Florida Gulf Coast Dutch Lions prepare for 2nd season
Soccer fans in Southwest Florida can get ready to kick down the door on the sophomore season of the Florida Gulf Coast Dutch Lions.
Competing in the Sunshine Conference of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL), fanatics can come support the second highest level of women’s soccer in the country.
Founded in 1997, the WPSL is the largest women’s soccer league in the world, with 108 teams across the United States and Puerto Rico.
With 2017 as it’s inaugural season, Dutch Head Coach and Director of Soccer Operations Vincent de Weger is ready to embark on another season with the Dutch Lions.
“It was for sure a successful first year” said de Weger. “We had one player go on a trial to The Netherlands (Monique Elliot), we broke the attendance record in our conference and we had back to back wins in the first two weeks.”
The Dutch Lions are looking to improve on a 4-4-1 season last year, and coach de Weger loves to see the turn out at the matches each weekend.
“Last year we finished middle-of-the-pack. This year, it is a huge goal for us to finish in the top 3. Besides that, we want to lose less and win more, it’s that simple. We also want to break the attendance record for the second year in a row, and run a smooth organization.”
The team is comprised of international and home grown talent, from the players up to the coaching staff and team managers.
Dutch, Brazilian, Austrian and American players and coaches are all represented on the 2018 edition of the club.
A calendar year has without question done a lot for the recruiting process of the Dutch Lions, and de Weger is pleased with how the team is widening its net.
“We had try-outs in March and April. Besides that I have had several meetings with girls that visited our games last year and well known coaches in this area to strengthen up the team. We have 40 percent of our players returning from last year. This is because of the fact that this coming season is our second year and we have made some improvements in recruiting college athletes.”
Florida Atlantic University standouts Jessica Monteiro and Alex Maxson are new editions to the team this summer according to the Dutch Lions website, both are Florida natives.
Th team’s season-opening weekend is June 2 and 3, with home matches against Pinellas County United SC (4 p.m.), and Tampa Bay United (1 p.m.).
Coach de Weger is always excited for a fresh start and a blank slate to achieve new heights.
“Our home-opener weekend is always a great moment for the club. But the whole season is always a great moment to see how we perform and if we can improve from last year’s efforts.”
The club is also providing youth training and classes for youngsters.
“We have a Youth Academy with teams in the age groups of 5-19 years old, and we run a Lion Cubs Program for players of 3 and 4 years old. We try to play on the Dutch way with high pressure, lots of dribbling and passing and attractive soccer. We work with international coaches who all are licensed by USSF or UEFA,” added de Weger.
All home games for the Dutch Lions are played at North Fort Myers Community Park at 2000 N. Recreation Park Way in North Fort Myers.
For more information about the club, visit its website at fgcdlfc.com.