FC Surge’s Marge Perry on the Growth of the Women’s Game
The 2017 WPSL season is gearing up for another successful summer season as the growth of women’s soccer in the United States continues to pave the pathway for our future generations.
In GoalNation’s latest highlight series of the WPSL, we spoke with FC Surge General Manager Marge Perry — WPSL Regional Commissioner Sunshine — on her experience in the game and what steps should be taken for the inclusion of more women in soccer. Perry is a great example of a woman who has consistently given back to the game of soccer and has made a difference in the lives of so many.
WPSL Soccer News: FC Surge was founded in January of 2013 by four players; CEO Rochelle Wimbush (Canadian YNT and Princeton University, now a successful attorney and new mom), VP April Perry (FIU Captain and Application Analyst), VP Elanna Brady (Barry University, Personal Trainer), VP Alexis Hernandez (Nova Southeastern University & Iceland Professional team Þróttur Reykjavik, Hospitality Industry) as well as General Manager Marge Perry.
The girls first met in 2008 while playing for former WPSL team Miami Kickers. After the team folded, they moved on together to the South Florida Strikers in 2012.
When the Strikers were unable to continue, the girls started their own team and Perry took on the role as general manager was able to become their administrator due to her long term youth soccer participation. Perry also serves as WPSL Sunshine Regional Commissioner & South Division Coordinator.
GoalNation spoke with Perry on her experience in the growing WPSL and her drive for developing the women’s game along the way.
Diane Scavuzzo: Why play in the WPSL?
Marge Perry: The WPSL is the highest level of amateur Women’s Soccer in the USA. We wanted our players to have that quality level experience during and after college and as a stepping stone for further professional pursuits.
Diane Scavuzzo: How did you first get involved in soccer?
Marge Perry: I was the ultimate “Soccer Mom” and for over 13 years, I helped run two youth soccer programs while my 3 children — who are now adults — were playing.
Diane Scavuzzo: How has soccer changed, if it has, since you became involved?
Marge Perry: Youth soccer has grown tremendously from my first introduction in 1995.
Girls’ soccer teams were only a fraction of each youth clubs back when I started, now they almost equal or exceed the boys.
Although the USWNT has succeeded the women’s professional side had floundered through three professional women’s soccer leagues. Hopefully, this being the 4th year for the NWSL — the Women’s Professional League — it can continue to grow and flourish.
The WPSL has significantly expanded and thrived during my time with the organization.
Diane Scavuzzo: What inspires you to work in women’s soccer?
Marge Perry: I am always impressed by the female players we attract. The team changes, season to season, as the girls move through high school to college to their ultimate post grad lives and it’s the passion and drive they have that is so inspiring to watch. I am honored to be part of their maturing adulthood journey.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are you most proud of?
Marge Perry: I am so proud that we put together this team on a shoestring and have kept it alive and vital for the past four years. It is a very time consuming and costly enterprise and we have stuck together to make it work. Two of our founding members have now had babies and all four are such successful female role models.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you think is the most challenging or infuriating about working as a woman in the world of soccer?
Marge Perry: There is still gender bias.
The local men’s soccer teams garner fans and sponsors much easier.
Diane Scavuzzo: Why do you think there are fewer female coaches in both youth and collegiate soccer?
Marge Perry: Partly because of the gender bias and the fact that salaries across the board are not conducive to maintaining an adequate lifestyle.
We would love to have a female coach but have not found that opportunity.
Diane Scavuzzo: What can be done to encourage more women to be involved in soccer?
Marge Perry: Showing them that there is a future as a participant long past their youth playing days. Provide them with more opportunities to coach and train players and see that there could be careers in sports they may not have looked at.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you think is the most important life lesson that you’ve learned so far?
Marge Perry: That sports participation shapes youth in so many ways.
The benefits both physically and emotionally build character and provide for life long rewards.
Teamwork, leadership, camaraderie, healthy lifestyle choices are only a few of the advantages gained by playing soccer.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are your goals for the 2017 WPSL Season?
Marge Perry: FC Surge hopes to have a successful 5th season in the WPSL. Our Region now consists of 10 teams and we plan to be in the top four. Divisional and Final Four playoff dreams are always in sight. Our original Mission Statement continues to drive our team forward.
The FC Surge is dedicated to promoting and enhancing the development of women’s soccer in the South Florida region.
In addition to establishing ourselves as a top contender in the WPSL, our primary objective is to provide an opportunity for local girls to grow and develop into talented and dynamic athletes and to equip them with the necessary tools to excel in both soccer and life.
By establishing a strong and dependable foundation, we will help our young athletes obtain scholarships and find placements at the top colleges and universities across the country — while providing our more experienced athletes with a highly competitive environment where they can continue to flourish and advance the sport of women’s soccer.