Professional

The landscape of professional soccer in the Washington, DC continues to evolve just as the landscape for professional soccer throughout the country continues to evolve. The first professional soccer team in DC was the Washington Diplomats of the NASL era (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Soccer_League).  They were in existence from 1974 until finally disbanding in 1981.  Arguably, their most famous players were all Dutch.  The legendary Johann Cruyff, the current coaching legend Guus Hiddink, and Thomas Rongen were all members of the team at one point or another.  The DC area knows Thomas Rongen very well, not only for his playing days, but also for his time as head coach of DC United from 1999-2001. In his first year with DC United they went on to win the MLS Supporters Shield and MLS Cup.

Before the 2011 Women’s Professional Soccer season began (www.womensprosoccer.com) the Washington Freedom changed owners, who promptly changed their name to magicJack and moved them to Boca Raton, Florida.  Additionally, Real Maryland FC are now playing in the PDL and therefore no longer have professional status.  Fairly local Crystal Palace Baltimore, who were competing in the USL 2nd Division in 2010 also went on hiatus and as of September 2011 have not announced any plans to return.  In good news for the Washington, DC area, the DC United Women were created to replace the loss of the Washington Freedom.  They began competing in 2011 in the USL W-League (www.wleague.uslsoccer.com), which is the division below the WPS.

Washington is home to an original Major League Soccer club, D.C. United, which began play at RFK Stadium in 1996. One of the most popular teams in the league, and the most successful (with twelve major trophies won domestically and at international level), United has won four MLS Cups, including three of the first four played. They also won the U.S. Open Cup in their first year, and again in 2008. To view their website for further information, please visit (www.dcunited.com).

The Washington Freedom are a professional women’s soccer team that was part of the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA). Following the WUSA’s demise, the team continued as an associate member of the W-League playing their home games at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown. The Freedom became an original team in Women’s Professional Soccer in its inaugural 2009 season. To view their website for further information, please visit (www.washingtonfreedom.com).

DC United Women (www.dcunitedwomen.com) are an affiliate of DC United and have a partnership with the Northern Virginia Majestics (www.novafc.org/women/index_E.html), a women’s professional team that also competes in the USL W-League.  The DC United Women play their home games at the Maryland SoccerPlex (www.mdsoccerplex.org/), a major sports facility that also hosts adult and youth amateur outdoor and indoor soccer leagues throughout the year.

Professional indoor soccer has been around DC for a significant amount of time.  The top indoor team in the area for a short period was the Washington Warthogs, who competed in the CISL from 1994-1997. They were popular not only for their top male players, Dante Washington and Denison Cabral, but also for signing women players to play for the team, including US Women’s National Team star Kristine Lilly.  The Baltimore Blast (www.baltimoreblast.com/) is a team that currently competes in the MISL.  They play their home games at 1st Mariner Arena in downtown Baltimore and attracted nearly 7,000 fans per game in the 2010-11 season in which they finished first place in the league regular season standings.

 

 

DC United DC United

Washington Freedom Washington Freedom