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MANCHESTER — The Vermont Fusion women’s soccer team has announced its eight-game schedule for the 2021 season, with its first match later this month and home opener at Applejack Stadium set for Sunday, June 6.

The club’s inaugural season in the Women’s Premier Soccer League will kick off at 7 p.m. on May 22 in Albany, N.Y., against the New York Shockers. The team will then take a short break before hosting Westchester United at Applejack Stadium at 5 p.m. on June 6.

The season will play through July 17, with the team playing four matches each at home and on the road. The Fusion will play in the WPSL’s Metropolitan Conference against New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island teams.

The WPSL is a developmental amateur league just below the professional National Women’s Soccer League.

“Being the first-ever amateur team of this magnitude in Vermont an incredible opportunity that we, at VT Fusion, have been working towards for a long time,” club president Sarah Perry said in a release announcing the schedule.

“By bringing the WPSL to Manchester, we can empower women in soccer through a platform that will elevate their game and exposure while simultaneously creating a high-level soccer experience for spectators to enjoy,” Perry said. “It is a huge honor.”

Due to the pandemic, the team was unable to hold formal tryouts for its first-ever roster. Instead, leadership invited potential athletes to create videos showcasing their skill set and personality, and made selections based on submissions. It’s anticipated that several recent local high school graduates currently playing college soccer will be part of the roster.

“We hosted a Zoom meeting with all the players yesterday, and the excitement level is incredibly high,” general manager Chris Chapdelaine said. “We are all incredibly honored to be a part of the WPSL. This team will provide an excellent platform for our players to prepare for the upcoming fall season and beyond. The opportunities are truly endless.”

The team’s roster, comprised of 26 athletes, will be announced shortly.

Club officials hope to generate a festive atmosphere on game nights, with food trucks parked in the nearby parking lots and limited beer and wine sales. Single-game tickets, priced between $3 and $8, will be available for purchase in the coming weeks. To buy a General Admission ($18), Reserved ($30), or Premium ($30) Season pass in advance of the season, visit https://www.bigtickets.com/events/g/vt-fusion-soccer/.

Sarah Perry, her husband, Eric Perry, and Chapdelaine, the women’s coach at Castleton University, are leading the effort, with Castleton University men’s coach John O’Connor serving as coach. The WPSL has more than 100 teams nationwide, with teams playing a May-July summer schedule in regional conferences and a national tournament for conference champions.

Reach Greg Sukiennik at gsukiennik@manchesterjournal.com.

Greg Sukiennik has worked at all three Vermont News & Media newspapers and was their managing editor from 2017-19. He previously worked for ESPN.com, for the AP in Boston, and at The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Mass.


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