Regina’s UWS Team QC United begins inaugural season
Developing women’s soccer in Regina
Regina’s new United Women’s Soccer team QC United has begun its inaugural season, playing their first two games against the Calgary Hilltoppers.
The UWS is a dedicated developmental league that falls below the National Women’s Soccer League. Similar to the NBA Development League (now known as the G-League(, it was formed to help bridge the gap between the collegiate and professional leagues. The UWS features 23 teams grouped into four conferences. QC United will be competing in the Western conference alongside the LA Galaxy, Calgary Hilltoppers, Santa Clarita Blue Heat, and the Colorado Pride. Some UWS teams are affiliated with universities, while others serve as development teams to the pro league, but they all have one thing in common: they must support an all-ages development program.
In the case of QC United, this means that QC United runs programming from grassroots to the adult league. These teams all serve the purpose of developing soccer talent through the program in hopes of growing the sport and perhaps one day competing for the QC United UWS team. Another feature of the UWS league is that varsity players may compete without any danger to their eligibility. This allows education to continue alongside professional development. In this QC United is no exception, their UWS team joins the league with six University of Regina Cougar players on their roster.
Like any new team, QC United face many challenges joining an existing league, especially one filled with many talented international players. University of Regina fifth-year and QC United forward Sydney Langen understands this difficulty well.
“It’s going to be a tough season for sure because it’s our first year going into this league, but we’re ready to compete.”
It was indeed a rocky start for QC United. Their first game against the Calgary Hilltoppers at Regina Rugby Park ended in a tough 5-0 loss, with Canada U-20 team member Tanya Boychuk scoring four of the Hilltoppers five goals. Despite the loss, QC United bounced back against the Hilltoppers in Calgary the next weekend. In their second effort the end result was the same, but in a much closer 2-1 effort. In that loss, the team’s first goal was scored by University of Regina Cougar third-year Taylor Bubnick.
For Langen however, it’s not just about the results.
“Over the summer, teams and players don’t have a lot of opportunities to get touches on the ball and have the same high-quality practices and games. This is going to allow me to improve by getting more quality practice and experience playing with different girls.”
Langen believes that her time with QC United will certainly bring valuable experience to the six University of Regina Cougars on the roster.
“There is definitely a little bit higher level of players because we don’t get to play the women in the States very often. It’s going to be a challenge because they play different styles of the game so it will be good to see how we compare against them”
The opportunity to play for QC United also extends the career opportunities for varsity soccer players from across North America. The QC United roster features six Cougar athletes, but their roster also includes players from University of Saskatchewan Huskies, as well as other varsity programs in Canada and the United States. This career opportunity is one Langen relishes.
“Before I heard about this, university level was the ‘cut off’ in the sport for me – this definitely inspired me to push myself going into my fifth season with the Cougars, and now I can keep playing up to age 28 if I wish.”
QC United also means a lot for women’s soccer development in Regina. Langen’s ultimate hope is to inspire the next generation.
“If we can get as many youths out to our games [as possible], it will hopefully push them to play at a younger age and get them to the level we are at today.”
The UWS can also serve as a stepping-stone to higher level international competition. Although UWS does not pay the players for games, they do cover living and travel expenses, allowing athletes valuable experience that could prepare them to play higher level international soccer or in the professional league in the United States.
Even considering the team’s tough start to the season, for Langen, the team’s ultimate goal is clear.
“Everyone is here to compete and win.”
QC United will be back in action at the University of Regina in a doubleheader June 14 and 15 against the visiting LA Galaxy and Santa Clarita Blue Heat.