ISC Gunners FC’s Macy Jo Harrison & Erin Vaughan on The Growth of Women’s Soccer
The 2017 WPSL Season is set to kick off next month as aspiring women soccer players across the United States prepare to take the pitch for another successful year. Boasting the highest number of women owners in any amateur sports league, the WPSL is dedicated to growing the game for youth players who dream of continuing their playing career well beyond college.
WPSL Soccer News: The growth of women’s soccer in the United States provides our future talent with a pathway to the top level of player development.
As clubs incorporate Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) teams in the organization, youth players are able to experience the next level of competitive soccer as they prepare to take the next step in their career.
Located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Southern Washington, ISC Gunners FC was founded in 1980 and is one of the largest youth soccer clubs in the Pacific Northwest.
Today, ISC is home to over 300 youth soccer teams and helps more than 3000 children each year to learn, compete and grow as athletes and valuable members of the community.
Program Directors Macy Jo Harrison and Erin Vaughan are dedicated to providing youth players in the region with a program they can call their own as they grow on and off the pitch.
GoalNation spoke with Harrison and Vaughan on their thoughts on the game and what challenges they see in women’s soccer.
Diane Scavuzzo: How did you first get involved in soccer?
Macy Jo Harrison: I played rec soccer at the age of 11, and Erin began playing soccer when she about 12 years old.
Erin Vaughan: I began playing soccer because my father was a professional soccer player in the U.K.
Diane Scavuzzo: How has soccer changed, if it has, since you became involved?
Macy Jo Harrison: It’s become MUCH more popular in America, and the style of play in America has changed – it’s not all about the direct style of play but rather possession based.
Erin Vaughan: Soccer has become much more technical over the years.
Diane Scavuzzo: What about you surprises people the most?
Macy Jo Harrison: What surprises people most about me is how technical I am with the ball, and how I have no problem with confrontation.
Erin Vaughan: My British accent surprises people the most.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you think is the most challenging or infuriating thing about working as a woman in soccer?
Macy Jo Harrison: The most challenging thing about this is the fact that male counter parts in the soccer world automatically treat you differently in most cases – they look down on you and assume you have no idea what you’re doing because you’re a woman.
Erin Vaughan: The most challenging thing about being a woman in soccer is that we immediately get judged by most men. Anytime I have been on a coaching course, I have automatically been judged.
They simply assume I don’t know how to play soccer or coach it.
Diane Scavuzzo: What important life lessons do you hope to provide players coming through your club?
Macy Jo Harrison: We believe it’s extremely important to teach the players the life lessons of hard work/work ethic, dedication, teamwork, time management, leadership, confidence and several more that aren’t listed here.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are your goals for the 2017 WPSL Season?
Macy Jo Harrison: Our goal is to get our Youth ISC Gunners Premier players involved in the program as much as possible, and win the Northwest Division. Hopefully we do that, and then we can see where things go from there.
Diane Scavuzzo: How does a WPSL team help the youth level at ISC Gunners?
Macy Jo Harrison: Our WPSL team provides our youth female athletes with a program to aspire to play with as they move through the club. It also provides female role models for all the youth female players in our club. We have a sister program here at ISC Gunners, which requires all of our WPSL players to attend a “sister team” for practice sessions throughout the summer in order to get to know the players, and provide them with positive role models and so on.
We have several youth players who have the quality to train/play with our WPSL team throughout the summer and this provides those players the opportunity to train and play with and against ex-professional, ex-collegiate, current-collegiate, as well as current and ex-national team players.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the pathway to the WPSL team?
Macy Jo Harrison: We do not have a set pathway to our team – we accept players from our youth ISC Gunners players, local youth clubs and organizations, and we accept players from all over the world who have a high quality of playing ability.
We recruit, hold tryouts, speak with college coaches, speak with national team coaches, and professional coaches to form our team. Several players simply reach out to us as well.