June 11, 2012
WASHINGTON - Former Georgetown University women's soccer player Samantha Baker (C'12) always wanted a chance to play her sport after graduating from college.
Had she wanted to, she could have pursued something overseas. And when the Women's Professional Soccer league folded, a chance in the United States seemed to slip away as well.
But chance stepped in and Baker was invited to try out for the D.C. United Women's team before graduation. The team's coach, Mike Jorden, had a niece who played high school soccer with Baker in her home state of California. Jorden, in his second season with D.C. United, reached out to Baker after the finish of her senior season.
Baker, who is working at a local restaurant this summer while pursuing job opportunities in the non-profit sector, made the team after trying out and joined after graduation.
"It's been great so far," Baker said. "I wanted to have the chance to continue playing and this has given me that chance. It's not just some recreational league and I like that aspect of it. The players on this team are very serious about the game and being right here in D.C., it's allowing me to play and work."
D.C. United Women play as part of the W-League, the first and longest-standing women's soccer league in North America, featuring the highest level of women's soccer in the United States and Canada. The 2012 W-League campaign features 30 teams in three regional conferences playing 12 to 14 regular season matches.
Baker has played in three games for D.C. United, who are 5-0 and in first place in the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division, scoring two goals for four points. She notched a goal in the team's 3-2 win at Dayton last week and was an honorable mention selection for the W-League's Team of the Week after playing the full 90 minutes in the game.
And while she didn't know many of the players on the team, Baker has found one familiar face as Georgetown volunteer assistant coach Hayley Siegel is in her second season of play with the team.
After Baker's senior year at Georgetown surprisingly ended with the team's BIG EAST Semifinal loss at West Virginia and the Hoyas were left out of the NCAA Tournament despite a program best 15 wins in the regular season during the 2011 season, she has been thrilled with the chance to play.
"I didn't want to end my career the way it did," Baker said. "It was tough for us to finish like that because we had such a great season, but it's been great to get out there and play again. Hopefully, we can continue to play like we have and have some fans come out to see us too."
D.C. United will be hosting three games at its home field, the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Md., starting this coming weekend. On Friday, June 15, the team plays the Women's Pro SUPERGROUP at 8 p.m. and on Wednesday, June 20, the team hosts the Fredericksburg Impact in a W-League game beginning at 7:30 p.m., with kids in club jerseys admitted free. The final game of the team's June SuperTicket is a W-League matchup on Saturday, June 23 against the Virginia Beach Piranhas, with kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m.