San Diego, CA -San Diego SeaLions head coach Lu Snyder momentarily turns away from the field and the players running a series of mid-practice "120s" - also known as 120-yard sprints.
"At our first practices in 1988 nobody had any idea that we'd someday be starting our 31st season in a league, the WPSL, that exceeds 100 teams across the USA," she says. "But here we are, 3 national championships and a million memories later!"
Indeed, the SeaLions (0-0) travel to Mission Bay High School Stadium this Saturday, at 4:00 pm, to face ASC Women (0-2) in a San Diego Derby match to open their 31st season. ASC a new team that's part of local-giant youth soccer club Albion.
"We've always been determined to remain an independent club, so that we can be the team for all of San Diego, and to be a model for all women who want to get into soccer from anywhere, whether as a player, coach, manager, business executive, anything," Snyder adds. "None of that is easy, as last season's won-loss record showed, but that record belies the fact that we played really well in every game, given that we'd unexpectedly lost a couple key players."
After good showings in preseason matches against UCSD, the SeaLions will open 2019 WPSL play with a mix of veterans and rookies, including captains Rosie Tantillo-Colon (FC Gold Pride/USC) and Leigh Ann Brown (FC Kansas City/USC) who were both sidelined in 2018, and last season's leading scorers Morgan Addis (Villanova), McKenna Marmelstein (Biola), Cori Deason (PLNU) and Lili Andino (UC Irvine) up front. Midfielder Cassie Callahan (UCSD) and defenders Rachel Sadowski (Lynchburg) and Christina Bragado (WKy), alongside talented newcomers Tara Meier (USD), another defender, and goalkeeper Maria Andreyev (Miramar), will anchor the SeaLions' midfield and defense.
"Our chemistry is good, especially this early in the season, and will only get better," continues Snyder. "We started earlier with practices and NXPT training sessions and we seem to be on the same page as to the team's strengths. We're ready to go!"
Then Snyder turns back towards the team, who were finishing their second-to-last 120. "OK, one more," she shouts. "Let's go!"
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The SeaLions are the oldest women's soccer club in the world, and a founding member of the WPSL. Updates and scores from the match will be streamed via the SeaLions' Facebook Page and the ScoreStream App. The SeaLions' home opener is next Saturday, June 1, at 7:30 p.m. at Cathedral High School's Manchester Stadium, and the first 2500 fans in attendance will receive a free 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup Bracket Wall Poster! Discounted Season Tickets are available now online at http://www.sealionsoccer.com/tickets/!