The Long Island Rough Riders begin the 2018 United Women’s Soccer season on the road against New Jersey Copa FC in an Eastern Conference final rematch at 4:30 p.m. on May 12 at Saint John Vianney High School in Holmdel, N.J.
The Rough Riders, who won the 2017 Eastern Conference title with a 5-1 win at NJ Copa, host the Western NY Flash at 5 p.m. on May 19 at Michael J. Tully Park for their home opener. Long Island will then move to Hofstra University for the remainder of its home games this season.
“Coming off last year’s success in the Eastern Conference we are the team to beat whether we like it or not,” second-year coach Adam Whitehead said. “The girls will need to be mentally prepared to deal with that.”
Long Island went 8-2-2 last campaign en route to the UWS Eastern Conference title and berth in the UWS National Championship Semifinal. The Rough Riders, who scored a conference-best 35 goals during the regular season and tied for the second-best defense (10 goals allowed), lost on penalty kicks to eventual UWS champion Grand Rapids FC in the national semifinal.
Following the 2018 home opener, the Rough Riders hit the road for back-to-back games at Western NY Flash and Rochester Lancers on June 2 and 3. Long Island returns home for consecutive games against New York Surf on June 6 and Rochester Lancers on June 9 before playing UWS newcomers Connecticut Fusion (June 16) and Worcester Smiles (July 7) down the stretch.
“Any game will be challenging as we don’t know a great deal about them,” Whitehead said. “It’s exciting to see new teams entering the UWS across the country, so to travel to Connecticut to play and host Worcester will be fun new experiences for us all.”
Regardless, expectations remain high for the Rough Riders in 2018.
“Expectations are simple: we will constantly remind each other of how we got to where we did last year,” Whitehead said. “I will be relying on the returning players to bring the group together both on and off the field.”
BY: Michael LoRé
2018 Regular Season
May 12: at New Jersey Copa FC, 4:30 p.m.
May 19: vs. Western NY Flash, 5 p.m.
June 2: at Western NY Flash, 6 p.m.
June 3: at Rochester Lancers, 2 p.m.
June 6: vs. New York Surf, 5 p.m.
June 9: vs. Rochester Lancers, 5 p.m.
June 16: at Connecticut Fusion, 7 p.m.
June 30: vs. New England Mutiny, 5 p.m.
July 7: vs. Worcester Smiles, 5 p.m.
July 14: at Lancaster Inferno, 3 p.m.