Motor City FC Makes 2019 a Season to Remeber

MCFC goalkeeper Bethany Kopel makes a spectacular save against Utah in the 2019 WPSL Championship Semifinal game in Stillwater, Utah. - Photo by Adam Luther - WPSL

MCFC goalkeeper Bethany Kopel makes a spectacular save against Utah in the 2019 WPSL Championship Semifinal game in Stillwater, Utah. - Photo by Adam Luther - WPSL

Motor City FC (MCFC) looks back on a spectacular 2019 season that saw them advancing to the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) National Championships.

MCFC cruised through the regular season, topping the Ohio Valley Conference with an impressive 9-0-1 record and 28 out of 30 points. The team scored 50 goals to their opponents three and Goalkeeper Bethany Kopel recorded seven shutouts.

The team advanced to the WPSL National Finals by winning the East Regional Tournament, hosted by MCFC in Pontiac, MI, with a 6-0 semifinal victory over Torch FC a stunning 4-2 overtime upset of reigning East Region champs the Chicago Red Stars Reserves.

The season ended earlier than hoped as MCFC failed to advance to the WPSL finals, losing the semifinal game to the Utah Royals FC Reserves on penalty kicks after a hard-fought draw through regulation and overtime periods.

“I am extremely proud of the dedication and determination of this talented team of players,” said Dr. Ned Fawaz, CEO and Owner of Motor City FC. “Our goal this season was to get to the WPSL Nationals and while we didn’t win the ultimate prize, we earned the respect of the league.”

Along the way MCFC won the inaugural Women’s Michigan Milk Cup sponsored by the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, defeating Grand Rapids FC (3-1) in the quarterfinals, Michigan Legends (4-0) in the semis and the Detroit Sun (6-0) in the finals.

While everyone on the team played an integral part in Motor City’s success there were a few standout players whose accomplishments ranked near the top of the league’s final stats for the 2019 season.

Malia Berkely and Alexa Spaanstra were tenth and eleventh in goals scored for the season with 13 and nine respectively. Yujie Zhao made the top 20 with 7 and Mariana Speckmaier was right behind Zhao in twenty-first with 7 goals scored in only 8 games.

Yujie was sixth in the league in assists with 7 and Courtney Jones joined a long list of players with 4 assists on the season.

Zhao and Spaanstra tied with three other players for eighth in total points with 21. Berkely was right behind them with 19.

Goalkeeper Bethany Kopel gave up only 3 goals during the regular season while recording 8 shutouts highlighted by a PK save against Torch FC during the East Regional Semifinals that kept the opponents off the scoreboard. Kopel also saved a PK in the game against Utah.

Berkely, Motor City FC rolling into championship weekend

Malia Berkley, who plays more of a defensive role with defending NCAA champion Florida State, has thrived moving forward this season at Motor City FC with nine goals scored. [JDN2 Photography]

Malia Berkley, who plays more of a defensive role with defending NCAA champion Florida State, has thrived moving forward this season at Motor City FC with nine goals scored. [JDN2 Photography]

By Thomas Clark, 07/18/19, 7:00AM CDT

(Editor's Note: MyCujoo, the official streaming partner of the WPSL, featured Malia Berkley as part of its #ShareYourGame campaign.

As Motor City FC prepares for its WPSL semifinal game against the Utah Royals FC Reserves on Friday, the team is looking to prove that it belongs among the WPSL elite.

Despite consistently stringing together strong regular season campaigns, the team will be playing in its first WPSL semifinal this weekend. Motor City clawed its way into championship weekend after a gritty come-from-behind win over the always formidable Chicago Red Stars Reserves. After Chicago went up 1-0 in the 44th minute, Motor City rallied to tie the game, 2-2, and ultimately pulled away with a 4-2 extra time victory.

The match marked the team’s most difficult test of the season. Motor City rolled through its regular season in the Ohio Valley Conference, finishing the season unbeaten and looked to ride its regular season momentum into postseason play.

Throughout the season, Motor City established itself as one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the WPSL, scoring 50 goals in 10 games. With a number of offensive threats such as Alexa Spaanstra (nine goals) and Yujie Zhao (seven goals, seven assists) wreaking havoc on opposing defenses, the team presents a number of dangerous offensive threats.

