116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The club has gotten larger.
Iowa Raptors FC has announced it will have a women’s team for the 2021 outdoor season.
The team already has a head coach in Curt Lewis, who coaches the Cedar Rapids Prairie boys’ soccer team. It has two players thus far in Abigail Santana, a Linn-Mar grad who plays at Creighton University, and Regan Steigleder, an Iowa City West grad who is a senior at Northwestern.
“We’ve always had interest in a women’s team. We just didn’t think it would happen as soon as it has,” said Raptors General Manager Gordy Gurson. “We believe that there is a lot of talent in Iowa on the women’s side of things, and there’s not really a higher level for the women to play at once they hit college or anything like that.
“We thought it would be good for them to get an opportunity in our area to play at a national scene.”
Gurson said he has some connections that he hopes to use to get players here. The Raptors are conducting player tryouts through invitation only.
This season will be exhibition only and will begin sometime in May. Gurson said the Raptors FC women’s team eventually will join either the United Women’s Soccer league or the Women’s Premier Soccer League.
The UWS has Midwest clubs from places like St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago and Peoria, Ill. The WPSL has regional clubs in places like Chicago, Green Bay, Milwaukee and the state of Minnesota.
“We’re evaluating both leagues, and grabbing exhibition games against teams from each league as well,” Gurson said. “Seeing how (these teams) run things at their place. We know we run things pretty professionally on our end, so it’ll be good to join one of those leagues and get things going.”
The Iowa Raptors FC men’s team is in its second year and has a new head coach in Jose Michel Fajardo. He is the head women’s soccer coach at Cornell College and had a successful high school run on the boys’ side with Iowa City High.
The Raptors have changed leagues to the United Premier Soccer League. Their season begins with a home game May 1 against Mad City of Madison, Wis., at Prairie High School.
Prairie also will house the Raptors women’s team. Gurson said it’s his club’s goal to also create an indoor soccer team in Cedar Rapids at some point.
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