The Capital District has built a statewide reputation as a women's soccer hotbed. Now, it has proof that it is a national women's soccer hotbed.
The Adirondack Lynx completed a strong inaugural season in the Women's Premier Soccer League the top women's soccer league in the United States with an 8-4 record, the Eastern Conference regular season title and an appearance in the conference finals.
And Adirondack did it with a roster loaded with current and former Section II players including four Shenendehowa High School graduates and several standouts from Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Guilderland, Niskayuna, Colonie and Bethlehem.
"This is going to go a long way to putting us on the map (as a soccer region)," said team owner Peter Wirfel.
Wirfel and general manager/head coach P.J. Motsiff had plenty of players to choose from. More than 100 area high school and collegiate players participated in a series of tryouts earlier this year.
"We had a good 50 kids at two of the tryouts we held," said Wirfel.
From that group, Motsiff whittled the list down to 34 players, several of whom played for his 2004 Blackwatch Premier under-19 team than went 8-0-1. He then assembled rosters for each of the team's 10 regular season games.
"It's just putting the right people in the right places at the right time," said Motsiff, a former Ballston Spa High School varsity soccer coach.
The Lynx struggled through their first three games before going on a five-game winning streak that vaulted them into first place. Among their victims was the New England Mutiny, which was the 19th-ranked women's soccer team in the world at the time.
"I wouldn't say we outplayed them. We just outscored them," said Wirfel.
As the Lynx kept winning, Motsiff became more convinced his team could compete for the WPSL title. He even sent out an e-mail following his team's regular season-ending loss to the Northampton (Pa.) Laurels July 17 telling his players that he felt they could reach the championship game.