Women’s Soccer Veteran Lyndelle T. Phillips On UPSL
Over the past two decades, Lyndelle Phillips has been involved in soccer and the women’s game at every imaginable level. Her goal is always the same, to build a better future for the beautiful game and its players.
New York Magic has a rich history. Lyndelle T. Phillips has been involved with the Magic since the late 90s — the team is one of the seven oldest women’s soccer clubs in the history of the W-League. Well recognized for her contributions to the women’s game, Phillips was inducted into the USL Hall of Fame in 2006. She is also a Hall of Famer of W-League and Eastern New York State Soccer Association.
One of the team’s strengths has always been Gaetano “Nino” DePasquali who has been a part of the New York Magic since it’s inception and has always been intricately aligned with Phillips.
In the late 90s, based on the Magic’s highly competitive prowess, the team was invited by the New York Fever — the USL men’s team — to become the women’s affiliate in the USL W-League.
At the time, the NY Magic team manager Phillips and head coach “Nino” met with NY Fever owners and carved out what is now known as the NY Magic W-League team.
Since entering the W-League Lyndelle and Nino have co-owned and operated the Magic. In 1998 NY Magic became the USL Eastern Conference Champions and competed in the USL W League National Championship.
Now playing in the United Premier Soccer League, Phillips continues her dedication to women’s soccer and fielding a competitive women’s soccer team in New York City.
“The New York magic is a women’s soccer team dedicated to achieving success and it’s a pleasure to work with their founder and president Lyndelle. She is committed to contributing to the success of the UPSL women’s division, her team, the New York magic, and the fans of the beautiful game,” said Yan Skwara, UPSL commissioner.
SoccerToday Interview with Lyndelle T. Phillips
Diane Scavuzzo: There are several amateur women’s soccer leagues to play in —Why choose the UPSL?
Lyndelle T. Phillips: Under the UPSL umbrella, the New York Magic seeks a unique opportunity to build on the synergy, coordination, and cooperation of both women’s and men’s soccer competition in America.
On a national level, I would eventually like to work towards the goal of promotion/relegation in women’s soccer.
In a national framework, it is also important to increase the length of playing seasons for women’s soccer — outside the current 3 month summer season.
Over the years, the Magic has affiliated with and operated in various “pro-am” soccer environments — in the typical 3 month summer seasons and we are looking forward in the UPSL to taking the Magic team, the game, the players and the women’s’ soccer footprint to another level.
Diane Scavuzzo: Why does the UPSL provide this greater framework than the other existing leagues?
Lyndelle T. Phillips: The current structure and landscape of women’s soccer in the USA is a fragmented ‘hodgepodge’ throughout the US.
I believe working together with the UPSL, we will have the vision to unify and establish a national footprint that will connect, support and compliment both women and men’s competitive soccer other — capitalizing on the advantages of a league that has divisions for both genders.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is one of the greatest challenges in women’s soccer today?
Lyndelle T. Phillips: Identifying talent and providing a pathway are real challenges. Although we live and operate in an expansive country — is it asking too much to establish a national model connecting women’s soccer leading up to the professional NWSL?
Right now the feeder system for the nine professional teams in the NWSL is the colleges and universities.
The current women’s amateur soccer systems only provide summer opportunities for college players to maintain and hone their skills for their next season. college or professional teams.
I know that Jaime Vardy, the English professional footballer who went from a non-league club to the Premier club Leicester City is unique, but how can we ever know if the female versions of Jaime Vardy exist in these United States?
Diane Scavuzzo: How competitive do you feel your women’s soccer team is?
Lyndelle T. Phillips: It is too early in the process to determine the make-up and competitiveness of the team. Of course, the goal is always to be competitive while maintaining ‘pro-am’ standards.
Historically, New York Magic has always maintained high competitive standards on and off the pitch
In our new soccer environment, we will strive to maintain the same high-quality organization and level of competition. The staff and personnel of the Magic team may vary — but the goal is the same; to put a competitive product on the field.
We know how to win. New York Magic has a trophy-case full of Championships, trophies, and awards — from National, regional, state and local competitions.
Diane Scavuzzo: How competitive do you believe the league is?
Lyndelle T. Phillips: That is a difficult question to answer at this time. In the Northeast Conference inaugural season, the affiliated teams are committed to quality soccer competition. And, I know, across America, we will all work to make the UPSL Northeast Women’s Division high quality and competitive.
Diane Scavuzzo: How does Magic fit into soccer in New York?
Lyndelle T. Phillips: New York Magic — fondly referred to as The United Nations of Soccer — continues to promote and support women’s soccer on a local, regional and national level.
Diane Scavuzzo: How international or diverse is your roster? How does your team reflect the beautiful game which can unite people from all sorts of different backgrounds?
Lyndelle T. Phillips: New York Magic’s roster will vary but currently in addition to the players from the USA, we have players from all over the world including Germany, Japan, Trinidad, Serbia, Philippines, Brazil, Morocco, and Poland.
Magic players are known to say: We may come to New York from different countries and we may speak different languages, but when we get on the soccer field, Magic players all speak the same language.
Magic’s international players all speak the same language — soccer.
Diane Scavuzzo: How vital to the American soccer landscape is the UPSL?
Lyndelle T. Phillips: The UPSL is creating an expansive network and a national footprint for women’s and men’s teams and meeting the country’s growing need for opportunities in soccer with unity and quality.
Diane Scavuzzo: When did you first get involved in soccer?
Lyndelle T. Phillips: I first got involved in soccer as an amateur player in Seattle, Washington and I played club soccer throughout graduate school.
Years later, it was a natural transition when I became involved in the administration and organization of soccer.
I am now the League Commissioner of NYMWSL, the local Women’s Soccer League and I sit as a Trustee and Life Member on the Board of the Eastern New York State Soccer Association. Initially, for me, the USL W-League provided a quality soccer environment for men’s and women’s soccer under the same pyramid umbrella.
The UPSL has similar and comparable goals to advance and enhance the beautiful game.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are your goals for Magic?
Lyndelle T. Phillips: New York Magic through its associates, affiliates and work ethic looks to advance opportunities for female and male players through participation with quality soccer organizations and associations. Players really appreciate the opportunity to compete in the beautiful game that they love at higher levels. We hope to provide and enhance these exciting opportunities.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the age range of your players?
Lyndelle T. Phillips: New York Magic players range in age from 18 to 30-years old, give or take a few years!
Diane Scavuzzo: If a player is interested in trying out? What should they do?