HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Bridgewater College sophomore soccer standout Emily York has secured a spot for the summer on the North Alabama SC team, an expansion franchise in the Women's Premiere Soccer League (WPSL).
York's younger brother plays soccer in Huntsville and her mom saw a notice for tryouts for the new WPSL team. "Coach (Van Horn) wants us training in the offseason and I thought this might be a good opportunity to train and play at a high level. I thought I would give it a try and see what would happen," York said.
More than 60 players participated in the two-day tryout at the Merrimack Soccer Complex in Huntsville. York was one of 33 participants selected for the team.
"I was pretty confident following the tryouts that I would get a spot," York said as she prepares for the club's first game on Friday. "The coach likes to play a possession game so we did a lot of possession drills and then we played. I played well and I gave a lot of effort. I think I kept up with the speed of play pretty well. The pace was a lot faster, but I adapted quickly."
The WPSL, now entering its 22nd season, strives to provide the highest level of developmental opportunities for amateur players in the United States. The WPSL has grown to more than 100 clubs and is the largest women's soccer league in the world. Team rosters consist of highly skilled players from collegiate, post-collegiate, international and standout prep athletes. Many of the United States' most accomplished women's players have played in the WPSL, including household names such as Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, Megan Rapinoe, Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain.
The WPSL has clubs in 40 of the 43 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. 33 of the 50 states are represented with two additional states committed for the 2019 season. It also has Canadian clubs based in Vancouver and Victoria.
York turned in a solid season in her first year at Bridgewater College. She played in all 21 matches for the Eagles this past fall and ranked fifth on the team in scoring with 15 points on five goals and five assists.
The Eagles' sophomore is looking forward to the summer experience and coming back for the fall season as an improved player.
"No doubt this is going to help me going forward," said York. "Getting the opportunity to play with and against good players can only make you better. The speed of play is going to be faster and that's going to help me play at a faster pace when I return to Bridgewater. I think playing here will help me recognize plays and runs a lot faster. I'll also get to work on my touches and I'll get to keep my fitness up. I should be even more fit when I get back to school. This experience should elevate my game and help me play at a higher lever for extended periods of time."
North Alabama SC will play its home matches at John Hunt Park Championship Soccer Stadium in Huntsville. The venue has 1,000 permanent seats, providing an intimate home atmosphere. The regular season will run through the end of June with playoffs to follow.
The WPSL is sanctioned by the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA), which is an affiliate of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), the ruling body of soccer in the United States.