While the focus of women’s soccer around the globe is centered around the World Cup in France this weekend, the Philadelphia Lone Star Women will be making a little history of their own with their first two home Women’s Premier Soccer League games.
Lone Star will welcome CAFC Osprey to the South Philadelphia Super Site today at 5 p.m. and Old Dominion Cesena USA at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
For midfielder Sophie Edelblut, the youngest player on the team at 17, playing for the inaugural women’s team for the club, offers her a chance to play in the city where she first fell in love with the game.
“Philly is my home so it’s great to be part of a new team and be playing at such a high level in Philadelphia,” said Edelblut, a recent Harriton High School grad who started playing when she was young for Palumbo Soccer Club in the city.
Lone Star split their first two games last weekend, losing the season opener 1-0 to OPSA Magic in Maryland and beating Old Dominion Cesena USA 3-1 a day later in Virginia.
“It’s so much fun to play at such a high level, to one stay in shape going into the college season but also to form the dynamic of such a high-level team,” said defender Rachel Steelman, a Mays Landing, N.J. native who will join West Chester University for a grad season this fall after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s in Maryland.
Steelman said playing for Lone Star during the World Cup is a great way to illustrate the development path that exists within the WPSL.
“It’s exciting learning about players on the national team and where they came from and seeing that a lot of them played for teams in the same league we are playing in,” Steelman said.
Philadelphia Lone Star was founded as Junior Lone Star in 2001 by a group of Liberian American immigrants and has men’s teams competing in the NPSL and UPSL as well as youth teams. A women’s team is something that’s been on head coach Charlie Flowe’s mind since he moved to the city to attend Drexel University in the mid-’90s.
“It’s a dream come true to have a Philadelphia team play in the city limits of Philadelphia,” said Flowe, a Newport News, Virginia native. “That was a very important part of building this team with Lone Star, to have a team that plays and trains in Philly.”
Flowe lives seven blocks from the stadium where they’ll play their first league game tonight.
“It’s a true neighborhood feel where it really feels like the team is part of South Philly, part of the community,” he said.
For more on the Philadelphia Lone Star WPSL team, visit www.philadelphialonestarfc.com/women.