The Lessons Learned and Excitement for its WPSL Future
Published Jul 1, 2022
Written By:  Thomas Costello
             Central Region Contributor

In 1898, Beadling Soccer Club was born in Western Pennsylvania. Touted as the oldest continuously operating soccer club in the United States, Beadling didn’t have an option for women to play competitive summer soccer until 2022. Weighing its options, Beadling chose the WPSL, the longest-running women’s soccer league in the United States. After eight matches and a second-place performance, Beadling is excited about the future.

On May 23, Beadling started a new chapter in its history, facing Century United in its first WPSL match. With the upper hand, Century defeated the expansion side 2-0 but despite the loss Beadling had early buy-in from its players who weren’t deterred by an early hiccup.


“The main thing for us is the commitment and determination from the girls to be better and wanting to be successful and win was awesome from day one,” Matt Fonagy, Beadling head coach, said.


That commitment and determination went from a first-match loss to a five-match undefeated streak. Included in that successful stretch was a claim that no other team can make in 2022. Following its opening match, Beadling became the only team to take points away from eventual runaway conference victors in Ambassadors Cleveland. Its 5-5 and 1-1 draws on May 28 and June 7 showed that Beadling is a side that will push the conference in the future.

Part of that success came from top goal scorers in forwards Sarah Schupansky and Carolina Lucci, who accounted for 12 of Beadling’s 17 goals on the season. On May 28, Schupansky, member of the University of Pittsburgh’s Pitt Panthers, opened the scoring and added another goal and assist in Beadling’s 5-5 draw. Schupansky added a hat trick on June 4, against the Columbus Eagles, and one more assist.

Lucci, on the other hand, spread a team-tying five goals out over five different matches. With Lucci’s consistent goalscoring touch, Beadling earned victories against Century and Cleveland Ambassadors. Lucci, who plays midfield at Chowan University in Murfreesboro, N.C., showed flexibility to switch to forward for the summer season.

Leading the midfield were Ellie Coffield and Breana Valentovish. While they scored goals, three a piece, it was their off-the-ball play that made Beadling dangerous for opponents throughout the season.

Allowing the team to compete at a high level is familiarization of players and tactics. Most of Beadling’s roster is comprised of players from its youth organization, with local college players making up a minority of non-Beadling products. Tactically, the plan was simple.


“It was just something where we need to look for a couple basic things from an attack principle standpoint and defensive principle standpoint,” Fonagy said about a tactical foundation of simplicity. “All in all, it was something that helped get us on the same page.”


With any first year though, there was a learning curve. Beadling realized that having specific tactics was important, regardless of the talent of players that are on the team, and it led to one loss in its final seven matches. Also, off the field, Beadling had multiple double-match weekends, something Fonagy and Beadling will work to stretch out next season but overall, the year was a resounding success.


“The competition was excellent,” Fonagy said. “It was definitely something we were looking for: a quality game every time we play. The level is really good, and we look forward to keep playing these teams each summer.”