FC Buffalo women’s soccer

JOIN FCBW — Interested Players | Interested staff email wolf@fcbuffalo.org | Partners and sponsors wanted for men’s and women’s teams: email nick@fcbuffalo.org

FC Buffalo is humbled to announce that we’ve accepted an invitation to field our first women’s team. FC Buffalo Women begins play this season in United Women’s Soccer, a national pro-am league composed of professionally operated clubs within the United States and Canada.

United Women’s Soccer provides high-level competition for aspiring and former professionals, college players, and international stars, and counts amongst its alumni, including the 8th and 9th picks in the 2021 National Women’s Soccer League draft and newly-capped United States women’s national team star Catarina Macario.


FC Buffalo Women is committed to putting women into key positions whenever possible, including one of two appointments as the club restructures its operations. We’re grateful that Liz Mantel has accepted a role as director of women’s soccer, while Ryan Schupp has been named director of community soccer development.

We’re so excited to complete the FC Buffalo family with FC Buffalo Women joining the UWS,” Mantel said. “To be able to bring a higher level of women’s soccer back to WNY only makes sense with the wealth of talent we have in the area. The passion our players and staff bring will only help our club to continue our initiative to foster an always-growing environment for community and soccer.”


FC Buffalo was approached last year about bringing a UWS team to our club, and the league hierarchy went out of its way to answer every question. That allowed Liz and co-owner Nick Mendola to do painstaking research on what it would take to make the club a success while also operating safely during a pandemic.

The club contacted a handful of high-character women in the Buffalo soccer community to discuss the benefits of and obstacles to starting a women’s team, and this quartet developed into the FC Buffalo women’s soccer advisory board.

The members of the advisory board are:

  • Courtney Mann Rinow – former Empire United standout at youth level and University at Buffalo captain, All-MAC First team in 2014 when she led Shawn Burke’s Bulls to the NCAA Tournament, later serving as volunteer assistant coach at UB.
  • Gabrielle Wilson – A star goalkeeper at Holy Angels Academy, Gabrielle played college soccer at Niagara University, where she ranks in the top ten in saves, shutouts, and minutes in a season. She has since turned her passion to coaching, and is currently in her fifth season as a volunteer assistant with Canisius College.
  • Kathleen DiPasquale – Lettered all four years and was named All-MAAC for Canisius College’s soccer team and two more on the Golden Griffins’ lacrosse team. Was three-time All-New York State in high school for Williamsville North and later coached Empire Revs of the WPSL and Niagara County Community College.
  • Carissima Cutrona  – A two-time All-American in high school at Williamsville South Carissima was a two-time All-MAC player at the University at Buffalo, where she was eligible for the NWSL draft after a UB career that saw her finish sixth all-time in goals, fifth in assists, and sixth in points. Was named UWS All-East Conference for the WNY Flash in 2017 and 2018. Played youth soccer at Blackwatch Premier.

The advisory board issued the following statement:

“We’ve grown up playing locally and were able to continue our playing careers into college, but for the most part that is where our progression in the women’s game came to an end. Whether it was in-between seasons or after graduation, there weren’t any options to play competitively or even see a high-level game unless we wanted to leave town.  That is until now. 

“We’re beyond excited to see this idea come to life and we look forward to creating a new space for both players and devoted fans of the game to pursue their passions. It’s been a long time coming, but this summer Buffalo is getting a new team to rally behind; Mama’s got a brand new bag.”

Buffalo has a long and proud history of women’s soccer, churning out numerous college stars and serving as the home for one of the best professional teams in history when the Western New York Flash won four different leagues between 2010-16 while employing stars like Christine Sinclair (Canada), Marta (Brazil), Caroline Seger (Sweden), and a host of now-World Cup champions from the USWNT including Jessica McDonald, Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Abby Wambach, Abby Dahlkemper, Ashlyn Harris, Sam Mewis, Adrianna Franch, Whitney Engen, and Sydney Leroux at various points. But the area has been without a top-level women’s team since the Flash’s last UWS team finished play in 2017.

FC Buffalo Women has begun the process of finding coaches, players, and staffers for the UWS season but encourages anyone with interest in getting involved to contact us through the club’s general email inbox: wolf@fcbuffalo.org.

The club is also thrilled to announce the commitments of three players including Cutrona to the team. Dani Braun Martinez is an Iroquois High School product who was AMCC Player of the Year at D’Youville College and an UWS All-East Conference team honoree for the Flash in 2017. And Jamie Boyar is another Will South alum who went on to big things in college, twice named Daemen College Female Athlete of the Year while leaving the school as the program’s all-time goals leader for coach Dan Dolan.

“Wanting to begin a project like this and putting it into action requires something special, and the women who’ve taken hold of this idea and made it a reality have energized our club,” said Nick Mendola, club co-owner. “We’ve kept a fairly-tight lid on this idea, but the enthusiasm in our community from anyone we’ve about FC Buffalo Women has been nothing short of fantastic. I consider it an honor to help build this into something truly special and to create more of the memories I hold dearly from our first 11 years on the men’s side.

“On behalf of the club I want to thank the advisory board for their energy and vision. I also want to thank Soccer Sam Fantauzzo of the Rochester Lady Lancers for his guidance, and the countless members of the women’s soccer community who have lent their expertise and wisdom in how we can make sure FC Buffalo Women is an inclusive, passionate, and welcoming side.”

To celebrate FC Buffalo Women’s inaugural voyage, the club has announced that any one who buys a season ticket to the UWS season will gain admission to men’s NPSL games. By extension, existing FC Buffalo men’s season ticket holders will be able to use their season ticket to get into women’s games.

The club is also launching FC Buffalo Women’s Champions Club in order to insure the future of the project by offering several tiers of items for a limited time only as both the NPSL and UWS sides prepare for the unexpected challenges that may be presented by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

FCBFLO is proud to announce overwhelming sponsor support for this project, plus wants to give special gratitude to Donuts Delite, Lloyd Taco Factory, and Community Beer Works for a to-be-announced exciting plan.

We are one club.

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