From NPSL report / Gary Moody
National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) is proud to announce that the Pittsburgh Hotspurs (Pittsburgh, PA) have joined the league as an expansion team. The club will begin competition in the Midwest Region’s East Conference in 2019.
This addition to the NPSL, announced less then three months before the start of the 2019 NPSL season, helps fill a void left in the Pittsburgh-area for a team at this level (US Soccer Pyramid’s fourth division) after PA West sponsored Fort Pitt Regiment announced in January it would be ending a four-season run from 2014-2018.
“The Pittsburgh area is home to one of the top soccer markets in the entire country,” NPSL Managing Director Cindy Spera said. “We are excited for the NPSL to have a strong presence there thanks to the Pittsburgh Hotspurs. We are confident that this club will have great success on and off the pitch this season.”
The Pittsburgh Hotspurs began in Sewickley, PA in 1988. As the first club in Pittsburgh to launch youth teams, they were one of the founding members of the PA West Classic League. Through the early 2000s, the club restructured to form a true club culture and become a consistent program at all age levels in the Pittsburgh area.
The Pittsburgh Hotspurs are led by Club Director Tom Ovenden, Head Coach Tom Campbell, and Marketing & Operations Director Marikaye DeTemple.
“We want to enter this league and create something special for our youth team players to aspire to, while also influencing as many youth programs as possible to start adult teams to further the league’s growth in and around the Pittsburgh area,” Ovenden commented. “Our goal is to provide a team which is at least 50% homegrown talent by the year 2023.”
Ovenden has helped the club grow to 450 players in the span of just three years. The club’s growth is attributed to its innovative practices, developing players differently than all of the other programs in the area.
“We are a progressive club and the fastest growing competitive club in PA West,” Ovenden added. “We hope to use this entry to the league to showcase a brand of football that is exciting and attacking — not forgetting that the sport was created to entertain. We strive to constantly evolve and drive the game forward in the Pittsburgh area with competitive team programs as well as through community-based development centers offered to athletes of all skill levels. Through our joining the league and conference we’re able to bring our style of play to an even larger soccer community — which will help us all shift the game forward both in Pittsburgh and in the United States.”
Leading the team in its inaugural season is Campbell, a coach with a UEFA “B” license, who is currently earning a degree in football coaching through the University of South Wales. Campbell, who moved to the Pittsburgh area in 2013, is a Manchester, England native with nearly 10 years of coaching experience.
“I’ve focused my career on this game that I love, so to take this next step in leading the Pittsburgh Hotspurs men’s team in the NPSL is a great opportunity that I’m honored to take on,” Campbell noted. “I have high expectations of the team we’ll field — the style of play, the level of competition in this first year, and, overall, how they represent the city.”
DeTemple, a soccer coach herself, has nearly 10 years of experience in marketing and business management.
Home matches during the 2019 NPSL season will be played at the Ellis School in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, the same as WPSL side Steel City FC.
More information about the club can be found at www.hotspurs-soccer.com or by following the club on Facebook (@hotspurssoccerclub), Instagram (@pittsburghhotspurs), and Twitter (@HotspursClub).
“The league is thrilled to be keeping a presence in the Pittsburgh market and we look forward to working with the Pittsburgh Hotspurs,” NPSL Director of Membership Development Dina Case concluded. “Keeping a presence in Pittsburgh was important to the league and a lot of hard work occurred behind the scenes to make this happen. This new organization will provide both stability to the East Conference and help to maintain a bridge to expanding the East Conference’s geographical footprint.”