Egg Harbor Twp, New Jersey (February 17, 2012) – Atlantic Soccer Factory (ASF) is proud to announce the creation of the Philadelphia Fever and their acceptance to the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) Elite League. The Fever will join the league as an NCAA-compliant amateur team that features New Jersey and Pennsylvania’s top collegiate players as well as former pros. The new WPSL Elite League now has (8) eight teams, including (6) full-time professional clubs, competing in the inaugural 2012 season.
The Fever will play against former Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) teams such as the Boston Breakers and 2011 WPS Champions, Western New York Flash. These clubs have in the past, featured U.S. National Team Stars: Alex Morgan, Lauren Cheney and Heather O’Reilley.
The team will play some of its home games in South Jersey and some in Eastern Pennsylvania. Most games will be played as double-headers in conjunction with the A.C. Crusaders of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) and Philadelphia Fury of U.S. Club Soccer’s National Adult League (NAL).
The new WPSL Elite League is the highest level of women’s soccer in America. The league is based in the Midwest and East Coast and was formed as a response to the decision of WPS to suspend the 2012 season. Teams in the league have the option of competing with all professional players or a mix of professionals and amateurs.
“I am overjoyed to have the Philadelphia Fever become the eighth and final team in the inaugural WPSL Elite League 2012 Season. Philadelphia and South Jersey soccer fans should get ready for a fabulous women’s soccer season. Matt Driver is well known for his commitment to women’s soccer and his high caliber players. The Fever is a great addition to the WPSL Elite League,” said WPSL Commissioner Jerry Zanelli.
Team Owner and ASF President, Matt Driver, is committed to developing homegrown talent and showcasing the area’s best soccer players. As a result, the Fever will be built around local talent and will provide New Jersey and Pennsylvania’s best collegiate players the opportunity to play in a professional atmosphere against international superstars who’ve played in World Cups and Olympic Games.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for local players to gain exposure and it gives them the chance to play at the highest level of women’s professional soccer, without forfeiting their NCAA eligibility,” said Driver. “The players that will play in this new WPSL Elite League are the same players millions of people watched during last year’s World Cup and will represent their countries at the 2012 London Olympics.”
Driver’s philosophy of player progression led him to create a vertically integrated player development program that began years ago with the creation the A.C. Diablos men and women’s teams in 2006. The men competed in the NPSL and the women’s team belonged to the WPSL. Driver inspires his players to aspire to reach their goals and maximize their potential.
The program is club-neutral and allows ASF to work with players from the time they’re four years old all the way through college soccer and beyond. Currently, ASF provides local players the opportunity to play on a men’s NPSL team, A.C. Crusaders, and now a Women’s WPSL Elite League team, Philadelphia Fever without having to leave their local club or college.
“We get a hold of these kids as early as three or four year-olds in our rec programs and we put them through our vertically-integrated player development program,” said Driver. “We develop relationships with clubs and their players and we help them maximize their potential as soccer players as well as provide them outlets to showcase their abilities and play the game at their highest ability.”
The Fever is scheduled to kick off its inaugural season in May. The team will hold a press conference to introduce the team and coaching staff to the community and future Fever fanatics.