by Gabrielle Ziegler
The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) games have just started back up and Shenandoah students have the opportunity to attend Washington Spirit games with no price tag attached.
On Shenandoah University’s website under the events calendar, there is a link to a Google Form to request tickets. Games are played either at Segra Field or Audi Field.
Shenandoah officially partnered with the Washington Spirit of the NWSL a little over a year ago on Feb. 25, 2021, at Shentel Stadium.
Shenandoah provides tuition-free classes and programs to Spirit players in exchange for marketing, hospitality, student internships, program collaborations, and on-campus events. This kind of partnership is a first for both the university and professional team.
One of the first players to enroll was Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledose (now Kingsbury). She is currently enrolled in Shenandoah’s MBA program.
“The longer we play professionally, the longer we are out of the traditional workforce,” said Bledose, during a 2021 interview. “Shenandoah has been great because they offer a hybrid model. I can go take classes in person or online. I’m learning business skills that I can apply to my life now as a professional athlete and that I can use as I transition to life after soccer.”
After just two home games in 2022, Shenandoah University has given out 78 tickets to faculty/staff and 128 tickets to students, according to Tiffanie Waller, executive assistant to the Vice President for Recruitment & Marketing at Shenandoah University.
“As a female soccer player, it is awesome to be able to attend professional women’s games for free,” said Shenandoah University first-year student, Kayla Jenkins. “It is so fun to watch those girls play.”
“I attended the game against Gotham FC [Football Club] a few weeks ago,” said Shenandoah first-year student Daniela Markey. “It was a very exciting game and I had a lot of fun.”
The Washington Spirit also took home its first National Women’s Soccer League championship this past season on Nov. 20, 2021.
President Tracy Fitzsimmons and her husband Knox Singleton joined the Spirit ownership group in 2021.
“The opportunity to partner with the Spirit is a true honor,” said Fitzsimmons, during a 2021 interview. “We stress the constructs of merging theory with practice and this symbiotic relationship will create opportunities for internships/practicums and mentoring opportunities … This is a perfect match.”