FLINT, Michigan — On their last home game of the season, the Flint City AFC pulled off a tough 2-0 victory over the Racing Louisville FC team. Although the young AFC squad managed to take home the win, the short-player team played conservatively throughout the match.
Without subs to relieve the on-field players, AFC remained on defense for most of the first half. Then, led by a focused goalie Maciah Lipsey, the Flint women’s soccer team deflected several scoring attempts from a persistent Louisville squad. But, staying attentive, the AFC only took promising shots on goal against their opponent.
“In that situation, you’re forced to only strike during the right opportunities,” explained Eddie Hudson, Co-Owner of AFC and father to star player Zoe Hudson. “You have to reserve your energy and play smart.”
According to Hudson, the team learned they’d be three players down just a couple of hours before the match began. As a result, the AFC coaching staff designed a different game plan which their players executed well.
Once the match’s second half began, AFC reversed roles on the Louisville squad that attempted to take full advantage of their roster. Suddenly, RLFC became the non-aggressors taking moderate scoring attempts against a renewed AFC group that now charged up the pitch on nearly every play.
“In that situation, you’re forced to only strike during the right opportunities.” - Eddie Hudson, Co-Owner of AFC.
Late in the contest, Flint City finally broke through with a score that changed the game’s momentum. In minute 78:00 of the match, striker Autumn Weeks exploded past a crowd of RLFC defenders, making it a solo challenge for the opposing goalkeeper.
Moments later, teammate Mallory Glass followed with a powerful strike at the net, boosting her squad’s confidence even more.
With under ten minutes to play in regulation, forward Patricia Ward scored the deciding goal after being denied on her attempt just a few plays prior. Ward maneuvered past exposed RLFC goalkeeper Katie Lund to the left then center of the net before scoring Flint’s last goal of their final match at Atwood Stadium this season.
Defeating the third-ranked team in a competitive USLW league shows character and resilience for the Flint City AFC in their first season together. Hudson believes the team will improve next year as the club’s actively seeking new talent to their roster. Still, Hudson admits, “there’s still some work to be done.”
The organization recently acquired Oliva Thomas, a high school senior who has already signed a full scholarship to the University of North Carolina – one of the nation’s top women’s college soccer programs.
“I think she’ll be a very exciting part of the team next year,” boasts Flint City AFC President Costa Papista. “She’s young, but she’s fantastic!”
Defeating the third-ranked team shows character and resilience for the Flint City AFC in their first season together.
Flint City AFC still has ties to its original team Corktown AFC, which now acts as a player pool for Hudson and other staff to scout athletes.
What’s unique but also challenging for the Flint women’s soccer team is that most group members are spread out in different cities, unlike some other squads in their Great Lakes division.
Without the advantage of practicing together regularly, it may take some time for them to be in sync. Yet, with the determination and tactical fullness displayed thus far, Flint City may be a team for other clubs to watch next season.
Whatever the outcome, fans will undoubtedly remain supportive of the Flint City Bucks sister squad because of the demand for AFC and the popularity amongst women in the sport, according to the team President.
He recalled some allocates given by former soccer players from the community, including compliments from Andrea Brimmer, Chief Marketing Officer of Ally Financial, and a former soccer player that played her high school championship at Atwood Stadium.
“The fans have been asking since day one, ‘when are you going to add a women’s team?’ There is at least an equal number of girls playing soccer as there are boys in this country,” said Papista, referencing thousands of female soccer players in Genesee County alone.
For more information on the Flint City AFC, visit: flintcityafc.com