Since the end of the Columbus Eagles’ Professional Arena Soccer League conference championship season, club founder and CEO Mark Wise has been busy. Some of that work by the Eagles was announced on Tuesday.
At the beginning of April, Columbus announced its 2021 Women’s Premier Soccer League outdoor schedule. On it was existing rivals like the Cincinnati Sirens and Dayton Dutch Lions alongside new conference opponents from Indiana and Missouri. On Tuesday, the team shared more exciting news, including a new partnership with the Nordecke, the Columbus Crew supporters’ group.
With this partnership between the Eagles and Nordecke comes a new back-of-kit sponsor for Columbus and a sponsor of all home Eagles match broadcasts, produced by a group within the Nordecke, the Great Columbus Golden Boys and Girls. For the Nordecke, what started as reaching out to see how they could support the Eagles turned into a real partnership.
“Our belief is that the Nordecke supports both the Crew and soccer in Columbus,” a Nordecke representative told Massive Report. “We feel that by standing with the Eagles, we stand with the best of Columbus soccer and help to grow the game for Eagles supporters, Crew supporters and soccer fans throughout Central Ohio.”
Recently, the Nordecke supported Columbus soccer through the sale of the Yellow Kit. A portion of every kit sold goes to Kicks for Kids, a group in Columbus that gets the sport out to kids in the inner city of Columbus.
While both show signs of a return to some sort of normalcy for a club that missed all of 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these two announcements are the tip of the iceberg. Behind the scenes, a lot of work is getting done, work that has implications both on the field and in the stands.
Wise shared with Massive Report that the Eagles will have in-person ticket availability for the 2021 WPSL season. The Eagles plan to allow up to 500 people into a socially distanced seating arrangement at home games. Groups of two or four supporters can buy tickets, sit near one another and must wear masks in the stands. That is subject to change if the CDC lifts outdoor mask recommendations throughout the team’s May to July season.
Columbus’ first home match is on Sunday, May 23 is against Interstate-71 rivals, the Cincinnati Sirens. The game will be played at Grove City Christian High School. All other matches are scheduled for Bernlohr Stadium, on the Capital University campus. No ticket information is available from the team as of this publishing.
The only thing left for Columbus to do is field a team. That task is being addressed this week. On Thursday, the Eagles will hold a tryout for local amateur and collegiate players. Wise looks to bring 10 more players to the roster, and maybe more depending on ability.
For supporters that have followed the team this season and in years past, the list of players already confirmed returning will have a lot of familiar faces. A total of 12 Eagles will be back from past WPSL seasons and the 2021 PASL campaign.
In goal are two returning players. The Eagles arena title wouldn’t be possible without the play of Vanderbilt alum Lauren Demarchi. The former SEC goalkeeper came up big for the Eagles throughout the season and was the only goalkeeper on the indoor roster. Joining her is Hannah Sargent, a Western Michigan alum who played locally at Olentangy High School. Sargent played for the Eagles in past WPSL seasons.
In the midfield, team captain Ashley Gogolin returns. Alongside her are Alivia Milesky, Deijah Swihart, Sheryl Shope and Mariah Whitaker. All five played throughout the 2021 winter season. Up front are Madison Costner, Mellonee Hall, Donavan Wahl and Dani Gunderson, who missed the arena season, but has a long, productive history with the Eagles. She’s featured for the club for multiple seasons. On defense, Monique Reventlow is the only confirmed returning player at this time.
Wise with also continue his role as head coach and CEO of the Eagles. He’s filling the role temporarily for the usual Eagles coach, Matt Ogden, who is fulfilling his duties as Capital’s women’s coach. but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the usual fall college season was pushed to the spring. He will still assist Wise in future practices and matches, but after a stressful season that included regular COVID testing, travel and heightened restrictions, he’s taking the summer away from leading the Eagles.
Follow Massive Report throughout the 2021 season for more information on the Columbus Eagles who begin the WPSL season May 15, traveling to Indianapolis for a game against Lady Victory. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.