The seventh new club to commit to playing in the 2021 season of the Ohio Valley Premier League (OVPL) is the Highlanders FC. Based in Wheeling, West Virginia, the Highlanders are a newly established club aiming to bring high-level amateur soccer into the northern panhandle of the state.
The city of Wheeling is no stranger to athletics, boasting semi-professional hockey and indoor football along with NCAA Division II programs at Wheeling University and West Liberty University. The Highlanders will be the first-ever club in the city that is US Open Cup eligible. With a population of nearly 150,000 people, the Wheeling area is excited to bring great soccer to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and into another part of the Ohio Valley region.
Highlanders General Manager and Coach, Ryan Wall said “Wheeling has a growing soccer community that I’ve been part of since starting as an Assistant Coach at Wheeling Jesuit in 2001. The Highlanders will allow athletes from area college soccer programs including Wheeling University and West Liberty University to continue to play high level soccer through the summer. Plus, a high level “adult” age team will help our area youth bridge the gap from high school to college to even the professional level.”
The other Highlander coaches for their inaugural season are: JJ Hawkshaw, a Kilmarnock, Scotland native and former 4-year team captain and standout at Wheeling Jesuit Men’s D2 program and Brandon Regan, a former player and Assistant Coach at D1 Robert Morris University. Regan said, “As a product of Wheeling youth soccer, I am really looking forward to working with the team and making it something that area kids can watch and enjoy.”
About the OVPL
The Ohio Valley Premier League (OVPL) was created to operate a competitive soccer circuit offering the only adult amateur competition throughout the Ohio Valley (Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia) region. Player development is a central focus of the League, as the League strives to promote the region at a national level.
The OVPL seeks to grow the game of soccer in the region by providing a highly competitive soccer league for men, women, boys, and girls of all ages. The League is sanctioned through US Club Soccer and provides access to competing in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, the nation’s longest running tournament.
About US Club Soccer
US Club Soccer will foster the growth and development of soccer clubs throughout the United States to create the best possible development environment for players of all ages in every club.