The Women’s Premier Soccer League has announced its conference alignments for the 2020 season with FC Dallas no longer part of the second tier of women’s soccer.
No comment has been given by FC Dallas yet as to why the team will not compete in 2020, or if it will be back in 2021.
FCD initially fielded a team in 2011, before taking a hiatus that lasted until 2016 when Ben Waldrum took over the side having coached with the Trinidad & Tobago Women’s National Team and the University of Notre Dame. Using his connections from the T&T national setup as well as his father Randy – then head coach of NWSL’s Houston Dash – Waldrum assembled a team that dominated conference play and was immediately competitive on the national level.
Players like Chestley Strother (now of Utah Royals) and Kennya “Yaya” Cordner (ex-Seattle Reign; led the nation in scoring for FC Dallas) were complemented by players who had come through clubs like FC Dallas, Sting, Solar, and Texans. The team held friendlies with the Houston Dash and Tigres, the former attracting over 2,000 fans.
While the team was FC Dallas in name, playing in old hand-me-down kits from the ECNL teams and featuring FC Dallas youth coaches, the club gave little to no support to the WPSL venture in its early stages. The coaches worked voluntarily outside of their FCD duties, volunteers raised money to pay the expenses and helped find housing for the international players. After the team found a sponsor to help ease the burden, FC Dallas billed the team for use of Dr. Pink Field as a separate organization.
Waldrum left FC Dallas in 2018 to join his father’s staff at the University of Pittsburgh, and another FC Dallas coach – Tyler Powell – took the reins. The make-up of the team evolved to a more natural progression of the fledgling Girls’ Developmental Academy that US Soccer had launched to rival the ECNL. What had become a largely independent team was formally readmitted to the FC Dallas fold with kits and use of facilities provided.
Julie James Doyle and Katie Lund both signed for NWSL teams immediately after playing for FC Dallas. Kaycie Tillman was also drafted but instead signed for PSV Eindhoven. Chelsee Washington recently became the third FCD WPSL player to be drafted by an NWSL team in two years. Madison Haley recently won a second College Cup with Stanford while being named to the US Women’s National Team by new coach, Vlatko Andonovski. The FC Dallas team had become a stepping stone on the way to professional women’s soccer and a natural extension to the USSDA program.
An increasingly competitive Red River North Division stays largely the same. Oklahoma’s two entrants – Oklahoma City FC and Tulsa SC – are joined by Texas Spurs, SouthStar FC, and a new club that is presently called Dallas/Fort Worth U-23.
The new team does not appear to be related to FC Dallas but could be a destination for former FC Dallas players. FC Dallas head coach Tyler Powell confirmed that he is not involved.
Texas Spurs is coached by former Dallas Burn player Ed Puskarich, while SouthStar FC has its own FC Dallas connection. The team is coached by Susan Quill, a former USWNT striker, and wife of North Texas SC coach Eric Quill.
We are attempting to find out more about both the apparent demise of the FC Dallas WPSL program as well as the new U-23 team that will take a place in the 2020 season, which is expected to begin in May.