Sioux Falls City Football Club lays solid foundation in first year

WPSL expansion team builds culture and fan following
New soccer team growing culture and fan base
Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 10:00 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Sioux Falls City FC hasn’t been playing like a team that’s only spent a couple of months together. Having won four of their seven games and sitting 4th in the WPSL Northern Conference, it’s been more than a successful first season for the team.

But that success started early on in the planning stages of City’s existance, as head coach Dale Wiler said the staff was deciding what qualities they wanted to see from their players.

“We had lots of meetings prior to discuss who we are, what’s important. What’s the make-up of a Sioux Falls City player, what are our core values.” Weiler said.

Just like the rest of the team, Taylor Thomas said they didn’t know what was in store for their first season together.

“One that we didn’t know, like quite what to expect. But it’s been a great showing so far. I feel like the more that we’ve been together, the closer that we’ve gotten on the pitch and off. It’s definitely helped us.” Thomas said.

For McKenna Lehman, this is her first true experience playing with college players. The recent high school gradute and St. Thomas commit said it was daunting at first, but it’s been eye-opening.

“Going to that college level coming from high school, it’s completely different. But it’s been very welcoming, and just because of the girls everything has been great.” Lehman said.

Thomas and Lehman said they knew that lack of experience together as a team would be a tall hurdle to overcome. So they value the guidance from their coaches, as well as their experiences as players.

“The other teams in our league, they’ve been already together for quite some time. So that was definitely something that we had to overcome. And honestly, we’re still getting through it. It takes a lot of time to build that chemistry.” Thomas said.

“I think we have a good style of play that Coach Dale has engraved in our mind so far. Everybody’s been kind of smart with that and being able to play together as one.” Lehman said.

“They’re very purposeful on coming off and saying, ‘Hey, what did you think about this?’ Or talking with their teammates, ‘Hey, there was this moment. Why didn’t it work well, or how could we improve next time?’ Or to say that was a great moment, let’s continue to do that.” Weiler said.

All of that effort to build a culture isn’t short-term. Weiler said the team’s vision is constantly fixed on the future. That means taking the next step forward for the team means a solid foundation is needed now.

“The vision of the club in five to 10 years is to have professional soccer here. I’ve said that a few times I know. But knowing that, they have a sense of responsibility to say, ‘Hey, this is sometimes bigger than me.’” Weiler said.

For now, City have one game left in their inagural season. But no matter the outcome, it’s been a successful one on and off the pitch.

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