Published Jul 9, 2022
Written By:  Thomas Costello
             Central Region Contributor

In 2021, the Albion Hurricanes Football Club (AHFC) Royals narrowly won a tightly contested Red River Conference Championship. With 17 minutes to go, the Royals won a penalty kick and converted the opportunity to win 1-0 over Tulsa Soccer Club.

Now, in 2022, the Royals get the chance to repeat as conference champions, this time against 2022 expansion team, DKSC BADTOP, who clinched the conference’s Northern Division. It’s a matchup between two strong teams and two coaches who know each other well.

WPSL coaches do a lot of multitasking. Most hold other coaching jobs outside of the league’s summer season, and the leaders of the Royals and DKSC aren’t any different. AHFC coach Rob McGann is new to the club since joining this year but has a history coaching youth soccer in Texas alongside BADTOP coach Michael Bones.

Between the two is a mutual respect grown out of similar goals of developing young soccer players and preparing them for college and beyond. On the field, McGann and Bones have faced off in the ECNL, a top elite youth club competition across the United States.


“It’s always fun when we meet in the ECNL,” McGann said. “I’m excited to see how our WPSL teams compare.”


So far in 2022, it’s a close comparison without facing off against each other. Both sides won their tightly contested divisions within the Red River Conference. In the North, DKSC faced established WPSL side Tulsa Soccer Club and FC Dallas, who’s supported by the same club in the men’s top American league, Major League Soccer. In response, BADTOP never lost to these top two competitors.

Down South, the Royals fended off the Houston Aces by three points in the standings. AHFC and the Aces split their two matches of the campaign and even though AHFC spent the season adjusting to its new coaching staff (Steve Williams and Rob McGann), the final result of playing for the conference title remains. 

For the Royals, they’re a side built using a strong foundation of youth talent brought up through their program. 


“It’s what we’re most proud of to see our kids come through the academy, and club structure, play in college and come back to represent Albion in the WPSL,” McGann said. “We’re proud of giving players that pathway to play through college and come back at a semi pro level to represent their youth club.”

Part of that group is a pair of Albion-trained players in forward Zoe Main and defender Rebekah O’Brien. Main’s impact on offense has been quick as she joined late in the WPSL season and has already added a goal this season. A development road that started with AHFC and leads to Main’s commitment to the University of Oklahoma

At the other end of their college career is O’Brien. The defender is a former defender at Texas Tech. The 2017 Second Team All-Big 12 selection continues to play with the Royals.


AHFC also features players that didn’t necessarily come up through the Royals organization, but make a big impact like midfielder Cami Privett who grew up and played youth soccer in California before moving to Texas and becoming a member of AHFC’s WPSL team in 2018.

Since then, Privett’s played competitively overseas in Norway and in the United States with the NWSL’s Houston Dash, until being waived in 2021. So far in 2022, Privett has two assists and a goal, leading the Royals midfield.

In front of the Royals two defenders is goalkeeper Atlee Olofson. Albion’s two goalkeepers from the 2021 WPSL season left when their youth club, Challenge Red Devils, joined the league as a 2022 expansion, leading to McGann bringing in Olofson. 

Olofson is a 17-year-old keeper who verbally committed to the University of Notre Dame and is in the United States National Team U17 player pool. Olofson’s impact on the field is known beyond McGann and the Albion coaches – DKSC is preparing for Olofson specifically after Bones learned she was leading the Albion backline on Thursday.


“You have to be pinpoint in front of the box,” Bones said. “That’s we’ll work on and specify tomorrow is make sure we’re on point with our finishing.”


Through that ECNL experience against the future Notre Dame goalkeeper, DKSC knows that scoring in the conference championship will be difficult. A way that BADTOP can excel is through short and long-distance chances. Midfielder Sam Courtwright takes all the set pieces for DKSC and is responsible for one of its best goals of the season, from long range. 

On June 15, against FC Dallas, Courtwright received a rebound and scored from beyond the 18-yard-box. It’s those types of dangerous chances that keep an opposing goalkeeper on their toes. 

Alongside Courtwright in the BADTOP midfield is Michelle “Marta” Gonzalez. Like the Brazilian midfielder Marta of the NWSL, Gonzalez is a creative, dynamic and crafty midfielder who’s scored two goals for DKSC this season.

On the defensive side of the field is Stephen F Austin University commit, defender Ella Morgan. Throughout the season, Morgan’s grown in her final season before playing collegiate soccer, using the WPSL as a means to grow and stay conditioned going into the next level.

Tonight is set for a battle in Texas, as DKSC BADTOP hosts the match in Dallas. Regardless of the outcome, the next step of the WPSL Playoffs will include a strong Texas club. Now it’s just deciding which one.