Bridget McKeever was an all-state soccer player at Wallkill High School and all-conference standout for Mount Saint Mary College. When she graduated from the Mount in 2018 McKeever had no choice but to join some men’s leagues but she longed to play soccer with women once again.
That opportunity has arisen with the recent formation of the Kingston Capitals, slated to play in the newly formed Women’s Professional Soccer League Under-21 division. The team will cater to women who are playing collegiately and in high school but there are limited roster spots available for older players like the 26-year-old McKeever.
“I think it’s exciting that we’re going to take soccer as a sport to the next level,’’ McKeever said, “but also to empower girls and women to keep pursuing their dreams and playing sports at a high level.’’
There have already been four tryouts, with close to 100 players taking part. The final two tryouts will be conducted from 5-7 p.m. Friday at Kaplan Field on the campus of Newburgh’s Mount Saint Mary College and 6-8 p.m. Saturday at Dietz Stadium in Kingston. Club organizers say interested players must register via the Kingston Area Soccer League website (KASLsoccer.net) and look for the Kingston Capitals link – though open to all, organizers say only serious applicants who can commit time to the team need apply.
“I’ve been impressed with the quality of the players,’’ who have tried out already, said Capitals head coach Chris Lyn, who is also the head coach of the women at Mount Saint Mary. Nick Malvai, the travel team director and vice president of KASL, will be an assistant coach.
McKeever, considered a favorite to make the 25-30 player roster, attended one tryout and will take part in another this weekend. She said the excitement was palpable among the players and the skill level was very good.
Malvai said the Capitals are still awaiting an official schedule from the WPSL, with an opening date expected around June 11. The Capitals are expected to field a roster of 25-30, Malvai said.
The Capitals have intentions of adding a team in the main WPSL pro league next season and creating a soccer academy program.
Saugerties actually got a head start on women’s semi-pro ball last year with the debut season of the Hudson Valley Crusaders, who play in the United Women’s Soccer League Two. A half-dozen players from Ulster County, one from Orange County and five from Dutchess County played on the 2021 team.
Fox Soccer Academy in Warwick is also forming a WPSL team, with a final tryout set for Thursday.
This article originally appeared on Times Herald-Record: Kingston Capitals Women's Professional Soccer League under 21 club