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A Unified Badge: Pittsburgh’s NPSL and UWS teams to rebrand as Steel City FC

Steel City FC
Steel City FC will be back. Pictured here are the original women's Steel City FC squad competing in 2019. Photo courtesy Rachael Kriger

The Pittsburgh Hotspurs and Arsenal FC of Pittsburgh soccer organizations have been doing a lot of collaborating in the past few years, as they’ve worked to build a stronger pathway for soccer players of all levels.

Now, they’ll be coming together under one badge, as the Men’s and Women’s First teams will play as Steel City FC ahead of the summer 2023 season.

This also marks the return of the Steel City FC name, which was the original Women’s team founded in 2015 by Stephanie Harrison and Jordan Daloisio.

The Hotspurs merged with the former Steel City FC, acquiring the name, in 2019.

Now, they’ve come full circle.

“We’re thrilled to bring back such a recognized and strong tie to the Pittsburgh area,” Tom Ovenden, current Pittsburgh Hotspurs Club director and Women’s First Team Head Coach, said.

“The name embodies what the city was founded on, and is a great representation of our work to push the game forward together.”

“When we began the collaboration with regional training, we knew the options to continue to raise the level of Pittsburgh soccer – defining and evolving a pathway that would give Pittsburgh players the greatest opportunity to reach their goals was best accomplished together,” Jon Velotta, Arsenal FC of Pittsburgh Executive Director, said.

“That’s only been strengthened as we have continued our partnership.”

The First Team programs began in 2019 on the Men’s side with the entry into the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). The team has since advanced to the playoffs the past two seasons. On the Women’s side, after launching during the 2020 season impacted by the pandemic, will be entering into its 2nd season now in the United Women’s Soccer league (UWS).

Both teams have been a hub for Pittsburgh-grown talent:

  • Women’s 2022 First Team, competing in the UWS:

    • 39 of 48 players were Pittsburgh-area players.

    • 11 players were still in high school or had just graduated.

    • 13 players were Hotspurs/Arsenal homegrown talents.

  • Men’s 2022 First Team, competing in the NPSL:

    • 32 of 43 players were Pittsburgh-area players.

    • 10 players were in high school or had just graduated.

    • 15 total homegrown players coming from the Arsenal/Hotspurs academies.

At the Academy level in the 2022/23 season, the two clubs began competing together in the Elite 64, the US Youth National League for the girls, and the Club vs. Club US Youth Soccer league for the boys.

“It’s great seeing the resources and staff from each of the sites working together to identify top talent to compete against the highest level of competition from U13 on up,” said Ovenden. “The Pittsburgh-area talent is obvious, and we’ve developed a path to bring those players together and raise the level.”

Velotta added: “From Youth to the First Teams – the combined level we’re seeing these players compete and train at, and the aligned model and ability to play within our Steel City FC model, that’s what the collaboration is all about.”

Following the Men’s and Women’s summer 2023 seasons, the collaboration and partnership will see academy (U8-U19) teams also competing under the crest in the 2023-2024 season.

Past Hotspurs / Steel City FC Coverage on PSN

Pittsburgh Hotspurs capture NPSL’s Members Cup

Aspiring for a Higher Ceiling: Hotspurs Women’s First team buzzing about competing in UWS beginning in 2022

Riding momentum from strong regular season, Pittsburgh Hotspurs turn focus to NPSL playoffs

Photo Gallery: Pittsburgh Hotspurs fall short in top-of-table battle with Cleveland SC

Photo Gallery: Century United, Pittsburgh Hotspurs play to 1-1 draw to put wraps on WPSL season

Despite challenges, Steel City FC post winning record

Ovenden wraps up Steel City FC’s valiant season

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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