After plenty of success with its men’s team over the years, Turlock’s semi-professional soccer team Academic SC announced on Tuesday that it has joined the Women’s Premier Soccer League as a member of the 2022 expansion class.
The news comes as Academica celebrates 50 years as a club, and will now provide local women with the chance to play soccer at the semi-professional level. While the men’s team plays in the National Premier Soccer League, where they won their first conference championship last season, the WPSL is the longest active women’s soccer league with more than 125 clubs in 35 states.
According to Academica technical director Tevin Jones, the NPSL currently sits as Division IV on the Men’s Soccer Pyramid, while the WPSL is considered Division II in the Women’s Soccer Pyramid. Other WPSL teams like the California Storm, based in Sacramento, see high attendance at games, and many of the United States’ most accomplished players have played in the league, including Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, Megan Rapinoe, Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain.
“We are excited to be a part of the growing sport of women's soccer,” Jones said. “For women in our area, the closest teams they could play for or watch at this level were in Fresno, Sacramento or the Bay Area…We are happy to bring a high level of soccer here and hopefully this will continue the growth of the sport in our area.”
The Academica organization has been interested in joining the WPSL for quite some time, Jones added, and had to meet a set of standards set by the league before their application was accepted, such as seating capacity, locker room access and bathrooms. The WPSL Academica team will play at the same field as the men on West Greenway Avenue in Turlock.
The season typically begins in June and Academica will play in the WPSL’s PAC North Conference. The organization has begun the process of finding their head coach and hopes to have one selected by the end of the month; after that, the roster of collegiate, post-collegiate, international and standout prep players will be assembled.
Jones, along with Academica’s president Simon Bettencourt and general manager Michael Rocha, are looking forward to yet another way to grow the sport in Turlock and beyond.
“It’s a big moment for Academica,” Jones said.
More information about Academica Soccer Club can be found at academicasc.com or on their social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. For additional information on the WPSL visit wpslsoccer.com.