WPSL Expands San Diego Division with Surf
The goal is clear, Surf wants to build the most competitive team possible with the priority of providing an opportunity to allow their players to continue to develop and prepare for the college season.
The Women’s Premier Soccer League is the largest women’s soccer league in the world. The WPSL’s main focus is the development of highly competitive premier women’s soccer. With 90 WPSL players representing 44 clubs participating in the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League Draft, it is clear that the WPSL provides a valuable role in the development of professional players.
Surf SC is one of the 29 expansion clubs for the 2019 season, and San Diego’s premier youth soccer club believes that joining the WPSL provides a natural extension for their players and alumni to continue playing the beautiful game.
Sean Jones, WPSL’s president looks forward to Surf fielding a WPSL team and said, “We are honored to have one of the top clubs in the US join the WPSL for 2019. The Surf further strengthens the WPSL west region and they will without a doubt be making a run at the championship in the near future.”
Kate Norton will be coaching Surf’s inaugural WPSL team this season. The former University of Arizona assistant coach recently joined Surf SC as the new Associate Director of Coaching – Girls and looks forward to her first experience coaching in the WPSL.
SoccerToday Interview with Trailblazer Kate Norton
Diane Scavuzzo: This summer, you will be coaching the inaugural Surf WPSL team. What are you most excited about?
Kate Norton: I think it’s exciting because it’s brand new, and I kind of get to make it my own while tying in our Surf culture.
It’s exciting to provide a new platform for Surf Soccer Club.
It’s a great opportunity to get to know Surf alumni and it will be exciting to bring in players from outside of San Diego Surf as well.
Diane Scavuzzo: Have you ever coached a WPSL team before?
Kate Norton: I have not, but I played on one in the summer of 2006. The team was called the Michigan Phoenix, and it was when I was in college.
Diane Scavuzzo: What did you like best about playing on the WPSL team?
Kate Norton: It was an opportunity for me to train during the summer, and get some games in — and really work on match fitness. Playing in the WPSL prepared me for my senior pre-season for the University of Cincinnati.
Diane Scavuzzo: Are you first focusing on rostering former Surf players? What’s your approach?
Kate Norton: The majority of the players that we have committed so far are Surf alumni. We want to make sure that we’re servicing players who played for Surf, this is our number one priority.
We are also reaching out to our partners and affiliates, like OC Surf, to see if they have players that need a place to play over the summer.
In addition, if there are UC San Diego players, or other San Diego area collegiate players who need a place to play over the summer, we’re happy to have them come to a tryout.
We want to build the most competitive team we can.
But the priority is providing an opportunity to allow our players to continue to develop and prepare for their college season.
We look forward to having our Surf team ready on May 12th for the WPSL kick off against Albion’s ASC San Diego at 2 PM at Misson Bay High School.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is your recruiting plan for you WPSL Surf team?
Kate Norton: I have been doing a lot of one-on-one personal recruiting and we have signed some terrific players. We have players who are playing for Pepperdine, Louisville, Arizona, Cheno State, Purdue, Saint Mary’s, Texas, UCLA and other top programs.
Diane Scavuzzo: Where is Surf’s home field for the WPSL games?
Kate Norton: The games will be played at Canyon Crest Academy, which is part of San Dieguito Union High School District. The address is 5951 Village Center Loop Rd, San Diego, CA 92130.
Surf will have four home and four away games, so it’s actually really nice.
We are in the WPSL San Diego division and there are five San Diego WPSL teams — so all of our games are in the San Diego area. We open with three road games and then have four games at home. Then, we end with the San Diego SeaLions on the road.
It is great for our players — we’re not going to have to travel. This is also great for our budget.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is your philosophy on coaching your WPSL team? Are you looking forward to coaching college-age players again?
Kate Norton: The WPSL team is really an extension of our Surf platform and our already competitive program. We want to offer an opportunity for players to come back during the summer and not lose all their match fitness and get touches on the ball.
It is also important to understand that if you play elite college soccer, this is your only time off.
As a former college coach, I understand what pre-season is going to look like for these players when they go to college in July or August.
You train in the late summer, you’re playing in fall — that’s the most pressure-filled time of the year. Then, you have a little bit of time off in December, and then when you return to college in January, the team is focused on spring strength and conditioning, followed by spring games.
The summer is really the only time you have away from your college program, so I want to have that balance — we are not going to be training six days a week and playing one game.
The Surf WPSL schedule will be training one to three times a week and one game a week. I want the players to be getting touches on the ball, staying sharp, but also understanding that there’s a balance to them having enjoy their summer.
Diane Scavuzzo: In the short WPSL season, do you think you can help these players develop?
Kate Norton: Absolutely. This is a time where development can take place.
We clearly want to win every game that we play but it’s not as cutthroat as a fall DI college season.
WPSL offers an opportunity to play and develop. If a player has a key area that they want to work on, great, let’s meet before the season to discuss development. We can watch film and we can do as much or as little as the players want to do.
The majority of the players on our Surf WPSL will have never played for me. It will be great for them to just hear a different voice, get a different perspective on their game.
I think playing for Surf and WPSL is a privilege, and it is going to be a great season.