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FC Tucson Women ready to start season

Salpointe coach & former FC Tucson player Pierce embraces new soccer challenge

A couple of platoons of local women soccer players displayed their skills at Kino Sports Complex on Saturday. They were trying out for FC Tucson's women's side.

Although FC Tucson's men's team has been competing for well over a month, the Women's Premier Soccer League's Desert Division doesn't start play until this coming Saturday, when Las Vegas-based Players FC plays against Albuquerque Sol SC. FC Tucson's first game will be on June 1 against Sol SC.

The team has played since 2013 (originally under the name TSA FC) and one figure that's been associated with the team almost constantly since its inception is Kelly Pierce. Pierce's soccer legacy in Tucson goes back to her time at Pima College and one of Tucson's earlier women's clubs, Sonoran Thunder. She's spent the last couple of years as a decorated coach of Salpointe Catholic's women's side, and now she's taking on the challenge of coaching FC Tucson. She's taking over from Amy Garelick, the only coach the team has known.

"It was super humbling. I have big shoes to fill," she said. "I'm looking forward to it... I haven't had much time to prepare for it, so it's been an adventure for me."

Coaching in the WPSL shares a lot of challenges with coaching the FC Tucson men's side before it became professional. One of the roles the team serves is a place for college players to play during the summer, but it can make organizing a team a challenge.

"It's a completely different dynamic," she said. "These girls are coming in and out. They have other commitments to their colleges and have to go out and train...we are trying to plan and prepare but things don't always go the right way."

She's anticipating up to 15 players from colleges in the region, including University of Texas El Paso and University of New Mexico. There are not yet and University of Arizona players committed to the team, but the team has had its share in the past.

In addition, the team has always had a few ex-pros with local ties. Former Boston Breakers and University of Arizona standout Analisa Marquez and FC Honka and Catalina Foothills star Sam Monahan have made the roster before. This year, UA Wildcat Mykaylin Rosenquist, who played against Barcelona's women's side in the knockout round of the UEFA Women's Champions League last September, will be playing for the side. Laura Pimienta and Karina Camacho will also be returning to the team.

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Fitness et cetera

The tryout was broken up into three pieces. There were tests for fitness, small-sided games to test things like passing and touch and one large game with all of the players who showed up.

Tryouts like this can be a challenge for a player. You want to be noticed, but you also have to show how well you can interact with the group.

"I think that it's most important to show how you will work with other players on the field," said Maury Urcadez, a former Pima College midfielder who played on the team last year and is hoping to break into the line up this year. "You have to show them that they can trust you. It's a hard balance. They had did a good job of dividing it up."

Urcadez has also been a teammate of Pierce, she is now as a matter of fact for an indoor team. She is eager to play under her as coach.

"She knows the game; she loves the game," she said. "It isn't going to be that hard for the girls to buy into her game. The players respect her."

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FC Tucson Women’s Schedule

Home matches at Kino in bold

  • June 1, 7:30 pm: vs. Albuquerque Sol FC
  • June 7, 7:30 pm: vs. Players SC
  • June 9, 1:30 pm: at Albuquerque Sol FC
  • June 14, 7 pm: at Phoenix Del Sol
  • June 16, 7 pm: at FC Arizona
  • June 21, 7:30 pm: vs. FC Arizona
  • June 29, 10 am: at Players SC
  • July 2, 7:30 pm: vs. Phoenix del Sol