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Women’s soccer team sets goals in Cibolo

Mayor says city welcomes San Antonio Athenians with open arms

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The San Antonio Athenians, a woman’s soccer club based in Cibolo, beat FC Austin Elite 3-2 during a match June 8 (above/below). The fan base is growing, teammates say, and more than 1,000 spectators came to the game. The next, free home match is June 22. Photos by Collette Orquiz

CIBOLO — The San Antonio Athenians, an upstart semiprofessional women’s soccer club, is making a footprint in Cibolo.

This spring, the team announced the 4,000-seat Cibolo Multi-Event Center at 210 S. Main St. will host all of their home contests this season.

Two of those – against the Houston Aces and FC Austin Elite – ended with a loss and a win, respectively.

In addition to United Women’s Soccer tilts, the Athenians will also participate in “friendlies” – exhibitions against other international female squads – and youth camps.

The best Athenians’ matchup, according to owner Pete Veras, is their newfound collaboration with Cibolo.

“From our first conversation, we realized that if we partnered up with them, we would be family,” he said. “The mayor (Stosh Boyle) has been great and has been supportive, as well as the council members and (City Secretary) Peggy Cimics.  They’ve helped connect us to new businesses, including Santikos (Entertainment). The city has welcomed us with open arms and we want to return that favor by putting out a good product on the field.”

Santikos recently debuted a multiple-screen cinema and entertainment/dining complex in town, just off Interstate 35 at Wiederstein Road.

Sugey Bedoya (left), a sports psychologist on the coaching staff of the San Antonio Athenians, and assistant head coach Alex Loiza (right) address the team during a recent practice. Photo by Collette Orquiz

This is only the Athenians’ second year of existence, due to a temporary stoppage in play.

Competing in the Women’s Premier Soccer League’s Southwest-South Division, the team compiled an 8-4 third-place record in its inaugural 2017 campaign, narrowly missing the playoffs.

However, the women couldn’t score similar success the following season, as the club halted operations due to a change in league ownership, Veras said.

Playing in UWS, a developmental league boasting 23 teams, provides the Athenians a more exclusive pool of competition, he noted.

Veras hopes headquartering in a burgeoning municipality like Cibolo will put the Athenians back in the win column.

“We are excited to be part of Cibolo’s growth, and we want to continue progressing as a team,” he said. “Our objective is to bring a professional team to the area … This market needs something like what we want to provide to the community.”

The city’s goal is to make the Athenians feel at home.

“Cibolo is a loyal town,” Boyle said. “We are loyal to our eateries, businesses and we are going to be loyal to the Athenians. We are happy to have them here.”

Brooke Hanson, a forward, said the team appreciates the town’s backing.

    “You’re going to work 10 times … harder when you have people supporting you,” she added.

    The unpaid athletes include high school, college and aspiring pro players.

To learn more about the club, visit https://www.sanantonioathenians.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/SanAntonioAthenians/

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