NJ/NY Gotham FC Collaborates with Downtown United Soccer Club to Create NWSL Reserve Team Which Will Compete in 2021 WPSL Season
The Women’s Premier Soccer League has devoted its efforts to making a vital impact in advancing women’s soccer and, in doing so, have reached over 130 active clubs ahead of its 23rd season – making it the largest women’s soccer league in the world.
After a monumental rebrand was unveiled on April 6, 2021, Sky Blue FC of the National Women’s Soccer League became NJ/NY Gotham FC in efforts to connect the New Jersey and New York soccer community and better serve the growing audience and diversity that currently represents the club’s fanbase.
A week later, in collaboration with local New York City club, NJ/NY Gotham FC and Downtown United Soccer Club (DUSC) unveiled a partnership that will create a reserve team in the WPSL. The WPSL team will operate under the name NJ/NY Gotham Reserves.
“Having the opportunity to extend our reach within the women’s game and develop a pipeline of talent towards the pro team is an important step for us as a club,” Alyse LaHue, NJ/NY Gotham FC general manager, said.
DUSC is the most comprehensive youth soccer club in NYC, serving approximately 5,000 participants annually. Founded in 1982, DUSC offers a Soccer For All approach to programming for ages 3-23 through its recreation leagues, camps, classes, and its Travel Academy program. The girls program at DUSC is committed to elevating girls and women’s leadership, along with diversity in NYC, and is proud to be one of the few programs that have women in leadership roles across the board.
“Collaborating with DUSC on this endeavor extends our reach and resources to be able to provide the best experience possible to players within the club,” LaHue continued. “This project also provides us further extension into New York City, where we’ve had a tremendous fan base and support over the years.”
The NJ/NY Gotham Reserves coaching staff will be composed of both representatives of NJ/NY Gotham FC and DUSC respectively. Becki Tweed, current NJ/NY Gotham FC Assistant Coach, and Eleri Earnshaw, DUSC Girls Academy Coach, will serve as Co-Head Coaches of the Reserves squad.
“We’re excited to be working with NJ/NY Gotham FC in this venture as it’s a huge step for our girls and women’s program at DUSC,” Leanne Campbell, DUSC technical director of NJ/NY Gotham Reserves, said.
“A WPSL team shows how dedicated DUSC is to growing the women’s game in NYC and offering our youth players a clear pathway towards the professional game – something that’s been missing for a long time in the greater NYC area.”
This is not the first connection the WPSL has with the NWSL as the league has seen tremendous success from NWSL reserve teams.
“We are very excited to have another NWSL reserve team joining the WPSL”Sean Jones, Women’s Premier Soccer League President
The Chicago Red Stars currently have a reserve team in the WPSL and since their first season, in 2011, the Red Stars Reserves have accumulated a 68-5-8 record with four undefeated seasons. They have made six WPSL Playoff appearances and made the WPSL Finals twice. They became WPSL Champions in 2015.
The Washington Spirit (2016-2018), and former NWSL clubs, Utah Royals FC (2019) and Boston Breakers (2014-2017), have all had reserve teams in the WPSL as well and have a combined record of 58-3-3 between the three clubs.
“Downtown United’s partnership with NJ/NY Gotham FC of the NWSL will further cement the relationship between the WPSL and the NWSL by having another strong WPSL club affiliated with a top NWSL organization,” Jones continued.
There are 98 former WPSL players currently playing in the NWSL Challenge Cup that kicked over the weekend – 64 of those alumnae played in the last three WPSL seasons. There were 85 WPSL alumnae selected over the last four NWSL College Drafts, including 21 in the 2021 Draft.
“Their commitment to the women’s game will further continue the WPSL’s vision to provide a platform for young women to play at the highest level and follow their dreams of playing professional soccer.”Sean Jones
The Gotham Reserves’ season will kick off in the latter part of May and run through mid-July. All home games will be played at Randall’s Island in NYC. Fans will be able to attend three limited capacity home games in early summer. Tickets to be announced as the season nears.
More information about NJ/NY Gotham FC Reserves can be found at their website www.dusc.net/gothamreserves as well as on their social media platforms @gothamreserves. For additional information on the WPSL visit wpslsoccer.com.