TAMPA, Fla. - United Soccer Leagues announced today the eight coaches selected to manage the 128 players that will be participating in the inaugural USL W-League Combine this upcoming September 4-7 in Tampa, Florida. Each division of the W-League will be represented by at least one coach at the event, which will provide players with professional aspirations an opportunity to showcase their talents for Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) and other professional scouts and coaches.
The coaches managing the eight squads that will be assembled from the elite players selected for the event will be Peter Amos (Rochester Rhinos), Tony Anglin (Atlanta Silverbacks), Shek Borkowski (FC Indiana Lionesses), Craig Deacon (Fort Collins Force), George Fotopoulos (Tampa Bay Hellenic), Darren Gallagher (Boston Renegades), Denise Reddy (Jersey Sky Blue) and Craig Smith (Ottawa Fury). The coaches will conduct training sessions on the opening day and manage a series of three games for each team over the following three days of the event. In addition to their duties at the event, the coaches will also serve as advisors in regards to identifying the current elite W-League players in the selection process.
The combine will consist of invited elite W-League players as well as those selected from an open application process. The deadline for players submitting an Open Application is August 6. It will be held at the Ed Radice Sports Complex, home to the W-League Tampa Bay Hellenic and the USL Super Y-League North American Finals.
The USL W-League Combine will cap what will be an important five-week span in North American women’s soccer beginning with the W-League Championship tournament in Virginia Beach, Virginia July 31 to August 2. The rest of August will feature the US and Canadian women’s national teams vying for Olympic glory in China from August 6-21.
With many current and former internationals, as well as collegiate standouts, it is expected that numerous players drafted and signed by WPS will hail from the W-League. Historically, the same occurred with the launch of the Women’s United Soccer Association in 2001. A total of 92 current and former W-League players were allocated or drafted by the WUSA leading up to the first of its three seasons.
Peter Amos: Rochester Rhinos
Amos came to the Rhinos organization in 2007 with 13 years of experience as a head soccer coach at all levels. He holds several soccer coaching certificates including the Premier Diploma, the highest level coaching diploma awarded by the NSCAA. Most recently, Amos served as an assistant coach for the men’s and women’s soccer team at his alma mater, Houghton College. Amos’ experience with the Rhinos is not his first with the W-League. He was part owner and assistant coach of the New York Magic from 1996-98, and served as a member of the W-League Executive Committee during the 1997-98 seasons. In addition to his duties with the Magic, Amos also served as the head coach of Nyack College Women’s Team from 1996-98 and led them to the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Championship Game in only their third season.
Tony Anglin: Atlanta Silverbacks
Anglin first joined the Atlanta Silverbacks Women’s staff as interim head coach during the 2006 season and served as the assistant coach last year for the league finalists. For the 2008 season, Anglin moved up to head coach of the women’s squad. Anglin rose to the semi-professional ranks in England, his home country, before beginning his coaching career. Anglin, a veteran with 25 years of coaching experience under his belt, will remain with the Reserves while managing the Silverbacks Women.
Shek Borkowski: FC Indiana Lionesses
Borkowski took over a struggling FC Indiana women’s team on July 1, 2004. Within a year he was able to completely reverse its fortunes. In 2005, his first full season in charge, Borkowski was able to assemble a strong and a very diverse squad of players, instill his winning mentality in them and mold them into a history-making team. In that first season Borkowski led FC Indiana to an 18-1-0 record on the way to winning the unprecedented League and Cup Double by hoisting the WPSL Championship and the United States Adult Soccer Association’s national trophy. He was rewarded with the 2005 WPSL Co-Coach of the Year Award for this achievement. In 2007, the Polish native led the Indianapolis-based club to a 16-2-0 record and its second WPSL national title. He also helped the club to the USASA Women’s National Final for the second time in three years. Borkowski’s overall record with the FC Indiana women’s team is 50-7-3. He is undefeated at home and his team has never lost by more than one goal margin. FC Indiana, under Borkowski, has a 100% record against international opponents including wins over the full Women’s National teams of New Zealand, Trinidad & Tobago and the 2007 World Cup quarterfinalists Australia.
Craig Deacon: Fort Collins Force
Deacon joined the Force as head coach in 2005. He was a member of Barnsley Football club overseas and had playing experience with Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club. Deacon came to the club in 2005 with a wealth of experience. A former All-American at St. Gregories University in Shawnee, OK, he also made an appearance in the PDL for the Boulder Rapids Reserve (now Colorado Rapids U-23).
George Fotopoulos: Tampa Bay Hellenic
Fotopoulos was the head coach of the of Louisiana State University (LSU) women’s soccer team from 2000-2004. Fotopoulos went 52-39-14 in five years at LSU, posting a 12-28-6 record in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). He began his career at LSU in 2000 after two years as head coach at his alma mater, the University of Tampa. In 2002, Fotopoulos had his best season as head coach of the Lady Tigers as his team went 12-5-3 and 2-3-3 in the SEC, good for another bid in the conference tournament. He is currently the Girls’ Director of Coaching at HC United. *Fotopoulos will be assisted during the event by his wife, former US National Team and W-League forward Danielle Fotopoulos.
Darren Gallagher: Boston Renegades
Gallagher entered his first full season as Head Coach of the MPS Renegades this season after taking over at the mid-point of the 2007 campaign. For the conclusion of 2007, Gallagher guided the side to a 6-2-0 record in their final eight games and just missed a playoff spot with a loss to the eventual national champion Washington Freedom. Gallagher holds his NSCAA Premier License as well as the NSCAA Advanced National Diploma. In addition, he is a two-time US Club Soccer National Champion and acts as a Technical Director for Mass Premier Soccer.
Denise Reddy: Jersey Sky Blue
Reddy, in her first year head coach, is a New Jersey native who starred on the collegiate level at Rutgers University before spending 11 years playing professionally abroad. She returned to the United States in 2006 to work as a player/assistant coach with the New Jersey Wildcats before moving to Sky Blue for the 2007 season. In her two seasons as an assistant coach in the W-League, Reddy helped her teams to a 26-2 record and postseason appearances in both seasons. In 2006, the New Jersey Wildcats posted a 14-0-0 mark before falling to the Ottawa Fury in the Eastern Conference final. Last season, Jersey Sky Blue recorded a 12-2-0 mark in its debut season in the W-League before losing to Ottawa in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Prior to returning to the United States in 2006, Reddy played for 11 years in Sweden’s Damallsvenskan with the final 10 years spent with Malmö DFF after a season with Umeå IK. She served as the Malmö team captain from 1999 to 2005 and also worked in the front office with both the Malmö men’s and women’s teams.
Craig Smith: Ottawa Fury
Smith is in his first year as Fury head coach. He was born in Canada but grew up in the heartland of Scottish football in Greenock near Glasgow. Following in the footsteps of his footballing father’s professional career, Smith played in Scotland and went on to play in the Australian 1st Division. He moved to Vancouver in 2002 and turned to coaching when his playing career came to an end. A Canadian National B level coach, Smith has gained a growing reputation working in the Vancouver area alongside coaches of the caliber of Tony Waiters, Derek Possee and Carl Valentine.