Hoping to improve on last season’s 0-6-4 record, the Tri-City Celtics open their second season in the Women’s Premier Soccer League with a road game today.
“Playing last year should help,” said Celtics coach Tom Rogan. “But what this is is a chance for college players to get some experience in the offseason.”
As the women’s senior team of the Clifton Park-based NY Elite FC — founded by former Shenendehowa All-American and MLS player Miles Joseph — the Celtics are made up of former Suburban Council players, with a few others mixed in.
Rogan is familiar with the players not only from the club level, but in his position as head coach at Bethlehem.
“Most of these players are ones I coached or coached against at the high school level, and have coached in club soccer,” said Rogan, who with his brother, Paul, serves as the girls’ co-coaching director for NY Elite.
That familiarity has helped the team prepare for this afternoon’s game against The Rhode Island Reds in Cranston, R.I.
“With the players finishing up school at different times, it limits what you can do, as far as working out as a team,” Rogan said. “You’re not trying to install any new system or anything. It’s a short season, only 10 games, so you don’t really have a lot of time to do that.
“You know what players are available, and work from there.
The league has a diverse collection of teams that roster a unique mixture of players — high school seniors preparing for college, collegiate athletes and graduates.
The Celtics’ 30-player roster includes goalkeepers Katie Nickles (Bethlehem, Rhode Island) and Liz Rogan (Saratoga Springs, Siena).
Shenendehowa, Niskayuna, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Colonie, Guilderland and Averill Park graduates are also on the roster, as are Schenectady High School career goal-scoring leader Gab Santorino, Max Culhane of Scotia-Glenville and Emily Downie of Albany Academy.
Rogan can dress 18 players on game day.
“You’re going to have players who miss games because of other commitments, so there’s some flexibility,” he said.
The Celtics play in the Mid-Atlantic Division along with Rhode Island, the CFC (Connecticut) Passion, Buffalo-based Empire State Revolution, the Syracuse Lady Knights and the Yankee Lady FC (another Connecticut team). The teams play each other twice.
The Celtics will use Lansingburgh High School for their first two home games — next Saturday and Sunday — and their June 28 home finale, and will play at the Plumeri Sports Complex on June 8 and 21.
“The travel isn’t bad, everything is within driving distance,” said Rogan, whose team plays its first nine games on either a Saturday or Sunday. “And it’s nothing the girls’ haven’t done before, playing at the top club level.”
Today — at Rhode Island, 2.
May 31 — vs. Connecticut Passion, at Lansingbugh H.S., 2.
June 1 — vs. Syracuse, at Lansingburgh H.S., 5.
June 7 — at Connecticut, 2.
June 8 — vs. Buffalo, at Plumeri Sports Complex, 2.
June 21 — vs. Rhode Island, at Plumeri Sports Complex, 2.
June 22 — at Syracuse, 3.
June 28 — vs. Yankee Lady FC, at Lansingburgh H.S., 2.
July 6 — at Buffalo, 2.
July 9 — at Yankee Lady FC, 6:30.