The National Women
by Rachael Caldwell
While the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is getting ready for its first season, there are other women’s
soccer teams across the US preparing for their very own season as well. One such team is The Nationals Women, an exhibition team based out of Austin, Texas.
Founded just this year, the Nationals Women aren’t part of any league, but they still hold the same goals as many professional women’s soccer squads: to be the best in the country and to spread and promote women’s soccer across the nation. The team is currently in the middle of a two-week tryout, with more than 50 players attending, to select the players that will join Head Coach Mark Carr. Coach Carr has worked with the U14 girls US National Team, was the head coach at San Francisco, an assistant at UCLA and is currently a scout for US Soccer since 2011. The Nationals will have a roster of 17 to 20 players, and anticipate adding a reserve squad in 2014.
The tryouts have seen players from all over the country, which team Captain Kelsey Hood says “is definitely stepping up the competition.” Hood, 2008 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for the University of Minnesota and former member of the WPSL’s New England Mutiny, also says that the opportunity to play for an exhibition team has been an amazing experience, and added that
“all I have ever wanted as a player is to practice every day with quality players and train with coaches that will make me a better player. I feel this environment is perfect for that growth.”
After tryouts, the team will take on some of the top college programs in the nation during its Spring College tour. The team will play against Arizona State, Brigham Young and Oklahoma among others. The Nationals’ home field will be the 14 acres recently purchased by the team’s founder, Anna Villarreal. There are plans to add a live music stage and food truck concessions at the location.
Players who make the National’s squad will be trying to do more than win games. They will make appearances in Austin for some of the Nationals’ community events and serve as coaches in the soccer community. After they finish their Spring College tour, the team hopes to host both professional and national teams during the summer and fall season.
Villarreal says the Nationals will have to wait to see if they join the new pro league, but “regardless of league affiliation, we will continue to support all women’s soccer in hopes to unite and promote women’s soccer.”
Make sure to keep up with the team by following them on twitter at @Nationalssoccer or visit their website at thenationalwomen.com. Also keep reading Our Game Magazine, as I’ll be following up with the team later this season.
Rachael Caldwell will be graduating from the University of Arkansas in 2015 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and minors in Spanish and Business Management. Rachael played soccer from when she was three until her senior year of high school, where she was the captain of her state championship winning team. While she only plays pick up now, she still passionately follows the game and was contacted by Our Game Magazine via Twitter in 2013. Rachael looks forward to writing more for OGM and also writes about women's soccer on her own blog: rachaelfc.wordpress.com.