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Steel City FC kick off 2018 season with split

Steel City FC has begun their 2018 Women’s Premier Soccer League season.

Founded in 2015 by Stephanie Harrison, Steel City FC is part of the new Ohio Valley Conference in the WPSL’s East Region. The Conference is one of the largest in the entire league, holding nine clubs.

The season officially kicked off for Steel City at the Ellis School in Pittsburgh against FC Pride, a club based in Indiana, on May 26.

Steel City FC took a 4-0 loss. Kelsey Yoder scored FC Pride’s first goal, Riley Henry had two goals and Miyah Watford scored the final tally.

Steel City FC started goalkeeper Jessica Neil of Seton Hill University, but then switched to Lauren Malcolm of St. Bonaventure University. Both goalkeepers gave up two goals in their respective halves.

After the match, Tom Campbell – who filled in as head coach with Tom Ovenden away — said the match started slow for Steel City FC.

“We were a bit disorganized, but we grew into the game after going 2-0,” Campbell said. “It was a tough, physical battle. It was quick and you had two physical, athletic teams. Going into halftime I was confident we could get back in it. The third was a little bit deflating for the girls out there for sure. They battled really hard and carried on, going all the way into the end. We nearly got the consolation for the hard work.

Despite starting their season with a loss, Steel City FC earned some confidence against Indy Saints FC this past weekend. The team rebounded for a 4-1 victory, their first of the season.

Jordan Daloisio scored the opening goal in the 2nd minute, while only four minutes later Tori Kopchak scored her first goal of the season. Two more first-half goals were scored by Amanda Miller and Taylor Cohen.

Indy Saints FC had their lone goal scored by Lesley Kiesling and assisted by Hanna Johnson. The goal was the first in history for the club.

Going forward, Campbell said he and the coaching staff are going to change the game plan to have the team “build out from the back.”

“It’s something we haven’t done in previous years,” Campbell said. “It’s going to be a learning curve for everyone, myself and Tommo [Ovenden] working in this new environment. We’ve seen moments where we saw some really good things happen.”

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Caitlin Schubert said that the key to winning is staying together as a team.

“We have to be ready to go when the whistle blows,” Schubert said. “We have to be ready to play all 90 minutes. We need to stay together as a team. And we need to put the ball in the back of the net.”

Schubert said that losing the first match was a “good measure” of things to work on.

“We saw some things we need to work on as a group,” Schubert said. “I’m proud nobody gave up. We stayed positive and we stayed unified as a team. It’s hard to play sometimes when there’s a really big hole to dig yourself out of. We never stopped and never worried about that. We just tried to get better as the game went on — and we did.”

Meanwhile, Campbell said the players, while still getting to know each other, are invested in what the coaching staff is trying to do.

“The players are getting to know each other,” Campbell said. “That understanding will grow as we go through the year. We’re looking at this being a long-term project, not just eight weeks when the season is over.”

“We’ll continue to build and continue to go as we go through that.”

What’s Next?

Steel City FC will take on AAFC Lumberjills at Concordia University on June 9 at 6 p.m. ET. Another away match will follow the next day at Stoney Creek High School against Motor City FC. That match will begin at 1 p.m. ET.

Steel City FC returns to Pennsylvania for a match at Edinboro University on June 15 against the Cleveland Ambassadors. The match will begin at 8:30 p.m. ET.

The sport of soccer is Rachael Kriger's area of expertise. Kriger covers Steel City FC for Pittsburgh Soccer Now and provides various columns, with occasional work with Pitt Women's Soccer. Elsewhere, Kriger is the co-managing editor of Last Word on Soccer and the social media coordinator and lead Liga MX Femenil writer for Equalizer Soccer. She is a member of the official NWSL Media Association and the North American Soccer Reporters, serving as the NASR's Vice President after two years in the role of Communications Director.

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