The Rhode Island Reds announced on Monday that it will field a squad by the same name in the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) in 2014.
The Reds currently field teams in the NPSL and the Southeastern New England SuperLiga. The launch of its WPSL side marks the first time the club has fielded a women’s team.
“We are honored to join the WPSL, the fastest growing national league in the U.S.,” said Reds’ Owner Kabba Joof in a team release on Monday. “Over the last few years, the quality of competition has risen to a very high standard here in Rhode Island and we are thrilled to take part in this nationwide league later this year. I am confident we will not only be able to put a team on the field that represents Rhode Island well, but one that is competitive from the very start.”
The WPSL Reds will kick off its inaugural season in May, and will play its home games at Cranston Stadium in Cranston, R.I. The club will compete in the New England Conference of the Eastern Region, and will be pitted against longtime WPSL clubs such as the New England Mutiny and Boston Aztec.
Additionally, the WPSL Reds kits will feature the club’s new shield, which was unveiled on Monday.
“The WPSL is excited to welcome the Rhode Island Reds FC led by a dynamic owner, Kabba D. Joof, who is committed to growing the game in his community and providing opportunities for local players to develop,” said WPSL Commissioner Jerry Zanelli in a statement on Monday. “Rhode Island is one of the top soccer markets in the country, as evidenced by recent news reports naming Providence as one of the best American cities with the largest number of viewers of the English Premiership Football in the United States.”
Monday’s announcement spelled the end of a lengthy hiatus for semi-pro women’s soccer in Rhode Island. The last women’s side to call the Ocean State its home was the Rhode Island Lady Stingrays (W-League), who last played in 2004. Molly Parkhurst, the sister of Columbus Crew defender Michael Parkhurst, played 12 games for the Lady Stingrays that season.
“We hope all area soccer fans will support the Rhode Island Reds growing tradition of developing young talent here in the Southern New England Region, as we grow the sport so many in our community truly love,” said Joof. “As always, our commitment is to inspire, train and transform our players and volunteers–into good citizens.”