AUSTIN, Texas - FC Austin Elite has triumphed through the club’s first two games of the season despite falling to both opponents.
The Elite faced St. Edward’s Women's Soccer in its first game on April 3. They fell to the Hilltoppers 0-2.
In the club's most recent match, the Elite faced UANL Tigres Femenil on April 9. The score at the 90-minute mark was 0-5.
UANL Tigres Femenil is one of the top women’s soccer teams in Mexico, so for FC Austin Elite, hosting that club in Round Rock was a highly beneficial experience regardless of the outcome. Elite has several new players this season, so these friendly matches against competitive teams like Tigres is a learning opportunity for the team.
"I'm excited to be on this team honestly," Natalia Blanco, center mid for FC Austin Elite, told FOX 7 following their game against Tigres. "Just cause of how we saw today - the result was not what we wanted it to be. But, just being able to build up, and the chemistry we were able to get from this game, like the information we were able to gain from this experience is gonna be great for the rest of the week for practices and for the next game too."
The Tigres game was FC Austin Elite newcomer Neyda Martinez's first match with the club. She is a recent graduate of UC-Riverside, and found out about Elite from one of its current players, Jazmin Jackmon.
Martinez says after playing in just one match with her new club, she's excited about what's to come.
"The fact that I want to play professionally in Mexico, and we got the opportunity to play this big team like Tigres, it kind of helps us compare like where we want to go, and kind of see if we can actually compete with the girls at that level," Martinez said.
Top-ranked Tigres brought their challenging play to Texas, but also their flamboyant and large fan group. Their fans filled more than half of the stands at the Round Rock Elite field, carrying flags, playing drums, and even throwing confetti. All to cheer on their team and attempt to distract the Elite.
"I did see it at the beginning, but I didn't realize that they were playing it [drums] when I got the ball or anything," Blanco said. "I was focused, you know? But, it's super cool to have even those type of fans out here too. Obviously, we would like to have our own fan base you know, but it was really cool just seeing all that stuff."
FC Austin Elite plans to use their loss against Tigres as a way to improve for the next game, and so on.
"So we knew this was going to be a hard game, but we knew that it doesn't matter their status, we're focusing on ourselves and the way we play. And I think that's such a good attitude to have," Martinez said. "I think the downfall of it is because we're such a new team, we don't really know our style of play. And today was like an open-mindedness of how we play, if we're not fit enough this is where we work on it."
Blanco says the first few games in the season are simply helping the Elite get going, and get used to playing together on the field. She's excited to start playing regular season United Women's Soccer league games, and for the team to keep getting better day by day.
The Elite's next game is against Luxoria FC at the Round Rock Elite field on April 23. Click here to view the Elite's full game schedule.
FC Austin Elite kicks off season aiming to inspire, grow soccer community
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