But none more formidable than forward Malia Berkely, who Aaron Byrd lauded for her growth as both a leader and competitor.

“Her mindset is in a totally different place than where she was two years ago,” Byrd said. “She is 100 percent committed to herself, her game, developing not only as a player but a leader.”

Berkely, a member of the United States Women’s U-23 squad, won the 2018 NCAA National Championship as a center back for the Florida State Seminoles.

Although Motor City has moved Berkley into more of an offensive role this season, she is bringing the same leadership qualities to the team. In 10 regular season matches, Berkely tallied nine goals for Motor City. Her individual performance speaks for itself, but Berkely views the team’s collective success as a direct result of the culture they have worked diligently to build.

“This season our team really came together as a whole,” Berkely said. “In the past we have had offensive players that have been dominant, but when we play now it’s as a team. The offense is good, the defense is solid and it’s just really come together this summer.”

Coming from various corners of the globe, Motor City’s roster has come together to build one of the most dynamic squads in the entire WPSL. If the team’s offensive prowess was not impressive enough, Motor City also boasts one of the most dominant defensive lines in the country.

In 10 games, Motor City has only conceded a remarkable three goals. Because of strong leadership and communication, the team has proven to be nearly impossible to score on.

Much of that communication comes directly from goalkeeper Bethany Kopel, who has been masterful all season, accumulating one of the top goals against averages of any keeper in the league.

As the team looks ahead to their matchup against Utah Royals FC Reserves, Byrd has lauded his team’s depth and talent. With a combination of star players and complimentary pieces, perhaps no one should be surprised the team has reached such a high level of success.

“If you look at our roster, the talent we have is up with anybody in the league,” Byrd said. “On paper it looks great, but at the end of the day you have to put it on the field. All season long they have done a fantastic job of executing what we are trying to do.”

Execution will be critical in the team’s next two games, but at this point the mission is simple: two more wins and Motor City will be crowned WPSL Champion.

Article reposted from www.wpslsoccer.com

Motor City FC Advances to the WPSL Finals

Motor City FC heads to Oklahoma City, OK to play for the WPSL National Championship.

Motor City FC heads to Oklahoma City, OK to play for the WPSL National Championship.

Motor City FC (MCFC) advances to the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) National Finals with a 4-2 overtime victory over the Chicago Red Stars Reserves on Sunday, July 14, 2019 at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, MI.

Motor City faced off against a talented Red Stars side with both teams trading chances and playing to a scoreless tie through most of the first half.

Chicago found themselves down a player in the 40’ after receiving a red card on an unsportsmanlike conduct call.

The Red Stars scored first on a PK in the 44’ heading into the locker room leading MCFC 1-0 at half time.

Alexa Spaanstra evened the score at 1-1 in the 53’ of the second half, netting the first of a pair of goals on a PK, the 1-1 tie holding through the rest of regulation, sending the contest into overtime.

Motor City took the lead ten minutes into the first overtime period as Spaanstra netted her second of the match, taking a pass from Courtney Peterson, moving the ball around a Chicago defender to get into the open, and blasting a shot that sailed over the Chicago keeper’s head into the top of the net.

Yujie Zhao gave MCFC a cushion at the 104’ mark, taking a pass from Grace Doran and sending a high shot that ricocheted in off the cross bar down into the net.

The Red Stars came out strong in the second overtime adding a goal within the first 20 seconds, but MCFC iced the game at the 110’ mark when Kenna White settled a bouncing ball, moved around two Chicago defenders and shot the ball back across the goal just out of the reach of the Red Stars keeper to give MCFC a 4-2 lead that would hold until the final whistle blew.

Motor City FC will travel to Oklahoma City, OK for the WPSL National Semifinals on Friday, July 19, 2019 to face one of the winners of the other three WPSL divisions.

Winners from Friday’s games will face off on Sunday, July 21 with the winner crowned 2019 WPSL Champion.

Game times, location and streaming information will be coming soon.

