The 2017 season has been one for the record books. The Columbus Eagles are off to their best start in franchise history. The player pool is filled with collegiate stars of past and present, and the Eagles boast a coaching staff that is truly dedicated to growing the women’s game in Central Ohio.
As it stands right now, Columbus is second in the Valley Division of the Women’s Premier Soccer League and is capable of challenging for a WPSL championship. Head coach Mark Wise has made an effort to get these women seen and it is paying dividends.
This week presents a massive opportunity for the club. The Eagles will be playing on the pitch at MAPFRE Stadium in front of the team’s biggest crowd all season. The excitement is being felt throughout the whole organization as the players eagerly anticipate kickoff on Saturday afternoon.
Forward Alexa Cheripko and the rest of the Eagles understand that this is a great advertisement for the women’s game and are looking to make the most of the opportunity that has been presented.
“We don’t have anything to lose,” she said. “We’re trying to make a name for ourselves. We want to comeback against Cincinnati and make a statement.”
Captain Mary Seiffert is also excited, but understands there will be nerves. Regardless, she will look to keep her teammates focused on Saturday.
“We always want to go into games thinking. ‘Take it one game at a time. This is just another day in the office,’ but obviously this game is a special one for us for a few different reasons.”
Monique Hanayik is in a bit of a different position. She is an employee of Columbus Crew SC and she is very familiar with MAPFRE Stadium. This means the rest of the club gets to see her perform where she works every day and her coworkers get to see her play.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Hanayik said. “We’re pushing it so hard and I think there will be a lot of people supporting us.
“It’ll be exciting to see my front office people. Hopefully they will be able to step out and watch the game.”
These women hope this match at MAPFRE is the start of something special in Columbus. Alexa Cheripko sees this as an advertisement for the Eagles and women’s soccer.
“We’re here and we’re women and we’re coming out everyday and we’re working hard and trying to make a name for ourselves,” Cheripko explained.
“We’re trying to make women’s soccer present in Columbus. We grew up watching the Crew and that was awesome. As a woman, it’s nice to have a women’s team and for little girls to come and watch us and look up to us too.”
Mary Seiffert believes fans will love this team when you see them.
“This is such a great group of players and coaches who are here solely because we love the game, she said. “We are so thankful for the opportunity to continue playing at this level and want to give back to the city and especially to young players who hopefully are encouraged and inspired in their own soccer careers.”
They aren’t there yet, but women’s soccer is growing quickly. Still, the team is incredibly impressed with how woman’s soccer has grown within Central Ohio. “Female soccer has come a long way here in Columbus,” Summer Bourcier said.
The Eagles kickoff Saturday at 2pm. They will take the field prior to Crew SC and the Montreal Impact. Tickets are still available and if you are a Crew SC Season Ticket Member you can get into the match for free.