METUCHEN, NJ – Amidst the continuing stress of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sports industry, United Women’s Soccer (UWS) is still positioning itself for a full 2021 schedule and continues to expand their national footprint. A new Southeast Conference will be formed for the 2021 season and the first organization set to join is the Atlanta Panthers Soccer Club (APSC), the league’s first-ever team based out of Georgia.
Atlanta Panthers SC (APSC) is independently operated and owned whose primary objective is to provide an opportunity for females to grow, develop and cultivate into talented excellent soccer players and athletes. Additional teams in the Southeast Conference will be announced in the coming weeks. Applications are still being accepted and reviewed for the upcoming 2021 campaign.
“It is great to announce the addition of the Atlanta Panthers into United Women’s Soccer,” said UWS Commissioner Joe Ferrara. Jr. “As we grow our Southeast Conference, the Atlanta region has always been a soccer hotbed. Bernadette Beale and the Atlanta Panthers organization have shown tremendous resolve and loyalty to UWS as conversations have been ongoing for over two years. We are excited to give these talented women a platform to succeed.”
“The Atlanta Panthers SC is excited and honored to be joining United Women’s Soccer,” said Team Owner Bernadette “Bernie” Beale. “We commend the great work and the authenticity of the league. I’m delighted to be in partnership with UWS Commissioner Joseph Ferrara, Jr. and Executive Director Stephanie Cleaves. The structure and concept of the league is a tremendous fit for our team. The league will provide each player with quality competition to help them develop and reach their full potential.”
Bernie Beale has coached many middle and high school teams as well as working with the Takoma Park Recreational Team for five years. An experienced team advisor and manager, Beale formed APSC in March 2016 with the desire of giving back to the community and providing women with the opportunity to continue playing the best sports game ever. The team motto is: Rise Up, Take Charge & Win.
The inaugural Head Coach for the upcoming UWS Southeast season will be Ron Apollon. Apollon has been coaching for over 25 years and holds the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) “A”, “National Youth” and “National Goalkeeper” licenses. During his career, Ron has led the Atlanta Silverbacks Women WPSL team with stints as Director of Coaching at the Metro North Youth Soccer Association (now NASA Tophat) and the Georgia Rush Soccer Club along the way.
Apollon has also coached in the collegiate ranks at Georgia State University, Georgia Perimeter College and Oglethorpe University. He also has experience at the high school level at Pace Academy and is currently the Assistant Varsity Coach for both the boys and girls teams at Fellowship Christian School. The founder and director of the Last Defense GK Academy (LDGA), Ron is a member of the GA Olympic Developmental Program (ODP) staff and has overseen its Goalkeeper Program for the past nine years.
Team tryouts for the Panthers’ premier and provisional squads will be held on January 24, 2021 (1-3:00 PM) at the Franklin Gateway Sports Complex in Marietta, GA. For more information on the team, visit their official website at atlantapanthersoccer.com.