The Milwaukee Torrent played their second season in the NPSL in 2017, their first as a full member of the league. The Torrent did not perform as well as they would have liked on the field, but from a business operations perspective the club more than met expectations. Hart Park proved a successful new home for the club from a business perspective, as they drew between 800 and 1200 fans, in a season that included not only the NPSL calendar, but also a series of friendlies against other regional teams. The Torrent will return to Hart Park for the 2018 and 2019 season, and starting this year they are adding a team in the WPSL.
The lower league men’s soccer landscape is complicated to say the least, and Milwaukee Torrent owner Andreas Davi sees the opportunity to invest in the women’s game instead of doubling down in the men’s side at this time. The announcement of a Torrent women’s side has been met with huge support from the business community. Several women-owned businesses in the area are sponsoring the WPSL club.
“Part of my goal is to give the children something to look up to in Milwaukee and Wisconsin,” Davi said. “We have 1000s of women playing in Wisconsin. Women’s soccer programs in Wisconsin colleges are more successful at this time. We are going to start with amateur status, and grow.”
The Torrent ladies will be the highest level of competition in sports for women in Wisconsin. The state does not have a team in the NWSL or WNBA. This gap in the market is part of the reason why Davi believes a professional women’s team is in the Torrent’s near future. “The goal for the women is to go professional. You have more women from Wisconsin playing pro, somewhere, right now than men. We are in conversations with leagues. We want to get them to the highest level possible,” Davi said.
Davi is a former player for Bayer Leverkusen of the Bundesliga, and maintains strong ties to his old club. Bayer Leverkusen has been a supporter of the Torrent, and Davi takes a group of players over to Leverkusen to train with the German club annually. He plans to take some of his women’s squad this year. Davi says he has access to capital to fund his ambitions to bring the highest level of women’s soccer, the NWSL, to Milwaukee, but first wants to get started in the WPSL. His men’s team in NPSL consists of paid professional players, and the goal would be to get the women’s team to that point before taking them all the way up to the NWSL.
“We have people who are interested in investing in having the team go up to the highest level in the women’s game. They would make it possible for us to go there without me losing control over the Torrent. We are also doing something that lets fans have a piece of ownership in the Torrent. Some details we cannot share quite yet,” said Davi.
For now, work on the Milwaukee Torrent women begins. The club has added two more coaches to the staff, a male and female coach. “We are in discussions with the colleges for players now that we are in the new year. We already have 10 players for the roster. We are planning for 25,” Davi shared. “After the AGM in Las Vegas in a few weeks we will know our WPSL schedule and what division we are in.”