METUCHEN, NJ - United Women's Soccer (UWS) will make its first foray into the state of Illinois with the addition of Ladies Steel City F.C. for the 2020 season. The new Midwest Conference side will play at DuPage Medical Group Field this season, located in Joliet, IL. The stadium was built in 2002 and has a seating capacity of 6,016. The team have formed a partnership with the Joliet Slammers, who are a professional baseball team that play in the independent Frontier League.
"We are excited to announce our first expansion team from the state of Illinois," said UWS Commissioner Joe Ferrara. "Jason and the Steel City group have been discussing a women's sports franchise in UWS for a few years now and we are ecstatic that this has come to fruition."
Home matches will be played at DuPage Medical Group Field in Joliet, IL
"We are very excited to be a part of UWS," said Vice President and Founder Jason Almazan. "It is the best national platform league for 'only women' and focuses on creating more opportunities in this sport. The level of play is very intense which is the perfect environment to scout talent and create professional opportunities. We would like to thank Joe Ferrara and [Vice President of Finance] Francisco Cleaves for being so humble and helping in every way during this process. We look forward to growing with UWS and making an enormous impact on women's soccer."
In the lead-up to the 2020 campaign, Almazan announced that Antoinette Zaffino will serve as President. Zaffino was a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Division III All-American at the College of DuPage. She has been promoted from her previous position with the club as the Director of Operations and Marketing.
"I am very humbled to accept the position of first female President with Ladies Steel City F.C and representing our club for the 2020 UWS season," said Zaffino.
"Antoinette is very passionate about women's development and getting them to the next level with the right outlets to do so," said Almazan. "We are starting from scratch, building this program with Joliet's finest to create not only a pathway for the next generation but outlining the dynamic commitment and resources for years to come."
The first-ever Head Coach of Ladies Steel City F.C. will be Byron Guitron. Guitron currently works with the Elkhart Flames Soccer Club and was a youth assistant coach for the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer (MLS). Assisting him this season will be Joliet-native Damon Almazan, who has signed to play for Purdue University Fort Wayne this fall. He is also the youngest member of the team's Board of Directors.