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By Caroline Critelli, Special to the Telegram & Gazette

WORCESTER — Another sports team is looking to inspire the city this summer. The Worcester Smiles, a new United Women's Soccer franchise, will make its debut in May and play its games at Commerce Bank Field at Foley Stadium.

The Smiles will hold tryouts from 9-11 a.m. Sunday at Bancroft School. The team is looking for college level players to take part in the season, which runs through July.


The team was started by Raymund Lopolito, who sees it as an opportunity to provide Worcester with more positive female role models.

"I'm a single father," Lopolito said. "My daughter plays soccer and I see this new team as something that we can be proud of."

With this in mind, Lopolito isn't expecting to be winning games right away or even win the championship — instead, aiming to have fun, be competitive enough and end the season on a high note.

"We're trying to put together a good group of women to enjoy themselves," Lopolito said. "And by the end we're winning games."

Worcester is one of four expansion teams in United Women's Soccer, a Division 2 league underneath the National Women’s Soccer League.

To help whip the team into shape, the Smiles have hired Becker College soccer coach Anthony Cosky.

Cosky has a clear love for the game and plenty of experience coaching, viewing this experience as an exciting challenge.

"I think (the short time span of the season) will be the biggest difference than coaching a college team," Cosky said. "This will be a short couple months with this team so the quicker they get to know each other and are comfortable playing together, the better the soccer will be on the field."

Cosky has the same view for the team as Lopolito, aiming to inspire younger generations, adding a source of positivity and pride to Worcester. 

"We want to establish relationships with local youth teams and local youth groups," Cosky said. "I hope we will get a lot of support and have great attendance at these games because it will be a high level of soccer and exciting to watch."

When asked why the team was named the Worcester Smiles, Lopolito said he got the idea from the famous smiley face icon created by Worcester native Harvey Ball. Seeing it as a way to encourage locals to be happy and embrace their city.

"We really want the community to be involved and proud of where they came from," Lopolito said. "As well as give encouragement to young kids, that's why we're doing this."

The Smiles will play their first game against the New York Surf at 6 p.m. on May 12 at Commerce Bank Field at Foley Stadium. Tickets are selling for $22 and there will be a live stream of the game if enough tickets are sold.

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Source : http://www.telegram.com/news/20180307/worcester-smiles-ready-to-kick-off-first-united-womens-soccer-season

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