For the last two seasons, I’ve had the pleasure of covering the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
The second-division soccer team was a dream for me to cover during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. As many of you know, I cover the Pittsburgh Steelers as well for Pittsburgh Sports Castle.
But my true passion is the real football — the one you play with your actual feet.
Now, I get to expand that passion at Pittsburgh Sports Castle.
We’re proud to announce that starting this upcoming season, Pittsburgh Sports Castle will provide coverage on Steel City FC, the amateur club that competes in the Women’s Premier Soccer League.
Just like the Riverhounds, they are the second division in their respective league.
Above the Pittsburgh Riverhounds’ United Soccer League is Major League Soccer. Above the WPSL is the National Women’s Soccer League.
The WPSL is home to 112 teams in four different regions. However, there are 17 divisions within the regions.
Steel City FC belongs in the Great Lakes Division with the Cleveland Ambassadors, Indy Saints FC and Motor City FC. Their division is housed in the WPSL Central Region, which includes the Heartland Division, Southwest North Division, Southwest South Division and Valley Division.
It’s a lot of divisions to process, but that’s what soccer is all about!
The head coach of the team is Tom Ovenden, who was hired this past offseason. In a statement to the club, Ovenden said he wants the game to “be played as simply as possible, with purpose and high energy both on the ball and off it.”
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of working with the players at Steel City FC,” Ovenden said. “To coach players who are either at college currently, or have recently graduated, is a challenge I have been working towards and I’m ready for.”
“We will move the ball quickly and have a very clear style where we go forward,” Ovenden said, referring to his game plan. “We will look between lines as soon as possible, but only if we can remain controlled in doing so. I hope to bring a style to our play where teams will come to Pittsburgh knowing they will have a game on their hands and play to the strengths of the players we have.”
Ovenden is aware that the team is the second division, and hopes the players that he coaches will make it to the next level. His main concern is the development of his team.
“It will also be important for me to judge my impact by how we improve the players we have individually, for when they return to their respective colleges, player development is constantly at the forefront of my mind,” Ovenden said.
Steel City FC recently held tryouts to join their club on Jan. 7.
The founder of Steel City FC is Stephanie Harrison. She also serves as an assistant coach and studying for her doctorate degree in psychology at Chatham University.
Her playing career included captaining Clarion University’s soccer team, where she spent her undergraduate at.
Jess Falvo, who has also attended Clarion University and California University of Pennsylvania, is the team’s athletic trainer. She will be entering her third season.
Women’s soccer is on the rise in the United States. The team formed in 2014, right before the United States Women’s National Team won the 2015 FIFA World Cup in Canada.
Now, we’re approaching another World Cup, occurring in the summer of 2019.
The hype around Pittsburgh for the last World Cup was evident, especially with Meghan Klingenberg on the U.S. roster. Should Klingenberg make the roster again or not, Pittsburgh’s passion for soccer is rising — especially in the women’s game.
Because of that, we’re proud to add Steel City FC to our coverage.
I look forward to covering the team!
Stay tuned for more coverage, Pittsburgh sports fans!
Follow @RachaelMcKriger for all Pittsburgh Steelers, Riverhounds and Steel City FC coverage.