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A new professional women’s soccer team will call Sedona home starting in spring 2014.

The W-League announced Nov. 26 that it has added the expansion Sedona FC Strikers to its women’s pro-am soccer league for the 2014 season. The strikers will join the league’s Western Conference, where they will play a 12-game schedule starting in May and continuing through July.

The team has not announced the venue in which it will play its home games yet, but that announcement is expected in the next few weeks.

The Strikers will be owned and operated by AGM Soccer Management, LLC, and the day to day operations will be conducted by General Manager Oscar Guardado and Head Coach Manny Arias.

“Sedona FC is an important addition to the W-League and will help the already formidable Western Conference grow even stronger,” said Amanda Duffy, senior director of the W-League. “Oscar Guardado and Manny Arias have devoted themselves to growth of soccer in Arizona at all levels, and we are confident they will operate a first-class franchise while helping to raise the profile of women’s soccer and the W-League throughout Arizona.”

Guardado began playing soccer professionally in his native El Salvador in 1988 and played semi-professional soccer in the United States until retiring in 2006. He later became heavily involved in Arizona club soccer, prompting him to create Estudantez AZ with the idea of developing young players with the skills to play internationally in professional and semi-professional leagues.

“We are looking forward to this great opportunity to put local talent and soccer in Arizona on the map and bring opportunities to play and be seen at a higher level,” Guardado said. “It is truly an honor to be part of the W-League, as we feel it will give Sedona FC Strikers the experience and exposure we need. Our ultimate goal is to provide different opportunities for female soccer players to showcase their talent and skills on a local, national and international stage while giving back to the community of Sedona and promoting female soccer at a more professional level.”

For the full story, please see the Friday, Dec. 13, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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