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Saturday, April 25, 2020

Soccer City Expands; DBK Teases Future Card -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Louisville City Adds Women's Academy

Earlier this year (or was it late last year? Time is a mystery at this point) Louisville City FC announced the addition of a women's team to the organization, which would play in the NWSL. A bit later, the organization announced plans for youth academy teams that would bring the team in line with more of an international structure. Yesterday, news came out that the organization had formed an academy in line with the NWSL team (whose name is under reconsideration, by the way).

The new girls academy team will play as part of the ECNL (Elite Club National League) Girls division and is set to begin play this fall, all other things aside. The relevance to UofL, of course, is that the addition of an elite club team associated with a professional team provides area universities with the opportunity to scout top talent in the area as it is developed. In the press release, the ECNL boasts that 90% of alumnae move on to play college soccer. Last season, 1,100 ECNL alumnae were on college teams and 62% of players on Power 5 rosters had been part of the program.

Louisville has continued to grow as a soccer-centric city since the addition of Louisville City FC in 2014. The opening of the new stadium, when it finally comes, will give the city another spectacular professional venue, and the expansion of the organization promotes the game to everyone in the city. I'm excited for the future of UofL being able to find more players like Emina Ekic in their own backyard, and I hope that this new team can give more opportunities to players with talent but not necessarily the means to get themselves noticed.

Coach Dani Busboom Kelly Sends Cryptic Tweet

Late last night, while much of Sports Twitter was paying attention to the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft, UofL's head volleyball coach was sending "clues" out on a potential future Cardinal. Here's the tweet so that you can see for yourself

There are many ways to look at this one. Obviously, we're excited for a future Cardinal, but what does it all mean? In his retweet, Jeff suggested this is not likely to be a player for this year, as we've discussed how packed the roster will be in the fall. So the first question is when? A 2021 commit makes sense, so we'll assume that. The next major question is the "year round" enjoyment. Is this a player that will play two sports? Volleyball and basketball overlap, so that seems unlikely, but there is precedent. Gwen Rucker was the last dual-sport volleyball player for UofL and she joined the basketball team late after volleyball season had ended. Payton Verhulst was a great volleyball player but I doubt she would give up any amount of basketball season since making that her primary sport in high school. 

The other possibility is that this is another year round personality. We have seen plenty of those at UofL and we certainly enjoy them. Players like Celene Funke and Jaz Jones made sure to make themselves known at every UofL sporting event possible. Until we know more, though, we'll have to continue to speculate. Either way, a player that makes a coach excited enough to tweet something so cryptic is bound to excite the fan base in the future.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

Another week has come and gone so it's time for another Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. Jared will be back with us after his time at the bank, so we'll have a full "house" for the first time in awhile. There has been a lot of news this week so be sure to join us as we discuss the happenings over on the Belknap campus as well as the joy and excitement of Louisville Women's Athletics. Tune in at 11AM to the Cardinal Couple YouTube Channel to watch the show live or at any time after for the rebroadcast.

Until next time, Go Cards!

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