MCFC Advances to the WPSL East Regional Finals

Alexa Spaanstra logged a pair of goals and an assist in a 6-0 decision over Torch FC in the WPSL East Regional Semifinals. #JDN2Photography

Alexa Spaanstra logged a pair of goals and an assist in a 6-0 decision over Torch FC in the WPSL East Regional Semifinals. #JDN2Photography

Motor City FC moves on to the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) East Regional Finals after as 6-0 decision over Torch FC on Saturday, July 13, 2019 at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac. MI.

Yujie Zhao put Motor City FC on the board in the 15’ taking a pass from Alexa Spaanstra and sailing the ball past the keeper for the score.

Spaanstra would add her first of a pair of goals in the 35’ on a beautiful feed from Autumn Smithers, with Spaanstra outracing the Torch defense and placing a shot just out of reach of the Torch keeper.

Spaantra struck again a minute later scoring unassisted.  Jaelin Howell’s unassisted goal in the 37’ gave the Motor City side a 4-0 advantage at half time.

MCFC had plenty of chances in the second half, unable to finish until Tamea Douglas added a pair of goals late in the period.

The first came on a pass from Sarah Clark to Yujie Zhao who directed the ball to Douglas in the box.  Douglas’ shot rolled under the keeper’s arm into the corner of the net.

The second saw Yujie Zhao field the goal kick from Kopel, bringing the ball up the right wing and sending a pass into the box with a charging Douglas beating both the Torch defender and keeper to the ball, directing a shot off the outside of her right foot into the net.

The Player of the Match honors had to go to Motor City FC goalkeeper Bethany Kopel , who’s outstanding play kept the Torch off the scoreboard.

Kopel turned aside a Torch Penalty Kick in the 85’, moving to her left to push the ball away from the goal and smothering the rebound.

Two minutes later a Torch midfielder lobbed a high shot from the center line into the box. The ball came down between two Motor City defenders bouncing high into the air where it was headed toward the net by the Torch forward and steered just wide by Kopel’s outstretched arm.  

Motor City faces off against the Chicago Red Stars FC on Sunday for the WPSL East Regional finals on Sunday at 1:00 pm at Ultimate Soccer Arena’s in Pontiac, MI.

The winner advances to the WPSL Nationals in Oklahoma City on July 17.

WPSL East Regional Playoff Games LIVE on MyCujoo

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The 2019 Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) East Regional Playoff games on Saturday and Sunday July 13-14, 2019 at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, MI will be streamed LIVE on MyCujoo.tv.

Saturday’s July 13 match between the Chicago Red Stars Reserves vs NJ Wizards SC Cedar Stars at 9:00 am EDT will be available at: https://mycujoo.tv/video/motor-city-fc?id=69421

The second Saturday matchup at 11:00 am EDT between Motor City FC vs Torch FC at 11:00 EDT will be available at: https://mycujoo.tv/video/motor-city-fc?id=69422

Sunday’s 1:00 pm EDT final Playoff match between the winners of Saturday’s games will be available at: https://mycujoo.tv/video/motor-city-fc?id=69423

Motor City FC to host WPSL East Division Championships

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Motor City FC (MCFC), the 2019 Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) Ohio Valley Conference Champions will host the East Division Playoffs at Ultimate Soccer Arenas, 867 S Blvd E, Pontiac, MI 48341, on Saturday, July 13 and Sunday July 14, 2019.

Four WPSL Conference Champions from the East Region will face off on Saturday.

The New Jersey Wizards will play The Chicago Red Stars Reserves at 9:00 am and Motor City FC will play Pennsylvania’s Torch FC at 11:00 am.

The winning teams will face off on Sunday at 1:00 pm with the winner travelling to Oklahoma for the WPSL Nationals.

Admission is $5.00 for adults. 12 and under get in free.

Motor City FC Clinches 2019 WPSL Ohio Valley Conference

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Motor City FC clinched the 2019 Ohio Valley Conference Championship with an 8-0 road win over the Ann Arbor Lumberjills at Saline High School on Sunday, July 7, 2019.

Malia Berkely and Yujie Zhao lead the team in scoring with a pair of hat tricks.

Berkely got the visitors on the board in the 5’ on an unassisted goal, adding a pair in the second half in the 47’ on an assist from Sarah Clark, following up 3 minutes later on a assist from Maddie Myers.

