WPSL recap
Paul Bottoni

FC Dallas WPSL finishes a successful debut season

The FC Dallas Women’s Premier Soccer League team wrapped up its debut season last week, and the team set the bar high for future teams.

In the spring, Dallas became the newest member in the Big Sky-South division of the WPSL, a summer league that consists of players in high school and college, as well as collegiate graduates.

FCD’s roster consisted of players from all experience levels, from high-school recruits Natalie Huggins (a future Baylor Bear) and Katelyn Ross (a soon-to-be North Texas Mean Green) to highly regarded current college players, such as Texas A&M midfielder Rachel Shipley and SMU goalkeeper Courtney Webb.

Several notable local names were among the post-collegiate players to join the team, including midfielders Teresa Eamma and Rebecca Mendoza.

Eamma ranks sixth all time in the UNT women’s soccer history books with 33 career goals in 78 matches.

Mendoza played four years at Notre Dame, during which the Fighting Irish made two NCAA Championship appearances.

Mendoza brought international-level experience to Dallas, having suited up for the Mexican Women’s National Team. She made her national team debut against the U.S. on December 8, 2004 – the farewell match for U.S. women’s soccer greats Joy Fawcett, Julie Foudy and Mia Hamm.

With a deep and talented roster, Dallas poised itself to make waves in its first season.

FCD kicked off with four consecutive road games after three games were postponed or cancelled due to inclement weather. Dallas went 3-1 in the four matches with its only loss coming at the hands of first-place Oklahoma Alliance FC.

The second half of the season featured six of seven games at FCD’s home pitch at Dr. Pink Field.

On July 1, Dallas held its inaugural home match in front of a spirited crowd, shutting out the Tulsa Spirit 5-0. Eamma scored the first goal on Dallas’ home field in the 11th minute with a volley from the top of the box.

READ: FC Dallas shuts out Tulsa Spirit 5-0

FCD followed up with three-consecutive home victories, defeating the Arkansas Comets, Houston South Select and American Eagles SC. In the four matches, Dallas outscored its opponents 18-3.

In Week 8, Eamma was named Co-Player of the Week after scoring three goals and two assists in the matches against Tulsa and Arkansas; Huggins was named to the Team of the Week.

Dallas was in position to challenge Oklahoma for first place in the Big Sky-South, but a 4-2 loss on the road against the Fort Worth Panthers put the Alliance out of reach.

Oklahoma paid a visit to Dr. Pink in the second to last game of the season. The match was tightly contested, but when the final whistle blew, the Alliance left with a 6-3 victory.

READ: FC Dallas suffer first home loss

Dallas avenged its earlier loss against Fort Worth when FCD hosted the Panthers in the season finale.

FCD jumped out to an early 1-0 lead thanks to a goal from Eamma, but Fort Worth knotted the score early in the second half.

But Dallas’ Michelle Young made sure her team would end the season on a high note.

The speedy forward from UNT challenged the Panthers defense throughout the match, but couldn’t capitalize on numerous scoring chances.

However, in the 87th minute Young received a spot-on pass from Eamma and made a run at the Fort Worth goalkeeper. With a Panthers defender closely shadowing, Young released a volley high to the near post and scored the game-winning goal for FCD.

READ: FC Dallas closes out season with 2-1 win

Thanks to the win, Dallas surpassed Fort Worth to finish second behind Oklahoma in the Big Sky-South. FCD finished its debut season with an overall record of 8-3 and a home record of 5-1.

“I thought it was a fantastic season and a great start to something big,” said FCD head coach Darrin Hedges. “We had a talented and committed group who played at a high level. The girls were talking after the final match about staying in touch over the year and returning next season, and I’m ready to get started.”