A Unified Badge: Pittsburgh’s NPSL and UWS teams to rebrand as Steel City FC

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Steel City FC will be back. Pictured here is Steel City FC’s original women’s squad, competing in 2019. Photo courtesy of Rachael Kriger

The Pittsburgh Hotspurs and Arsenal FC of Pittsburgh football organizations have worked together extensively in recent years to create a stronger path for football players of all levels.

Now they come together under one crest as the men’s and women’s teams will play as Steel City FC ahead of the 2023 summer season.

This also marks the return of the Steel City FC name, the original women’s team founded by Stephanie Harrison and Jordan Daloisio in 2015.

The Hotspurs merged with the former Steel City FC in 2019 and acquired the name.

Now they have come full circle.

“We are very excited to bring such a recognized and strong connection back to the Pittsburgh area,” said Tom Ovenden, current director of the Pittsburgh Hotspurs Club and head coach of the women’s first team.

“The name embodies what the city was founded on and is a great representation of our work to push the game forward together.”

“When we began working with regional training, we knew the options to continue elevating the standard of Pittsburgh football – defining and developing a path that would give Pittsburgh players the greatest opportunity to achieve their goals, was best achieved together,” said Jon Velotta, Arsenal executive in Pittsburgh.

“This has become even stronger as our partnership continues.”

First-team programs began in 2019 with the men’s entry into the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). The team has since made the playoffs in the past two seasons. On the women’s side, she will now enter her second season in the United Women’s Soccer League (UWS) after starting the pandemic-hit 2020 season.

Both teams have been a hub for Pittsburgh-raised talent:

  • 2022 Women’s First Team to Participate in the UWS:

    • 39 of 48 players were players from the Pittsburgh area.

    • 11 players were still in high school or had just graduated.

    • 13 players were native Hotspurs/Arsenal talents.

  • 2022 men’s first team to compete in the NPSL:

    • 32 of 43 players were players from the Pittsburgh area.

    • 10 players were in high school or had just graduated.

    • A total of 15 homegrown players from Arsenal/Hotspur’s academies.

At the academy level, the two clubs competed together in the 2022–23 season in the Elite 64, the girls’ US Youth National League and the boys’ Club vs. Club US Youth Soccer League.

“It’s great to see the resources and staff from all locations working together to identify top talent to compete against the fiercest competition from U13 and up,” said Ovenden. “The talent in the Pittsburgh area is evident, and we’ve devised a way to bring these players together and raise the level.”

Velotta added: “From youth to first teams – the combined level at which we see these players compete and train at each other and the aligned model and ability to play within our Steel City FC model is about that is what collaboration is all about.”

After the 2023 summer season for men and women, as part of the collaboration and partnership, academy teams (U8-U19) will also compete under the crest in the 2023-2024 season.

Previous coverage of Hotspurs / Steel City FC on PSN

The Pittsburgh Hotspurs win the NPSL Members Cup

Striving for a higher ceiling: Hotspur’s Women’s First Team is raving about competing at the UWS from 2022

Pittsburgh Hotspurs, capitalizing on strong regular season, are focused on the NPSL playoffs

Photo gallery: The Pittsburgh Hotspurs fail in the table fight with Cleveland SC

Photo Gallery: Century United, Pittsburgh Hotspurs play to a 1-1 draw to end the WPSL season

Despite challenges, Steel City FC sets a winning record

Ovenden ends Steel City FC’s brave season

John Krysinsky has reported on football and other sports for various publications and media for many years. He is also the author of ‘Miracle on the Mon’ – a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC that chronicles the club, specifically the early years of Highmark Stadium, with the narrative that led to a remarkable game that helped create a spark to produce, and this revolved around for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports and Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as a color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast crews for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup games across the United States together . Krysinsky also served as the men’s soccer head coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to their first-ever wins and playoffs of the season (1996-98); North Catholic Boys head coach (2007-08), Shady Side Academy Boys assistant head coach (2009-2014).

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