Zhao got her first in the 17’ on an assist from Tamea Douglas adding a second in the 27’ assisted by Alexa Spaanstra and a third in the 64’ on an assist from Paige Laberge.

Alexa Spaanstra rounded out the scoring with a pair of goals in the 68’ assisted by Megan Buckingham and the 89’ with an assist from Yujie Zhao.

Motor City FC, undefeated on the season with a record of 9-0-1, will host the WPSL East Regional Playoffs on July 13 and 14, 2019 at Ultimate Soccer Arenas, 867 S Blvd E, Pontiac, MI 48341.

More information to come.

Motor City FC Heads to Michigan Milk Cup Finals

Alexa Spaanstra (center in red) scored a pair of goals, including a penalty kick, as Motor City FC bested Michigan Legends in the Women’s Michigan Milk Cup semifinal match. JDN2 Photography

Alexa Spaanstra (center in red) scored a pair of goals, including a penalty kick, as Motor City FC bested Michigan Legends in the Women’s Michigan Milk Cup semifinal match. JDN2 Photography

Motor City FC defeated the Michigan Legends FC 4- 0 at Legacy Sports Complex in Brighton, MI on Tuesday, June 25 to advance to the finals for the Women’s Michigan Milk Cup.

MCFC faced a talented Legends club who traded chances with the visiting MCFC squad, playing scoreless soccer until Michelle Cooper found the back of the net in the 37’ to give MCFC a one goal lead.

Cooper’s left-footer from 15 yards out, that arced over the Legends keeper up into the corner of the net, would be the only score in the first half.

MCFC took control of the game in the second half with several quality chances that were either scooped up by the Legends keeper or blocked by a Legends defender.

Alexa Spaanstra added the second goal for MCFC in the 58’ on a penalty kick after being fouled in the box.

Spaanstra placed the kick to her left, the ball careening off the left post rolling behind the Legends keeper, hitting the right post and bouncing back into the net to give MCFC a 2-0 advantage.

Yujie Zhao put MCFC up 3-0 in the 73’ taking a beautiful lead pass from Malia Berkely and directing the ball past the Legends keeper into the net.

Alexa Spaanstra finished the scoring for Motor City, added her second goal in the 82’ on a pass from Kenna White.

Motor City advances to the finals to face the Detroit Sun with the winner taking the Michigan Milk Cup and the $5,000 Grand Prize.

Date, time and location of the Championship Game will be announced.

Motor City FC Routs Ann Arbor 13-0

Malia Berkely was one of six Motor City players who scored a pair of goals each in the game against the Ann Arbor Lumberjills. JDN2 Photography

Malia Berkely was one of six Motor City players who scored a pair of goals each in the game against the Ann Arbor Lumberjills. JDN2 Photography

Motor City FC was back to their winning ways with an impressive 13-0 romp over the visiting Ann Arbor Lumberjills.

MCFC was on the scoreboard early in the third minute as Courtney Jones took a nice feed pass from Alexa Spaanstra and put the left foot shot past the keeper into the net.

Megan Buckingham added the second goal in the 10’ with a hard shot from 15 yards out that sailed over the keeper’s head into the net. Sarah Triccoli got the assist.

Malia Berkely made it 3-0 in the 35’ as she took a pass from Michelle Cooper, moved the ball around an Ann Arbor defender and placedut the ball past the keeper.

Sarah Triccoli finished off the first half scoring with an unassisted goal in stoppage time, weaving between three Lumberjill defenders directing the right foot shot past the keeper.

Michelle Cooper opened the second half scoring in the 51’ as she took the ball from mid-field past three Ann Arbor defenders and deposited it into the net past the keeper.

Trocolli netted her second of the match in the 60’ as Megan Buckingham lofted a pass over the Ann Arbor defense onto the left foot of Triccoli whose arcing shot sailed over the keeper’s head.

Alexa Spaanstra got her first goal in the 64’ as Paige Laberge fed a nice crossing pass to an open Spaanstra who worked the ball around the Ann Arbor keeper into the net.

Courtney Jones netted her second goal of the match in the 71’ as she took a pass from Paige Laberge, worked herself into the open and placed her shot past the keeper.

Spaanstra netted her second of the match in the 77’ as Jones shot careened off the post with the rebound coming directly to Spaanstra who redirected it into the net.

