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New United Soccer League women's team to debut in Pittsburgh in 2025

New United Soccer League women’s team to debut in Pittsburgh in 2025
New United Soccer League women’s team to debut in Pittsburgh in 2025 02:25

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Women's sports are getting a big boost in Pittsburgh, as a new elite soccer team on the South Shore will join the Riverhounds at Highmark Stadium next year.

Cranberry teenager Maddie Connellan has a passion for playing soccer.

"These girls are like your second family," Connellan said.

She's been playing for about 13 years, the majority on the girls' team in the Riverhounds Development Academy for youth, and she's considering the chance to play professionally when she gets older.

"You have another opportunity to stay with people like these in an environment like this your whole life," Connellan said.

She and her teammates will have a greater opportunity to do so right here in Pittsburgh after the owners of the Riverhounds announced at Saturday's men's game that they're bringing a new United Soccer League women's team to the city as a part of the USL W League expansion franchise.

"Today marks a new chapter in women's soccer in Pittsburgh for our girls, our fans, and our entire community," Riverhounds President Jeff Gardner said before the Saturday match.

It's a pre-professional team, a stepping stone to the pros, that will start competing in May 2025.

Scott Gibson is the director of the youth academy.

"The growth of the game in Pittsburgh over the last 10 years has gone through the roof," Gibson said.

He said it's a big deal for young girls, the city, and women's sports, which has gained much attention recently.

"The success of the national team, the women's national team, obviously, they're a powerhouse around the globe, so to get a microcosm of that in Pittsburgh is amazing," Gibson said.

West Virginia teenager Aaliyah Siegel, who plays in the academy, eventually wants to go professional.

"It will show us, you know, to have confidence and to come out, and play to do better, get up to that level," Siegel said.

Fans like Brigid O'Hara of Mount Washington, who was at Saturday's men's game, are just as pumped.

"I would expect the same amount of enthusiasm and interest that people have in the Riverhounds to transfer over to a girls' team, and honestly, if not more," O'Hara said.

Now they're all counting down the days.

"Ready to be a lifelong fan, diehard, ride or die for sure," O'Hara said.

"A year, one year," Connellan said.

The news comes on the heels of a proposed project that would nearly triple the capacity of the stadium from 5,500 to up to 15,000 seats.

More details about the women's team, including the name, are expected to be released in the coming months.

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