Oklahoma City FC soars to women’s soccer stardom.
The Women’s Premier Soccer League, the longest-active women’s soccer league in the United States, is located in the heart of Oklahoma. Not only does Oklahoma City hold the league’s headquarters, but the city is home to one of its most electric clubs in Oklahoma City FC.
The WPSL, now in its 25th season, works to give amateur soccer players in the U.S. the best possible chances for growth. It includes 130 clubs that boast an extensive array of players from collegiate level to post-collegiate and international. The league is divided into four regions — OKC is in the South — with four conferences per region. The Oklahoma City FC plays eight regular season games and (hopefully) championship games. This year, the final four national championships will take place in Stillwater.
Oklahoma City’s club was formed in 2008 as the OKC Alliance and had tremendous success, winning conference titles in three of its first four seasons. In 2012, Sean Jones purchased the club, which rebranded as Oklahoma City FC. Light blue was chosen as the team’s primary color, with gold and charcoal gray accent colors. The team’s crest features the scissor-tailed flycatcher, the official state bird of Oklahoma.
“The team is the third longest-tenured team in the league,” said Jones, who is the OKC FC president and co-owner, as well as president of the WPSL. “Some players have been professionals, while others have gone on to play professionally.”
Jones partnered with DeBray Ayala and Brad Lund, two veteran Oklahoma City sports executives and co-owners, to further develop the club’s players and sustain its success. In 2015 and 2017, the club won conference titles.
“The team is composed of high school- and college-aged players,” Jones said. “Team ages range between 18 and 22, while reserve teams have players aged 15 through 20. However, team players are high level, and there are no age restrictions.” Midfielder Jaci Jones and forward Ivanna Rivas will return this season; both were named 2022 All-Conference Best in 2022.
Oklahoma City FC abides by NCAA rules, so players are not compensated, but they don’t incur costs associated with playing. Per NCAA guidelines, players can compete against professional teams but cannot play on them.
The league is developing a professional division, which is expected to launch sometime in 2025. “There will be an estimated 20 to 30 clubs playing at a professional level,” Jones said. “Players will be paid for seven months, and an official announcement is expected sometime in 2024.”
But the WPSL’s current amateur form also creates an avenue for players to break into the sport. “For younger players, this is a great opportunity to play against college-level athletes,” Jones said. “For many, it is also an opportunity to improve their craft. For others, it is a way to continue playing that game they love so much, which is hard to give up.”
Both the league and OKC FC set out to empower young women. “We had national players on the team last year,” Jones said. “This is an opportunity for people to see the highest level of women’s soccer in Oklahoma, with mostly all local players who will be the next generation of soccer players.”
Oklahoma City FC’s 2023 season kicks off at home against DKSC Badtop June 3, and tickets are $10. For more information about the WPSL, the Oklahoma City FC, coaching staff, tryouts and schedules, visit oklahomacityfc.com/home.