The FC Tucson Women will open up the 2022 season with a match at the El Paso Surf Saturday night. According to the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL), the match is slated to be played at Burges High School at 7 p.m. on a synthetic pitch.
The Women in Black went 7-0-1 last year to claim the championship of the Desert Conference and the program is 11-0-2 dating back to 2019. An expansion team last year, El Paso went 0-7-1 including two losses to Tucson. Former WPSL Desert Conference Offensive Player of the Year Luz Duarte scored two goals in the first victory over El Paso and she scored two more against the program in the final match to secure the conference title.
Duarte finished with 12 goals on the year and the former Pueblo and Catalina standout signed with Puma Femenil of Mexico after the championship season so she will be unavailable to the FC Tucson Women this summer.
The list of accolades from the championship season was lengthy and the list included Coach of the Year recognition for Kelly Pierce (Salpointe), Defender of the Year in Laura Pimienta (Mountain View/Arizona), Goalie of the Year in Hope Hisey (Canyon del Oro/Arizona) and All-Desert Conference honors for Priscilla Pimienta (Mountain View/Arizona):
2021 SEASON AWARDS
FC Tucson Women: Franchise of the Year
Kelly Pierce (Salpointe), Desert Conference Coach of the Year
Luz Duarte (Catalina/Pueblo), All-Desert Conference
Luz Duarte (Catalina/Pueblo), Offensive Player of the Year
Laura Pimienta (Arizona), All-Desert Conference
Laura Pimienta (Arizona), Defender of the Year
Priscilla Pimienta (Arizona), All-Desert Conference
Hope Hisey (Arizona), Desert Conference Goalie of the Year
Paloma Paez, (FC Tucson Women) All-West Region Personnel
FC Tucson Women: WPSL Best Match Streaming
FC Tucson Women: WPSL Best Season Graphics
FC Tucson Women: WPSL Best Team Photography
FC Tucson Women: WPSL Best Twitter Account
FC Tucson Women: WPSL Top Instagram Account
The FC Tucson Women earned their third straight “Franchise of the Year” honor and it was the fourth time a head coach of the program had received the top honor with Pierce picking up her second in a row and former head coach, and current assistant coach, Amy Garelick also earning the award twice.
Garelick was the head coach in the inaugural 2013-14 season and Pierce was an All-Conference selection as a defender. The Pimienta sisters were also part of the opening roster. Garelick earned her second Coach of the Year award in 2018 and she handed the program over to Pierce to start the 2019 campaign.
Besides Pierce and Garelick, Charlie MacCabe returns as the team administrator and assistant along with keeper assistant Matthew Panipinto.
The FC Tucson Women roster is still fluid at this point but the nucleus returns in Hisey, the Pimienta sisters, Hailey Harris (Cienega/Embry-Riddle), Kourtney Kutscher (Cal State Northridge) and Micaela Hornstein (Morehead State).
Top newcomer Ashly Martinez (Arizona Western) was a former member of the U15 and U17 Mexico National Team and represented her country in the CONCACAF tournament in Orlando, Florida. The midfielder played for Club Santos Laguna in LIGA BBVA MX Femenil during its 2019-20 Apertura season, scoring three goals in 11 appearances.
Q AND A WITH KELLY PIERCE
Q: You’re coming off of an almost perfect season Championship and you still have over 30 players to pull from. Will you be ready for Saturday?
A: Yes, we do have good numbers out here. We do have some good personnel and more players coming in still even tomorrow. Our main group is still here and we have more coming in including Kate Connelly (Salpointe/Seattle) and Ashly Martinez. We lost Luz but Ashly plays a lot like Luz and she’s super quick. I think our forwards are going to wreak some havoc.
Q: What will be you plan of attack this year?
A: I am defensive minded. Of course, if you’re not getting scored on you can’t lose. So I always want to make sure that our defense is solid and we have really good anchors back there, a lot of mature players. So I’m excited for that and great goalkeepers. We always want to be patient and go when we are unable to force anything.
Q: You added Amy Garelick to your staff. What does she mean to your program?
A: Yes. I’ve been asking her since last season to join. I just felt like it was important for her to be out here. The girls love her and she’s where it all started. Just having her out here is good. I think it’s good morale for the team.
The first home match will be against the El Paso Surf on Friday night, June 3 at the Kino North Stadium. TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE HERE.
.@fctucsonwomen, the defending Women’s Premier Soccer League Desert Conference champions, begin their 2022 season in only 10 days. The franchise unveiled its new @DeanAlanArch @PUMA jerseys yesterday – a cool lightning-bolt "Monsoon" design – https://t.co/O6YrAn28Ju
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) May 18, 2022
The Desert Conference is part of the WPSL West Region and there are currently 35 teams in the Region. FC Tucson Women, El Paso Turf, Atomic City FC (Las Vegas) and SC del Sol (Phoenix) are part of the Desert Conference along with expansion Phoenix team, Arizona Arsenal Soccer Club.
Named one of “Arizona’s Heart & Sol” by KOLD and Casino del Sol, Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and a 2019 AZ Education News recognition. He was a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling and his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is a Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. He earned a Distinguished Service Award from Amphitheater and he was recognized by City Councilman Richard Fimbres. Contact Andy Morales at firstname.lastname@example.org