Malia Berkely added her second of the match in the 79’. Mouse Kovacs intercepted the ball at midfield, passing the ball to Paige Laberge who spun around the Ann Arbor defender passing the ball to Berkley who set up the left footer from five yards out.

Paige Laberge made it 11-0 in the 82’ on a beautiful play from Courtney Jones to Berkely to Laberge who put the ball into the net.

Laberge added her second goal of the match in the 85’ on a nice pass from Courtney Jones, working her way around the Ann Arbor defender and into the net.

Michelle Cooper scored the 13th and final goal in the 88’ intercepting a goal kick and putting the ball past the keeper.

Motor City FC is on the road this weekend visiting the Cincinnati Sirens on Saturday, June 22 at 7:00 PM at Lakota West High School and facing off against the Dayton Dutch Lions on Sunday, June 23 at 7:00 PM at West Carrolton High School.

MCFC Bank Another Winning Weekend

Mariana Speckmaier added a trio of goals over the wekend to lead the team with five on the season.

Mariana Speckmaier added a trio of goals over the wekend to lead the team with five on the season.

Motor City FC (MCFC) continued its winning streak with a pair of 6-0 wins over the Dayton Dutch Lions and Cincinnati Sirens respectively in a weekend double header at Hurley Field in Berkley, Michigan.

MCFC took to the pitch on Saturday, June 8 to face the visiting Dayton Dutch Lions.

The home team was on the board 18 seconds into the game as Mariana Speckmaier took the ball away from the Dayton keeper on a mishandled pass from a Dayton defender, passing the ball to Courtney Jones whose shot ricocheted off the crossbar into the net.

Jones netted her second in the 8’ with an assist from Sarah Clark who fed the ball to Jones in the corner. Jones’ shot, from a very tough angle, arced into the upper corner of the net.

Michaela (Mouse) Kovacs gave the home team a 3-0 advantage in the 19t’ heading a Yujie Zhao corner kick past the Dayton keeper.

The teams headed into the locker room at half time with Motor City up 3-0.

MCFC kept the pressure on in the second half, testing the Dayton keeper on several occasions, before adding their fourth goal of the match in the 61’ on a penalty kick from Mariana Speckmaier who was fouled in the box as she fought for the ball in front of the goal.

Speckmaier added her second goal of the match in the 74’ on a shot from 30 yards out that sailed just over the reach of the Dayton keeper and into the top of the net. Tamae Douglas was credited with the assist..

Yujie Zhao finished the scoring with a perfectly placed free kick from 20 yards out in the 74’ giving the home team a 6-0 decision at the final whistle.

The Motor City squad took on the Cincinnati Sirens on Sunday afternoon delivering another 6-0 performance.

Tamea Douglas scored both opening-half goals for Motor City, the first, coming in the 4’ on a redirection of a Yujie Zhao corner kick that got past the Dayton keeper.

Douglas’s second goal came four minutes later on a cross from Jaelin Howell that was headed past the keeper.

MCFC kept the pressure on in the second half with the Cincy keeper making saves on shots from Sarah Clark (50’), Zhao (60’), Michelle Cooper (61’) and a rocket from Mariana Speckmaier that ricocheted off the crossbar.

Cooper found the back of the net in the 67’ with an assist from Courtney Jones to give the home team a 3-0 advantage.

The home team kept up the assault with Courtney Peterson’s 25-yard blast careening off the crossbar and a point-blank rocket off the foot of Cooper that was rejected by the Cincy keeper.

Malia Berkely added a pair of goals, the first, in the 74’’ on a 30-yard shot that found the corner of the net with an assist from Megan Buckingham.

Her second of the match came four minutes later on a left foot shot that sailed past the keeper into the upper corner. Yujie Zhao earned the assist.

Mariana Speckmaier finished the scoring with the sixth, and final, goal of the match, as her shot scooted under the Cincy keeper into the net.

Motor City FC heads out on the road next weekend to face the Cleveland Ambassadors on Saturday, June 15 at 7:00 PM at Nordonia High School in Macedonia, OH and the Columbus Eagles on Sunday, June 16 at 5:00 PM at Otterbein University in Westerville, OH.