Diana Groth will direct Flower City 1872 in its franchise opener. (Photo courtesy of Flower City 1872)
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – It’s been a whirlwind 10 days for Flower City 1872 head coach Diana Groth.
She was named head coach of the United Women’s Soccer team on May 10 and on Saturday, she will make her debut with the rest of the team against Thruway rival FC Buffalo at Rochester Community Sports Complex on Saturday at 2 p.m.
“We’ve had two weeks of practice,” Groth said. “I can’t wait to show what we have on the field tomorrow and that we will see a good game.”
Groth took over the coaching reins last week, after Adam Schwartz left the club due to “foreseen circumstances.” She viewed it as a challenge.
“I’m excited and I’m really thrilled I got the opportunity,” Groth said. “It’s a great opportunity for me. I love soccer. I’m passionate about it. I enjoy every moment of it. … It’s a great opportunity to grow and also develop as a coach.”
A native of Berlin, Germany, Groth started playing soccer around the age of five.
“I’m not sure how I got into soccer. I just know that I was on a soccer field,” she said. “My parents weren’t into soccer. I was on my own and my passion and it just grew. I had some good times.”
She played professionally for five years in her native country and later coached youth teams for seven years before moving to the United States nine years ago. She has coached at numerous camps and clinics in the Rochester area and is coaching in the Olympic Development Program.
Groth’s goals for Flower City 1872 are simple.
“It’s to have a great season that makes people come to watch our games, that we can develop a team that we’re connected on and off the field and creates memories during the summer while giving the players the best opportunity to develop the skills for the college season,” she said.
Groth, an assistant women’s soccer coach at Nazareth College, has several local players with Division I backgrounds to rely on. That included forward Raenah Campbell of Skaneateles, N.Y., who has been capped two times by the Trinidad & Tobago national team, an All-American at Drexel University, and who signed to play pro soccer with Avantes WFC Chalkida in Greece last year.
Twin sisters Maya and Taylor Rutland of Kendall, N.Y., who have played professionally in Ireland, are expected. Taylor and Maya, both forwards, made their reputations at Roberts Wesleyan University.
Five former Rochester Lady Lancers are on the squad – defender Madeline Tulloch, midfielders Victoria Sabel, Taylor Ashe, and forwards Taylor Wingerden and Winsom Hudson.
On March 6, Flower City took over the Lady Lancers’ membership in the UWS. The Lancers had competed in the league from 2017-22, taking the 2020 season off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
FC Buffalo and the Lady Lancers finished tied atop their division last year, but Buffalo was awarded the division’s lone playoff berth after the teams traded 2-0 home wins during the regular season.
“I think every game will be a challenge,” Groth said. “I don’t want to underestimate any team. We just want to be prepared for every challenge and opponent.”
Flower City 1872 will compete in the East Division with 20 teams. Those 19 other squads include the New England Mutiny, Albany Rush, BC United, FC Buffalo, Coppermine United, Connecticut Rush, Erie Commodores FC, FC Berlin, Keystone FC, Lancaster Inferno, Sporting CT, Maine Footy, New Jersey Copa FC, Steel City FC, Scorpions SC, New Jersey Copa, Steel City FC, Scorpions SC and Worcester Fuel FC.
Flower City Union will host Chattanooga FC in the second game of the doubleheader in National Independent Soccer Association at 6 p.m. on Saturday.