PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – The Florida Roots Futbol Club announced that they will have a women’s semi-pro soccer team for 2022.
The Women’s Premier Soccer League welcomed the Florida Roots team as they are the first expansion team for them ahead of next year.
“I’m very excited, this town I’ve always said is a soccer town, you just have to get in the town to know it’s a soccer town,” Arnold soccer player Lexy Griffin said. “I think we have proven many points with the boys winning state and the girls getting runner up and we have a a pool of great talent, that we are constantly building.”
The Florida Roots men’s team just finished up their first season in the NPSL last week. Those players said they were excited to have the women’s team join them.
“I’m sure straight off the rip they are gonna have double our fans but that’s ok, something to strive for,” Florida Roots player Andrew Beasley said.
The men’s team had a lot of community support for their first year and they hope the women’s team will get the same love for next summer too.
“I went to the first men’s game, and they had like smoke bombs and there was so many people out there and they were playing music and all the kids were there, and it was really nice to see everyone come together and just support that be so nice for everyone just to come together and support us when we go out there,” Arnold soccer player Zoe Looker said.
The women’s team will be mainly made up of local players, just like the men’s. Some of the players might still be in high school, others playing in college who are home for the summer.
“It is really cool you know um coming back and playing with my sister, I have never played with her before, that will be the first time we have ever played together so that will be a really cool moment, and even her whole group and being able to play with them that I have never played with and even girls I played with in high school or like you said against just being able to play against them and all the other teams in the WPSL,” former Arnold soccer player Gabriella Looker said.
More importantly, the addition of a women’s team gives the young female soccer players in the area something to strive for when they get older.
“I think its great, my daughter is supposed to be due in December so fingers crossed that one day she’ll be able to play for this club as well I mean she is gonna be born playing so that is what I’m looking forward to but I think it is really great for the area that the girls have equal rights for playing just like us,” Beasley said.
The league has not announced what conference the Roots will play in just yet, but local players want other teams to know, they haven’t seen what this Bay County team has to offer just yet.
“They definitely have more experience, and they are older, bigger, stronger maybe, but us being younger it gives us a lot to play for and we have a lot of potential, that we wanna show and it is gonna be exciting for us and we are gonna be the new team to deal with,” Griffin said.
The team will play their home matches at Tommy Oliver Stadium in the summer of 2022.