Before the Albany Rush came to United Women’s Soccer, summer options for elite female soccer players in the region were limited.

Now the outstanding from the capital region have the opportunity to play high-level, competitive games in the summer.

Without the rush, Caitlin Wania from Siena would have trained with friends and completed the workouts assigned by her trainer on her own.

“Nothing else,” she said. “That’s why it was so great. I have the feeling that I haven’t missed a shot. “

UWS is a national league that covers the United States and Canada and aims to bridge the gap in women’s football between college and professional ranks. There is also UWS League 2 which started as a development path. The Albany Rush operates teams in both leagues, though head coach Brian Gordon said some players switch back and forth between each squad and both teams train together.

Rush Soccer is a nationwide program with teams of all skill levels. The UWS Albany Rush was created to provide a player path for women in the capital area, Gordon said.

“We wanted to have a team that would support Rush teams but also the Albany area,” Gordon said.

The girls on the U12 team are invited to the games to give them a feel for the opportunities that are there for them, he added.

Because trial training this year was restricted by COVID-19 restrictions, many of Gordon’s Rush members were recruited from a winter training program he ran. Gordon also had many connections from his time as an assistant coach at UAlbany, according to Kendra Harbinger.

“I was like, ‘Oh, this sounds great and it’s fun and it’s competitive,'” she said.

The standout Schoharie High School, Katie Krohn stepped in to hone their skills and play with older sister Carrie who is now a star in Siena.

“I really enjoy playing with my sisters again because I haven’t played with my eldest sister since graduating from high school,” said Krohn.

Middle sister Meghan is also on the team.

One of the advantages, said Krohn, is being able to learn from the older girls on the team.

“They are really influential and it definitely helps me prepare for my future and play in college,” she said.

Krohn, who made an oral commitment to Hartford, said watching some of the UAlbany players come to rush practice and then do their assigned preseason workouts showed her just how committed Division I players need to be.

Wania said she enjoys the team’s competitiveness and camaraderie.

“It’s very positive,” she said. “I was a little worried that there would be different cliques, but once we get to the field, everyone wants the same goal.”

Harbinger described the van ride to a recent game that featured music from country to the Backstreet Boys.

“On the way to the games we play aux, we sing together, we make music. And we just have fun together on the field, ”she said, even though she took the game seriously.

Krohn said she had already seen her rush experience changing her game for the better, especially when it came to adjusting to a higher speed and getting the ball off her feet quickly.

Harbinger agreed.

“I think it will definitely add competitive advantage for all Albany girls who play in this league,” she said.

Krohn does not fail to take part in other typical summer activities.

“That’s what I love, I enjoy being close to the game,” she said.

Four games in the season are the rush 1-3-0. Her next home game is on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Lansingburgh High School, her home field. Tickets are $ 10 for adults and free for those under the age of 18.