partners Street Soccer USA and UC Davis Health to launch the Ladies First Initiative in Oak Park with a community press conference event. The club’s goal for the initiative is to help the young girls in neglected and underprivileged areas of the Sacramento community learn how to be active and improve their way of life by being on a soccer field/futsal court.
Street Soccer USA has been fighting poverty and empowering underserved communities for nearly 10 years across the U.S. through soccer with 22 programs in 16 cities.
A collaboration with Street Soccer USA had been in the works since Levoy took over California Storm two years ago. Lisa Wrightsman, Managing Director Street Soccer USA, and Tiffany Fraser, Board Member Street Soccer USA began discussing with Levoy different ways to bring the two entities together.
“There is a massive need for mentorship and structured exercise programs in these communities”, Levoy said. “Once the concept was established, we reached out to our mutual partners at UC Davis Health. UC Davis Health has been an iatrical partner for elevating girls and women of diverse backgrounds in our region.”
The initiative will be composed of a girls’ after-school program in Oak Park plus the mentorship program between California Storm and Street Soccer USA. California Storm players will be an essential role as they assist Street Soccer USA with their soccer clinics.
“If we can create a bigger community who buys into knowing that everybody deserves equal opportunity, who deserves a place to play, who deserves to just be their best, imagine what can be possible,” Brandi Chastain, Olympian, and World Cup Champion stated at the event on Thursday.
Brandi Chastain is also a former WPSL and California Storm player and currently serves as a Board Member for the club.
For the first year, the program will engage more than 500 girls and young women between the ages of six and 24 years old with the hope to connect 10,000 girls to soccer and female mentors across the U.S. by 2022.