Published May 13, 2022
Written By:   Andrew Mosier
              Central Region Contributor

Friday, May 13th is a night of many firsts for the Wasatch Division of the WPSL's Mountain Conference.

For the first time in league history, Utah will boast its own division featuring five teams all within 150 miles of Salt Lake City competing for the Wasatch Division title and the right to face off against the winner of the Colorado-based Rockies Division for the Mountain Conference title.

Two clubs with longstanding ties on the youth level, La Roca FC and the Utah Avalanche, will make their WPSL debuts alongside two of the region's most tenured clubs – the Utah Red Devils and the Utah Arrows SC, both entering their fourth WPSL season. The Wasatch Division is rounded out by the Utah Surf, playing in its second WPSL season.

Division play kicks off the eight-match schedule Friday with a doubleheader featuring the Red Devils versus the Surf, followed by the league debut of the Avalanche as it travels to the Arrows.

For the Avalanche, this match has been a long time coming since the club was founded in 2001 as an all-girls competitive soccer club. Since then, the club has grown to more than 1,600 competitive players competing in both boys and girls local, regional, and national leagues.


"Our club has produced so many good players, so many college players, particularly on the women's side over the years, we wanted to offer them the opportunity to continue to develop after they moved on from youth soccer," David Newman, Avalanche executive director said. "Adding a WPSL team is part of the club's long-term plan. We want to be able to provide a pathway for our players beyond youth soccer. It's a natural progression."


Once word got out that the Avalanche was fielding its first WPSL team, Newman said the club was flooded with inquiries from players from across the country wanting the opportunity to represent the club this summer.


"I was really surprised by the number of people with no ties to the club who were looking for a place to play this summer," Newman said. "I'm glad we are finally able to offer an opportunity, not only for our former youth players, but for players from the local college teams, and players finished with college. We want this to really be a place they want to come and play."


And Newman said there was just as much interest in the coaching job as there was from players.


"Our biggest challenge yet was figuring out who was going to coach," Newman said. "Everyone's hand went up. 'I want to do it! I want to do it!' It was a much more difficult decision than I initially thought it would be."


Trevor Wachsman, an area director for the club, was handed the reins of the club for its debut season.


"We've assembled an incredible collection of players. It's a good mix of some of college, post-college, and some of our best youth players," Wachsman said. "This is an incredibly talented group. We've got players from every stage of their career."


Wachsman says the club has its sights set on winning the division and even set a team goal at the beginning to reach the conference title match and face one of the Colorado teams. 


"We hope.. we think, we will be able to compete for the division title," Wachsman said. "Based on the players we have, and from what I have seen of the league, I really do think we have a shot."


The winner of the Wasatch Division will host the winner of the six-team Colorado-based Rockies Division to crown the Mountain Conference winner, which will go on to play for the Central Region title.


To provide the best possible experience for both players and fans, the Avalanche will play its home matches at St. Joe's Catholic high school. The club hopes to quickly build a devoted fan base from its 1,600-plus competitive players in the club and their families by playing engaging, attractive soccer while continuing longstanding rivalries and beginning new ones with the goal of providing one of the best atmospheres in the division, if not the conference.


The Avalanche home opener is against the Utah Red Devils, Saturday, May 21.



Avalanche Full Schedule

FRI 5/13 at Utah Arrows SC

SAT 5/21 vs. Utah Red Devils

FRI 5/27 vs. Utah Arrows SC

SAT 5/28 vs. La Roca FC

SAT 6/4 vs Utah Surf

FRI 6/10 at Utah Surf

SAT 6/11 at La Roca FC

SAT 6/18 at Utah Red Devils