CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) — The Iowa Raptors women’s team prepares to kick off their first-ever indoor home game. The team is the state’s first indoor semi-professional women’s soccer team.
“It’s great to be able to give girls the same opportunity here in this city and this state being the first professional indoor women’s team to come to Iowa,” said Iowa Raptors managing partner Bobby Hurwitz. .
The team is part of the Premier Arena Soccer League. Players are not paid as they maintain their eligibility for high school and college play, but are offered the experience of playing at a higher level.
“It’s pretty exciting because it’s a different type of level than I’ve played so it’s a different environment,” said Keiley Castellaons, who is from Chicago.
The team is made up of a mix of local talent, as well as women from out of state.
“It’s really cool, especially playing with people who are from out of state, so it’s also getting to know other people,” said Reegan Hess, who attends Prairie High School.
Being indoors, the season takes place while it is cold outside. The hope is that the new team will help fill a void during the winter months by giving people more work.
“Just to have even more action and reason to bring people to our urban core and enjoy the Raptors,” said Jesse Thoeming, executive director of the downtown district of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance.
The first home game on Friday is just the beginning.
“We’re here to play and we love to actually want to win and we want to compete and we’re here to stay,” said Katy Anderson of Washington High School.
For local talent, it’s a chance to be the first to take part in a new opportunity in their home country.
“I hope this program goes far because it’s pretty cool to see women’s sports here in Cedar Rapids,” said Ashlen Hall, a player who attends Marion High School.
The Iowa Raptors will face the Cincinnati Sirens on Friday at 7 p.m. The men’s team will next play on Saturday, they currently sit in first place.
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