ST. GEORGE – FC St. George women’s soccer team gathered for calisthenics at the Little Valley Ball Fields before practice started, and it was clear the players and coaches were all there for the same purpose—develop skills.
FCSG is in its second season as a semi-pro women’s soccer team in St. George, and the players come from different parts of the country to stay in playing shape during the offseason. Most of the players are collegiate athletes with the exception of a few former college soccer players and high school players looking to prepare for college soccer.
“The more you play, the more you’re on the field and the more you’re in the situations the better soccer player you are,” said Kathryn Wertz, a midfielder for FCSG but is here from Northern Arizona University. “Nothing quite compares to being game fit. No running or anything can get you ready for that. When you’re in the game, that’s the only way to get [game fit].”
Wertz said she is here in St. George because her coach at NAU found the team for her. He wanted her to spend the summer getting better, so he sent her to St. George to play for FCSG. There is a team from Phoenix that plays in FCSG’s league, but Wertz said she is glad she came to St. George instead.
The team is a semi-pro women’s soccer team, but the players are able to maintain their amateur status because they do not get paid to play for the team. This allows players to spend their college offseason staying competitive.
“Collegiate players are eligible,” FCSG general manager Scott Lambertsen said. “After May 1 they’re able to do what they want as long as they’re not getting paid. Most big schools like their girls to play in this league because by the time their season starts in the fall they’re in shape, and they’re ready to go.”
Lambertsen not only controls the day-to-day operations of the team, but he also coaches the goalkeepers. He works with head coach Nick Nield, who has been with the team since last year.
“One thing we always implement in our coaching is to have a positive attitude,” Nield said. “When things aren’t going the way we like our girls stay positive.”
Nield said this helps with players and coaches treating each other well in every situation.
“It not only helps them on the field but in everyday life,” he said. “It will continue to help them as they get into their careers.”
Allyson Duda of Southern Utah University is keeping up that positive attitude while playing for FCSG this summer. This is her second year playing for FCSG, and she can be considered an ambassador for women’s soccer in southern Utah. She said she’s hoping to spread the interest of women’s soccer.
“It’s not very popular here,” Duda said. “Even nationally women’s soccer isn’t very popular.”
Duda said she hopes that changes as people start to come to games.
Unfortunately, there are no more FCSG home games to attend this season. The team played its last home game on Saturday, June 4, but the team still has two more games in Utah to play. FCSG takes on the Utah Starrz at Timpview High School on Thursday, June 16, and then takes on the Salt Lake City Sparta at Jordan High School on Friday, June 17.
“The word’s getting out there,” Nield said. “Hopefully we keep it around and make things happen.”
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2011, all rights reserved.