The annual FC Wisconsin Girl’s Champions League got underway on January 18, and after 2 weekends of action there is still everything to play for as all teams are still in contention for the trophy.
This year’s Champions League has been expanded to include all FC Wisconsin players from both the U15-U18 ECNL and Regional Competitive programs, and the competition is as fierce as ever. The four team names are a nod to the club’s philosophical mainstays - Aspire, Develop, Achieve, and Unshakable. As it stands currently, Team Aspire hold the number one ranking with two victories from their first two games.
A combination of youth and experience has propelled Aspire to the top of the standings. U15 player Gracie Papson (U15 ECNL) was the breakout star of game 1, scoring an explosive hat-trick on route to a 4-2 win. In game 2, Emily Ehlert (U18 ECNL), playing in her final Champions League season with the club, led the way with 3 goals of her own as Aspire picked up their second win of the season.
The younger players are making a significant impact on the league this year, with Unshakable’s Alyssa Thomas (U15 ECNL) leading all scorers with 4 goals and 1 assist over the first 2 games. Her brace in a week 2 defeat is currently the difference as goals scored are all that keeps Unshakable in second place and holding on to a spot in the league championship game.
Team Develop lie in third place after a late winner in week 2 against Unshakable. Rachel Janes (U17 ECNL) grabbed the decisive goal with a neat control and finish. Marisa Grzesiak (U16 ECNL) was the driving force for Develop with 2 consecutive goals to break the deadlock and give them a 4-2 lead that would eventually be sealed by Janes.
Despite having two of the league’s top scorers, Achieve are the only team without a win so far. Caitlin Shilling (U18 ECNL) has 4 goals over two games, while Lilliah Blum (U16 ECNL) was shut out on week 1 but rebounded with a hat-trick in week 2. Achieve have been without some key defenders in the first two games, and so some good defensive performances coupled with their obvious firepower means they should not be ruled out just yet.
Overall the games have been fiercely competitive and enjoyable to watch. The experience for younger players to compete and play alongside senior players is a large part of the philosophy at FC Wisconsin, and those players have certainly risen to the challenge. The senior players are leading by example and as always set the standard for years to come. With one more round of games to go before the championship weekend, all teams know that one more push may be enough for a place in the final