The Milwaukee Torrent women’s team took the field at Hart Park Stadium on Monday night for their maiden match and, thanks to a dramatic late goal in front of their home fans and cheering supporter’s group, celebrated the historic night with their first victory, a 1-0 exhibition triumph over North Shore United.
Midfielder Mariah Downs scored the team’s first-ever goal, which turned out to be the game-winner, in the 86th minute. Downs collected the ball in United’s defensive third, charged down the right flank and slotted the low shot into the left corner, before being mobbed by her Torrent teammates.
The Torrent, the sister squad to the Milwaukee men’s squad that is entering its third campaign, are just beginning their inaugural season. Announced last year by club owner and men’s head coach Andreas Davi, the team will play in the Women's Premier Soccer League, making it the highest level of competitive women’s sports in Wisconsin.
The second-tier WPSL, which is below the professional National Women's Soccer League and roughly on par with United Women's Soccer, includes more than 100 teams nationwide and is the largest women's soccer association in the world. For more information, click here.
"It was awesome. I seriously think we had about 400 people there," Davi told OnMilwaukee on Tuesday, adding that there wasn’t an official count for the attendance. "The fans were never so loud as they were last night. It was really special."
The Torrent, who comprise primarily active and former local state college players, have only had a short amount of time to train together because of weather and scheduling. They didn’t have their full squad for Monday’s game, missing multiple players due to injury or college final exams. Davi said many were nervous, as few had played before such a large crowd, but they were excited.
"They thought it was so cool," Davi said. "They had their name on their jersey, the supporter’s group was chanting."
The Torrent are not a professional team, though Davi said he is hopeful that's the next step. His goal for this first season is the same for any season: "to win a championship."
Here's a video recap of the team's first game:
They said it
After the match, several Torrent players told the team’s website about their opening-night experience.
Goalkeeper Adrianna Bratel: "The nerves left as soon as the whistle blew. But I think I was more nervous than I usually am before a match. We got some first game jitters out of the way, and now we can focus on learning how to play together."
Defender Kerry Geocaris: "After we got through the first half and we collected ourselves, we played much better."
Midfielder Mariah Downs: "It feels great. I had to adjust to the physical aspect of the game. Once I did that, the game started to flow better for me."
Goalkeeper Sara Klimisch: "We all worked very hard for one another to earn both this win and clean sheet tonight. This feels amazing, but I’m excited for what the rest of the season has in store for us. The support from the fans and the coaching staff is unbelievable. Thank you to everyone that came out tonight and has supported us along the way."
Head coach Mark Litton: "(North Shore United) played a high back line all night and pressed us all over the field. Since we haven’t had much time to gel as a unit, it took some work for us to figure out how to break them down. This was a good, scrappy win for us tonight. We will enjoy this one, and look to build off our mistakes."
The Torrent’s next match is a friendly on May 23 against United at PWSB Soccer Park in Cedarburg. The team officially begins its league season on May 26 against Fire 98 at Concordia University.
For more information on the roster, schedule, men's team, tickets and more, click here.
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.