Lindsey DeLorenze Feature On the Growth Of Women’s Soccer
The growth of women’s soccer — and the hard work of the WPSL — has provided our future female athletes with the ability to continue playing beyond their college years. With over 110 teams preparing for the 2017 season, former and aspiring professional players are set to take the field next month as the new WPSL season kicks off.
In our latest WPSL feature, SoccerToday spoke with Lindsey DeLorenze, Oak City United Owner, on the future of women’s soccer and her inspiration for growing the game.
WPSL Soccer News: The Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) is gearing up for another great year of amateur soccer across the United States. Accompanying the growth of women’s soccer has welcomed leadership that focuses on developing role models to inspire our future generations.
Oak City United Owner Lindsey DeLorenze is dedicated to growing the women’s game in North Carolina. Her initial experience in the WPSL began as a player, but following her return home from graduate school, DeLorenze directed her passion to developing young girls who will be leaders in the future.
SoccerToday spoke with DeLorenze on her experience in the WPSL and the importance of providing leadership for young female players.
Diane Scavuzzo: As one of the few women owners of a WPSL team, how did you first get involved in soccer?
Lindsey DeLorenze: I first started playing soccer at age 6 when my family relocated from New York to North Carolina.
Once I started soccer, I fell in love with the game.
My older sister played as well, and we had a fun and competitive rivalry in the backyard playing against each other for hours growing up. The love for the game grew from there and never stopped.
I first started behind the scenes in North Carolina after playing in the WPSL’s Florida team, The Surge. I was in the process of getting my Master’s degree in Health and Fitness Business Management and working at Lifetime Fitness, but still felt something was missing — I knew I missed playing competitive soccer.
To my surprise, I realized there wasn’t a team in NC.
I started inquiring about the process with my friend Kelly Sisley, who started and managed the Florida Surge. She was a significant help in guiding and connecting me with Jerry Zanelli — the Commissioner of the WPSL.
From there, it evolved into starting my own team — Oak City United — becoming Carolina Regional Commissioner and helping to recruit and grow the region.
Diane Scavuzzo: How has soccer changed for you?
Lindsey DeLorenze: Since I became involved in a managerial position, soccer has become much more complex for me. There are many moving pieces as a manager, that as a player you just don’t realize.
I have a new found appreciation for my coaches and the managers who are running teams, leagues and organizations.
Diane Scavuzzo: What influences you?
Lindsey DeLorenze: What influences me is the desire to make the biggest positive ripple effect I can in this world.
Specifically, in the soccer, health and fitness community.
Soccer and fitness were such huge and impactful parts of my life, and I want to be able to give back to communities that did so much to shape me.
Diane Scavuzzo: What about you surprises people the most?
Lindsey DeLorenze: What surprises people the most are my passion and drive — and perhaps my resourcefulness.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you think is the most challenging or infuriating thing about working as a woman in soccer?
Lindsey DeLorenze: I would say the aspects most challenging in working as a woman in soccer are dealing with egos and the lack of other woman in managerial and coaching positions, especially in regards to women’s soccer.
The WPSL does a great job in encouraging women to take on leadership roles — but that is not always the case in the soccer community.
Diane Scavuzzo: What can be done to encourage more women to be involved in soccer?
Lindsey DeLorenze: Women and men, alike, encouraging women and affording them opportunities to step into influential roles in the soccer community.
It just takes one person to believe in someone and give them the confidence to go after a leadership position, or create one themselves. Also, I think it is important for young girls to see women in influential positions, it lets them know that they can also reach higher than they imagined.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are your goals for the 2017 WPSL season?
Lindsey DeLorenze: My goals for the 2017 WPSL season is to continue to grow a strong, fun and competitive culture for Oak City United and Carolina’s region. To empower these young women through the sport they love.
Photo credit: Scott Lloyd Photography