Support Local Soccer Series: San Antonio Athenians, National Contenders

This feature is sponsored by Mia’s Mexican Grill. Family owned and located in San Antonio.

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We continue with Part 3 of our “Support Local Soccer Series” on the local soccer clubs of San Antonio that play semi-professionally at the lower league level. We profile our first women’s team of the series, The San Antonio Athenians Soccer Club. In 2021, the Athenians were UWS Southwest Conference Champions and made it to the UWS National Semi-Final. With a talented roster and adding UIW starters Keeley Ayala, Eve Clarkson and Sierra Wannamaker, the Athenians are looking to take the next step and win a UWS National Championship.

Kelley Ayala join Athenians for 2022. Photo by Soy SAF

The United States Soccer Association currently does not have promotion/relegation between the leagues, instead has a structure soccer pyramid of Leagues and Divisions that those leagues play in. For Women’s Soccer in the US, the NWSL is the top flight division in the United States, in 2023 the USL S-League will be sanctioned as second division and the UWS, USL W-League and WPSL are third division. There is also a fourth division for local leagues and other national leagues. Our local semi professional clubs play in the third division of the US Soccer pyramid. Many soccer players have developed in third and fourth divisions and moved on to NWSL, Europe, Liga MX Femenil and even National Team status.

Tell us a little bit about your club, when was it founded and brief history.

The San Antonio Athenians Soccer Club (SAASC) was created in 2016 and played it’s inaugural soccer season in 2017. SAASC features top players from the San Antonio area and beyond, including amateurs, collegiate, and future professional players. After a change in ownership prior to the 2021 season, SAASC moved to Soccer Central for home games. We compete in the UWS and are the current UWS Southwest Conference Champions.

What are the philosophy and values of the club?

Our mission is to promote, develop, and showcase the talent of our group of extraordinary women as they serve our community and excel on the pitch. SAASC is comprised of a diverse group of front office administration devoting their time and talents to fulfill a passion of growing the game exponentially. We also emphasize the importance of community service for our player, giving back to the community that supports us on the field.

Many small lower league clubs in Europe not only claim the city that are in but more so represent the neighborhood or side of town. Does your club represent a side of town or more a representation of the city?

We represent San Antonio as a whole and specifically all the girls who have dreams of going on to play professional soccer. We hope to give them an example to look to and a pathway to reach those goals.

Who is your current head coach and brief history on experience and what does the head coach bring to the club to help succeed?

The Athenians are led by Brazilian Head Coach Reinaldo Lima Sequiera. Reinaldo is a former professional player in his home country and has managed his former team Durango in Brazil, Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, Tigres Reserves and Academy, and the Necaxa reserves and academy. He holds a Brazilian A License in coaching.

Who are some notable current players on the roster? also can list their success, awards, experience, stats

This years roster features a blend of returning talent from the 2021 squad and newcomers who will raise the level even further. For full bios of all the players announced so far, visit here: https://www.sanantonioathenians.com/news-2

Having local stars on our team is crucial to our mission and the first 3 players we announced for 2022 represent this commitment:

Helene Farris, formerly of Smithson Valley High School and UTSA

Olivia Wright, formerly of Cornerstone Christian School, currently of Texas State University

Mia Wildeman, formerly of Maddison High School, currently of Nebraska University.

        -UWS First team all-region 2021

We have also made exciting additions to the team for this season. To highlight a few:

-Camellia Xu, Canadian GK currently of the University of Montana

        -Recent Canada U20 call-up

        -Big Sky Conference GK of the Year after a record setting 11 shutouts in a season

-Enzi Broussard from Dallas TX, formerly of West Virginia University and Washington State University

        -US Soccer Development Academy player of the year 2017

        -Big 12 all-freshman team 2019

Photo by Soy SAF

Some players have shown success in lower league soccer and moved on to play at a higher level and even professionally. Has your club developed any players or in the processing of developing any promising players to the next level?

Last season’s club captain Jamie Erickson is the latest former Athenian to make the jump to play professional, signing for Galway Women’s FC in Ireland this spring. She joins a list of former players who have gone on to play professionally, and we believe we have multiple future professionals in our current roster including youth national team regulars and top division 1 talent.

Where does the club call home? What field or stadium do you play in? What is match day experience like for fans and supporters? Are there amenities like concession stands, merch, or other things. Are matches free to attend or is there admission?

Soccer Central (6610 Low Bid Ln, San Antonio TX 78238). All league matches are free to attend! We regularly draw a lively crowd and the match day experience includes food trucks, tailgates with the Crocketteers, merchandise for purchase, halftime entertainment, and the best product on the field in the city for the women’s game!

How can a person or organization sponsor or donate to the club to help with league fees, operating costs and field a team?

If you are interested in contributing to the club, sponsoring us, or partnering with us in any way, please reach out to Ryan Figert, Media Director for the Athenians. You can reach him at ryanfigert@gmail.com

Our schedule for the 2022 UWS season is here: https://www.sanantonioathenians.com/2022-schedule-announcement

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