The Beautiful Game In Iowa; Raptor Roll Call
I did a lot of different sports growing up, but soccer always stood out to me. I enjoyed it so much, I also played through college; as a part of what I would consider one of the best (if not THE best) Wartburg College Men’s Soccer teams (2004 Freshman Here). Winning the conference in ’04, 05, and ’06; along with the tournament in ’04 and ’06, and NCAA Sweet 16 births in ’04, ’05, and ’06 with an elite eight appearance in 2004. And now I have taken my passion to coaching my kids and others as a part of the Cascade Soccer Board. I’m also a huge Manchester United fan and USMNT follower. To say I know a little about soccer is an understatement at this point.
For those of your that don’t know, soccer, or futbol; it is considered the world's greatest and most highly followed sport and "the beautiful game". Truly there is no explanation for exactly why football is referred to in this way. Maybe it’s the unpredictability of the sport; say, when a “minnow” pulls off a giant killing. It could be the ability to bring communities together behind a common banner. How about the visually pleasing way that the game can be played (think Spain and the tiki-taka). It could be the huge personalities and talent of players like legends Johan Cruyff, Pele, Zidane, Ronaldinho, Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Diego Maradona; or legends in the making like Haaland, Mbappe, Pulisic, and Sancho. Whatever your reason for enjoying soccer, our local Iowa club could be a great place to find your passion, get involved, or even try out.
Iowa Raptors FC is a soccer club from Cedar Rapids, Iowa competing in the Midwest Division of United Premier Soccer League and in the Midwest Premier League. They began play in the 2021 UPSL season playing at Prairie High School's stadium and had initially been set to join USL League Two, before switching to the UPSL. The Men's Raptors 1st team won the Midwest Central Conference in the UPSL and made it the top 16 teams in the nation in 2021. In addition, the Raptors women's team played in 6 exhibitions during their inaugural season.
This year the Men's Raptors 1st team will participate in the United Premier Soccer League, with the Men's Raptors 2nd team participating in the MWPL (Midwest Premier League). The Women's Raptors will enter the Women's Premier Soccer League. In fact, Alexa Martin is both a local Loras College Assistant Women’s coach, as well as the Iowa Raptors Assistant Women’s coach.
The club is managed by BC Sports located just outside Cedar Rapids in Atkins, IA. Their purpose is to provide the highest level of soccer and entertainment possible for our community and provide a pathway to the professional level for our local adult and youth players.
I’m well past my playing days, so I'll stick to coaching the youth and I look forward to becoming a fan of our very own Iowa Raptors FC. And hey, that logo is pretty sweet. I think I’m going to have to grab a warm-up jacket or hoodie when apparel drops for the new season! For information, sign-ups, try-outs, and more follow @IARaptorsFC on all social media platforms or visit them at www.iowaraptorsfc.com.