By Richard Cawley

For the Review

As countless young women soccer players across the country viewed the U.S. Women’s 2-0 World Cup victory over the Netherlands recently, many had to be fantasizing that someday they might be playing on the world stage themselves. Scores of non-players will undoubtedly feel inspired to take up soccer having witnessed the amazing array of athletic skill and emotional grit they saw displayed on their TV screens. The parents who followed the U.S. team will envision an opportunity for physical growth and character development for their children.

The Roxborough United Soccer Club, which merged from  the Houston and Indians soccer organizations in 2016, has been providing this opportunity for personal and athletic development in our own backyard. These organizations have provided a field of dreams to young ladies in our community for nearly 50 years.

According to RUSC President Mike Rex, who coached the inaugural season for the U8 girls team in 2018, “the USWNT brings an enormous amount of national pride. But when you look at it from a young girl’s point-of -view, it does so much more. They see stories of women like Carli Lloyd and they recognize that she grew up just over the bridge in Delran, N.J. All of a sudden it hits home…that dream of playing soccer at the highest level is within reach. It’s a confidence boost and you begin looking for the nearest club that offers you a shot to do what your hero just did. For many of the girls in our neighborhood, that opportunity begins with the Roxborough United SC. “

Speaking of heroes, Rex’s daughter Juliana, idolizes striker Alex Morgan. Juliana’s teammate on the U8 squad, 7 year old Skylar Wawrzynek, is a big fan of Rose Lavelle. Skylar’s astute observation on the US team was that “they were spreading out wide, making passes, scoring goals. They played great ! I like the girl with the purple hair ( Megan Rapinoe) because she was herself out on the field. They all played together. I think I would get stage fright if I was in front of all those people, but they went out and got stuff done”.

Sophia Vertlieb, a member of the Rox United U12 team last fall, added another profound perspective. “Watching the World Cup has been very inspiring. I liked seeing the female athletes from all over the world playing together and supporting each other, even if they weren’t on the same team. They treated each other with respect.”

Sarah Scally, who also played for the U12 team in the fall can relate to the US women because, like her, they play hard on the field but know how to have a good time off the field. Her fan fave is Emily Sonnett.

Kim Wawrzynek, who helped coach the U8 team, shares that sentiment about teaching values beyond the playing field. She felt it was invaluable “to be able to use the USWNT as a backdrop for team work, hard work, and sportsmanship. It’s a real testament to how girls can do amazing things together and I feel proud to love this sport.”

Coach Jeff Mitchell, who along with Mike Rex and Phila Union Youth GM David Pettican, were the catalysts in fostering a partnership with the Phila Union and Rox United, shares the US women’s sentiment that they should be on equal footing with the men’s game. “The boys in this world are never at a loss to see athletes that look like them on TV. It is a shame that the girls in the US have to wait every four years to see the same thing. Hopefully in the near future the National Women’s Soccer League will get the massive TV deal it deserves with ESPN so that our girls can see amazing women athletes on TV and in stadiums all across the US every Saturday”.  He added that he feels that soccer is “a beautiful game that brings the whole world together.”

Mitchell and the Rox United SC  will be hosting a group outing this Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium for the 7:30 Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire game. Anyone interested can get further information by emailing: rusc19128@ gmail.com.

Rox United and the Phila Union will also be hosting a soccer clinic during the week of Aug 12-16 from 9 to 12 at the Houston Playground.

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