The dawn of a new season brings with it a new look for FC Tucson Women, the defending Women’s Premier Soccer League Desert Conference champions.
The team will wear a maroon and black lightning-bolt Puma jersey design with sponsor name Dean Alan Architects PLLC on the front.
The jersey even has its own nickname — “Monsoon” — which is embroidered on the back.
Dean Alan Architects is in its second year as the jersey sponsor. Last season, the Puma shirts were known as “Desert King” with a dark blue and black scale look of a soccer ball.
“I grew up in Tucson so being a part of the community and supporting the community is really huge,” said Angela Gee, principal owner and founder of Dean Alan Architects. “Having a woman-owned business, supporting women, doing amazing things and being a role model for other people in the community is super important.”
FC Tucson Women started tryouts for the 2022 season on Sunday and third-year coach Kelly Pierce began a practice regimen for the first time Tuesday afternoon at a Kino North practice field.
Pierce’s team, coming off an undefeated 7-0-1 season, will open the 2022 WPSL season May 28 at the El Paso Surf, where the team concluded the season with the championship last July.
“Tons of new faces with our core group of returners, which I always love,” Pierce said of the makeup of her team. “Having a lot of new ones is great for us. I think it’s spreading all around, having players from Flagstaff, Phoenix, California, Yuma, El Paso … I like it.”
Among the returners are twins Laura and Priscilla Pimienta, both defenders, and goaltender Hope Hisey (a mamber of the Arizona soccer team who is the daughter of CDO baseball coach Jason Hisey, who just won the 4A state championship).
Bri Barriero, the team captain last year, also returns as well as forward Hannah Leitner, midfielder Haley Harris and defender Micaela Hornstein.
“I love being around the whole team environment again,” said Pierce, who also has coached Salpointe (her alma mater) to four state titles since 2018. “Just looking forward to those competitive games and seeing who is going to make the roster and who’s going to be on it from week to week.”
Pierce said she will coach a team of close to 40 players, a team large enough for reserve help if a player is unable to play a certain weekend.
The home opener at Kinor North is June 3 against the El Paso Surf.
The WPSL returns 120 teams, including 29 expansion teams for the 2022 season.
With realignment, FC Tucson will remain in the Desert Conference with three other returning teams and and the new Phoenix-based Arizona Arsenal Soccer Club.
The winner of the Desert Conference will advance to the West Region semifinals. The winners of the four regions will play for the national championship.
FC Tucson is unbeaten in its last 13 matches, going 11-0-2 since losing to Albuquerque FC in the 2019 season.
The club has finished first in its division five times since its inception in 2013, advancing to the playoffs in 2013 and 2018 while missing out due to a tiebreaker in 2015 and 2019.
The season was cancelled in 2020, and WPSL did not hold a postseason in 2021 due to COVID-19.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.