Y’all, who the heck is this club and how did I not know about them before?
The WPSL is at it again with another expansion club. Last time, it was Westchester United, and today, it’s an even more exciting addition out of Cape Coral, FL.
The club is called Cape Coral Cyclones, and new to WPSL though they may be, there is no lack of history here in the coastal city facing Fort Myers.
They’ve been around since 1974, dating them at 46 years old. The 2021 season will mark their first year in all that time fielding an adult-league team, but they’ve not exactly been twittling their thumbs for upwards of 50 years at the youth level.
The entire backstory on the club from their website is well worth your time (and reads like a well-written but kinda quirky novel). The long-term importance of the club, though, is anything but fictional.
They were far and away the first to bring quality youth soccer to Cape Coral, and they’ve almost single-handedly created a quietly dominant soccer culture in the area.
Six girls teams have competed at US Youth Soccer Nationals after winning Florida’s state tournament, President’s Cup. One of those was the U16 squad in 2019, which would put those successful ladies in the realm of first team consideration for summer 2021.
That lends itself to high expectations for the on-field product for Cape Coral. Youthful exuberance tends to be impactful at WPSL clubs, and the spark from a handful of these evidently talented teenagers could be the edge required of them to challenge for a title in their opening act.
They’ll be attempting the feat in a high-quality Sunshine Conference, headlined by Team Boca Blast, last year’s unbeaten conference champs, and Tampa Bay Rowdies’ women’s side.
The coolest part of this team is still to be revealed, though. Unlike many at this level of semi-pro WoSo, the Cyclones actually have a well-established identity. Self-admittedly a “‘mom and pop’ organization,” Cape Coral is proud of the way they’ve done youth soccer for so long and how much success it’s brought them.
On top of that, they’re very heavily involved in giving back to the community, especially through a program called TOPSoccer. A USYS-sanctioned division, TOPSoccer is a volunteer-run program designed to serve players with mental and physical disabilities. The program costs absolutely nothing for participants and their families, which is an even bigger plus.
The infusion of TOPSoccer into a youth organization is an incredibly cool concept. Sadly, it’s also one that not too many large youth clubs choose to put the effort in to be a part of. This is a great example of the humble position Cape Coral tends to take on as a club, and what makes a youth club a diamond in the rough of money-hungry pay-to-play systems littered across our American soccer system.
It’s a fantastic pickup for WPSL in a lot of ways, and Cape Coral Cyclones has a new supporter in smallworld. Yours truly is kicking himself for not knowing who these guys were beforehand, but it’s fairly likely I won’t be the last. I imagine the Cyclones will have a few tricks up their sleeve come this summer, and that’ll be exciting to watch to say the least.
Until that exciting moment when all these wonderful WPSL clubs are on the field once more, be sure to support your local WoSo club by following them on socials and buying their stuff!
Stay weird and support women’s soccer!