Iowa Raptors FC adds a women’s soccer team to its fold
Will play exhibition schedule in 2021
Iowa Raptors FC
CEDAR RAPIDS – The club has gotten bigger.
Iowa Raptors FC has announced that there will be a women’s team for the 2021 outdoor season.
The team already has a head coach in Curt Lewis who coaches the Cedar Rapids Prairie boys’ soccer team. It has two players so far in Abigail Santana, a Linn-Mar graduate who plays at Creighton University and Regan Steigleder, an Iowa City West graduate who is a senior at Northwestern.
“We have always been interested in a women’s team. We just didn’t think it was going to happen as soon as possible, ”said Gordy Gurson, general manager of Raptors. “We think there is a lot of talent on the women’s side in Iowa, and there’s not really any higher level for women when they get to college or anything.
“We thought it would be good for them to have the opportunity to play in a national scene in our region.”
Gurson said he has some connections that he would like to use to bring players here. The Raptors conduct player trials by invitation only.
This season will only be an exhibition and will start sometime in May. Gurson said the Raptors FC women’s team will join either the United Women’s Soccer League or the Women’s Premier Soccer League at some point.
The UWS has clubs in the Midwest from places like St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago and Peoria, Illinois. The WPSL has regional clubs in places like Chicago, Green Bay, Milwaukee, and the state of Minnesota.
“We evaluate both leagues and also get exhibition games against teams from every league,” said Gurson. “To see how (these teams) do things in their place. We know we run things fairly professionally so it’s good to join one of these leagues and get things moving. “
The Iowa Raptors FC men’s team is in their sophomore year and has a new head coach in Jose Michel Fajardo. He’s the chief women’s soccer coach at Cornell College and had a successful high school run on the boys’ side with Iowa City High.
The Raptors have moved their league to the United Premier Soccer League. Their season begins with a home game on May 1 against Mad City of Madison, Wisconsin, at Prairie High School.
Prairie will also host the Raptors women’s team. Gurson said his club’s goal is to eventually create an indoor soccer team in Cedar Rapids.
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