Alabama Soccer is well represented in the Women’s Premier League and Ligue 1 this summer, with Riley Mattingly, Reyna Reyes and Aislyn Straitschek covering the league.
The Women’s Premier League (WPSL) turns 23.rd season this year. Recognized by the NCAA and sanctioned by the US Senior Soccer Association—an affiliate of US soccer’s governing body, the US Soccer Federation—the league is a permanent home to collegiate, post-collegiate, elite club and international players. With 141 active teams, although little known outside of the football community, the league is a big deal in NCAA athlete summer training programs.
Riley Mattingly – now Riley Parker – is back for a second season in WPSL. Parker previously played for SouthStar FC, a team from Texas. Parker played for SouthStar in 2019 before dropping out of the WPSL for two seasons, in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in 2021 after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament during the spring season in Alabama. Parker said that after a brief hiccup at the start of the 2022 season, her knee is doing well and she is trying to get rid of the corset for the 2022 WPSL season.
Parker and her husband – a former football player from Alabama – moved to Alabama, so Parker moved to the Alabama Football Club for the 2022 WPSL season. Parker and Alabama FC played four games 3-0-1. This season, Parker has scored four goals and provided one assist. FC Alabama is second in the Southeastern Conference behind the Nashville Rhythm.
Parker continues to return to the WPSL to stay in shape during the off-season.
“It’s a great way to start the game and get touches on the ball,” said Parker. “It’s nice to play with other players you don’t usually play with, so it’s fun to make new friends and see how you can fit into a different playstyle.”
FC Alabama boasts several NCAA players from Auburn, Mississippi, Ole Miss, UAB and Parker representing the University of Alabama.
Reina Reyes, recently named active CONCACAF roster for Mexico women’s teamagrees that being in the WPSL is a great opportunity for NCAA players to keep fit and get touched during the off-season.
Reyes scored two goals in four games for Dallas, the Dallas affiliate of Major League Soccer. Reyes and Dallas are in first place in the North Division of the Red River Conference with a 4-0-0 record.
Reyes says he takes the opportunity while playing WPSL “to try new things like [different] skills [and] shoot more often” as she works to continue her development as a player.
Reyes is aiming to turn pro after the 2022 Alabama football season and hopes her time in the WPSL will help her along the journey.
“WPSL can help these plans because you never know who is watching or who is participating, which can help you later,” Reyes said. “It also helps you get used to playing with new players, a new manager and new opponents, fighting for a place to play, which is what you would do after turning pro with a brand new team, league and manager.”
Reyes says she loves that WPSL gives her the opportunity to play “high-level 11-on-11 football” as she prepares for the fall season with Crimson Tide.
Aislin Streichek plays for TSS Rovers in BC’s newly formed league, Ligue 1, which is affiliated with the WPSL.
Strachek said a big part of her decision to play this summer had to do with the formation of Ligue 1.
“It’s great to be part of something that gives women the opportunity to play at a semi-professional level. [soccer] in British Columbia,” Strachek said.
Strachek, like Parker and Reyes, appreciates the opportunity to play with other elite women from different schools and regions of America. Strachek played for the Vancouver Whitecaps, a Major League Soccer affiliate of the Whitecaps, and was delighted to play with old clubmates at TCC Rovers. Strachek says it’s “a lot of fun” to play with old teammates and that she also “plays in a league that’s competitive.” [while] work on a championship at the end of the summer.”
Strachek scored two goals, including this kick from a distanceand the TSS Rovers women’s team is third in Ligue 1. Strachek also made the Ligue 1 Women’s Team of the Week this season.
Until the season returns to the Alabama football complex in the fall, Alabama football fans can rest assured that the Crimson Tide boasts strong players after a successful summer league run.