Locals Kaiping and Kennedy on new women’s soccer team - Republic-Times | News

Locals Kaiping and Kennedy on new women’s soccer team

By on June 12, 2013 at 10:17 am
The new Fire & Ice Women’s Premier Soccer League team, which calls the CHS turf field its home, has two local faces in Waterloo’s Cassie Kaiping and Gibault’s Tara Kennedy. (Teryn Schaefer photo)

The new Fire & Ice Women’s Premier Soccer League team, which calls the CHS turf field its home, has two local faces in Waterloo’s Cassie Kaiping and Gibault’s Tara Kennedy. (Teryn Schaefer photos)

Almost every athlete as a child dreams of going pro. Unfortunately for women’s sports, and soccer in particular, that dream has been far reaching for aspiring players. But this spring marks the launch of the third edition of women’s professional soccer in the United States with the National Women’s Soccer League and the launch of an amateur Women’s Premier Soccer League team right here in Columbia. And Saturday marked another exciting event for the sport, with the WPSL’s Fire & Ice home opener against the Ohio Galaxies.

Aside from the success of the Women’s National Team, women’s professional soccer has gone through several pro-league models that have all folded, unable to earn enough funds to equal that of the men’s Major League Soccer organization.

But with the launch of the new NWSL, and now more locally the Fire & Ice WPSL team, the community is able to get a taste of the pro scene.

“I think it says a lot because, besides high school, there is not a lot of competitive girls soccer teams around here except for the soccer clubs,” Fire & Ice midfielder and Waterloo High School alumni Cassie Kaiping said. “It gives the little girls a chance to come out and have hope for their future.”Fire & Ice logo JUMP

The Fire & Ice WPSL team, which is one of 17 new teams joining the organization’s other 54 teams nationwide, holds its home matches on the Columbia High School turf field. The WPSL is the largest women’s league in the world and provides high school, collegiate and post-collegiate players the opportunity to compete at the next level.

“I would say it is a professionally run amateur team,” Fire & Ice coach Lindsay Kennedy-Eversmeyer explained, stating that it is one step down from pro soccer but doesn’t pay its players, allowing them to maintain amateur status and play college ball.

The team allows women the opportunity for exposure and to play at a different level, giving girls like Kaiping and Tara Kennedy, a Gibault alumni, a chance to get one step closer to the professional level.

“I would say it is a professionally run amateur team,” Fire & Ice coach Lindsay Kennedy-Eversmeyer explained, stating that it is one step down from pro soccer but doesn’t pay its players, allowing them to maintain amateur status and play college ball.

The team allows women the opportunity for exposure and to play at a different level, giving girls like Kaiping and Tara Kennedy, a Gibault alumni, a chance to get one step closer to the professional level.

The 2013 Fire & Ice women's soccer team.

The 2013 Fire & Ice women’s soccer team.

“It is pretty cool because it is like one step down from what every soccer girl dreams of,” Kaiping said, with F&I defender Kennedy adding, “I never really thought about going pro, I just played soccer for the love of the game. This is just exciting to be a part of.”

The two local girls both play soccer at McKendree. Kaiping, a sophomore, and Kennedy, a senior, join a roster of girls from Edwardsville and Granite City who play at colleges including Lindenwood University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Southeast Missouri State.

“Soccer is bigger in St. Louis and the Chicago area so it is nice to have it more local and bring it over to the other side of the river,” Kennedy said, adding that it is nice not to have to drive long distances to play and it allows her to bring her family to games.

The Fire & Ice coach, who hails from Alton and currently lives in Millstadt, comes to the team with an impressive soccer background herself. Kennedy-Eversmeyer began her post-high school soccer career at the University of Kansas, and played for and now coaches at Harris-Stowe State University. She was a part of the original St. Louis Steamers organization, helped start the River Cities Futbol Club and has been interested in bringing soccer to the Illinois side of the river to show that the soccer talent isn’t just in St. Louis. She admits that it may not be a big money maker, but it’s not about that. It’s about the game.

“I’m proud of it because there is nothing here for the little girls to aspire to,” Kennedy-Eversmeyer told the Republic-Times at Saturday’s home opener. “I’ve coached younger girls and we have a couple U11 teams coming out today and they actually get to see mature women playing the game as it should be and it gives them somebody to look up to.

“I’m proud that it’s here. It should be and the girls deserve it, too.”

Fire & Ice improved its record Saturday to 2-2 with a 3-1 victory over the Ohio Galaxies. The team has two more regular season home games, Indiana United on June 15 and K.C. Shock on July 6 — both at 7 p.m. Post-season play begins July 10.

“With the amount of talent that we have on this team, I expect them to do great things,” the Fire & Ice coach said.

You can learn more about the Fire & Ice WPSL team by visiting their website, fireandicesc.com/.


Teryn Schaefer

Teryn was born and raised in Waterloo, growing up watching local sports and Mon-Clair baseball. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School and loves cheering on her Tigers any chance she gets.