W-League News Release
Monday, February 3, 2014
TAMPA, Fla. – The W-League is pleased to welcome the Colorado Storm for the league’s 2014 season. The Storm have acquired the rights to the franchise previously known as the Colorado Force and Colorado Rapids Women, and will take the helm for the team’s 18th consecutive season in the league. The club will be led by Storm President Marc Francis, Force co-founder Amy Snider and head coach Mike Haas.
The Storm are one of the longest-running youth clubs in the United States, originally having been formed as Cherry Creek Lightning Soccer in 1967. Since then the club has grown to include more than 7,000 members as players from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs develop into top-level players.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome the Storm to the W-League,” W-League Senior Director Amanda Duffy said. “As one of the W-League’s longest-standing franchises, we are delighted that it has found the right ownership and management to allow the club and players the opportunity to flourish at the next level. We’re very excited to see the Storm enter a new era in their history.”
Francis, who began coaching with the Storm in 1989, is excited for the opportunity the addition of a W-League team will provide for players at the club.
“One of our main objectives for this team is to be able to connect with various soccer communities that support the Storm’s four regional clubs,” Francis said. “Players from all over the state will see this team as an important part of developing our girls program as well as an opportunity to play at the highest level possible.”
Haas brings more than 25 years of coaching experience at the international, professional and youth levels. Haas has served as the Director of Coaching and Player Development for Storm since 2007 and for 16 years was part of the United States National Team Program in a variety of capacities, including National Staff Coach and Head Scout. In addition to his outstanding work for the Storm, Haas also claimed a USYSA National Championship while coaching the Northglenn Thunder.
“It gives younger girls an opportunity and a vision of what playing at the next level looks like,” said Haas. “This is unique because it gives girls who may otherwise drift away from soccer after their club and college careers a chance to stay connected to Storm soccer.”
The Storm will compete in the Western Conference, where they will face defending W-League champions the LA Blues SC, the Colorado Rush and new franchise the Colorado Pride in a 12-game regular season. The full 2014 W-League schedule and division alignment will be announced at a future date.