FC Tucson holds tryouts; looks for improved performance
Many key players are returning, but team looks for something extra up top
FC Tucson’s women’s side held open tryouts on Mother’s Day this year. The local soccer team is hoping to have a better season than last year, when a series of draws and narrow losses toward the end left them out of the playoffs.
Returning defender Laura Pimienta is blunt about what the trouble was last season.
“I don’t think we had a very strong offense… two years ago we had Luz (Duarte) up to and she would just make it happen, right?” she said. “Last year, I feel like we didn’t have that kind of player.”
Duarte is currently plying her trade with Mexican side Pumas and has been getting call-ups to the Mexican national team. Needless to say, she is not available. The team expects Naija Bruckner and Ashly Martinez, both young attacking players, to return with a bit more experience this year. Bruckner was a walk-on freshman at Rice University this last season, seeing some time on the field and recording an assist.
The team will be playing in the Women’s Premier Soccer League’s Desert Division again with a change here and there. Atomic City withdrew from the competition, but Royals AZ, an affiliate of National Women’s Soccer League side Utah Royals, will take the field this year.
Teams coming and going is typical of the league, but so are players coming and going as they come back from and return to collegiate play.
“The fluctuating roster is always a challenge but it gives other players an opportunity to step up and get minutes,” said coach Kelly Pierce. “It is crucial for us to manage the game better. We have a lot leadership and older players that are experienced and hopefully that translates on the field.”
“Hopefully some lessons learned,” Pierce added. “I have some PTSD from that. I know some players were upset and they talk about it. Hopefully, that won’t be the case this year.”
The team opens their season at home against El Paso Surf on June 2. The team opened their home season last year against the Surf, with Bruckner scoring off of an assist from Martinez.