Fresh off the heels of the US Women’s National Team’s dramatic World Cup victory, over 30,000 tickets have been sold for their August appearance at Heinz Field for a friendly against Costa Rica.
Meanwhile, Steel City FC, the city’s most recent soccer club addition, is in the midst of a very competitive inaugural season. The women’s soccer club is currently sitting in second place in the Women’s Premier Soccer League’s Can Am division.
Stephanie Harrison, Steel City FC’s President, has made major contributions in ensuring the success of the team both on and off the field.
Harrison, a doctoral student at Chatham University, grew up playing soccer. It wasn’t until she moved to Pittsburgh for school that she noticed that there was no environment for women to play professional soccer in the city.
After being inspired by her own experiences playing the world’s most popular sport, Harrison reached out to friends and family and set in motion a plan to bring Pittsburgh a competitive and community oriented women’s soccer club.
“Surprisingly the development of Steel City FC has gone pretty smoothly,” Harrison said in an interview. “I would say the biggest obstacle comes from the need to garner greater support for women’s athleticism at a national level, as the league continues to grow and develop.”
Harrison worked closely with a friend and colleague, Justin Forzano, who helped turn her dream into a reality. Forzano was an integral part in starting a nonprofit Cameroon Football Development Program (CFDP) and was asked to help lay a foundation for Steel City FC.
The two worked together in establishing youth outreach programs and getting young girls involved. Plans are currently in the works to organize camps and other soccer programming to help the youth have more accessibility to the sport of soccer.
“The community outreach aspect of Steel City FC has always been a key part of our vision, particularly given that it is a non-profit operation.” Harrison went on to say “Collectively, the idea to begin this team was born and with much communal work and efforts it was up and running in less than a year. I attribute this success to the city.”
Steel City FC not only has a good team on the field, they work just as hard off the field. Harrison explains “Giving back is a part of Pittsburgh’s core values and this was seen in the support given by local businesses and government officials and most importantly the local fan base.”
One fan in particular is local Councilman Dan Gilman who was a key to spread Steel City FC’s vision to decision-makers.
“I think soccer has incredible potential for growth in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh loves sports so there is always a market for a good sports team,” Harrison said. “It also seems that young people in our area continue to play soccer more and more which will continually add to our fan base.”
Steel City FC will play host to the Syracuse Lady Knights in their final regular season home game on July 12 at 3:00 p.m. at Shadyside Academy.
For more information on Steel City FC follow the links below: