The women of Lansing Area Women’s Soccer (LAWS) is a mix of women who have been passionate about the game for decades and those who have only recently started to love it. With multiple teams at varying playing levels, LAWS gives any woman the opportunity to play soccer.
The league is comprised of three different divisions: the Open Division (for anyone out of high school), a 30+ division, and a 38+ division. For LAWS, there are three seasons (spring, summer, and fall) and league manager Courtney Preseault says, “Many women play to feed their competitive spirit while others play for social interaction and physical fitness… We welcome all women regardless of their ability and experience.”
Players of all experience levels are welcomed. Rhoda Wolff, marketing director for LAWS, has played on her team, “The Shinkickers” for 10 years. Asked about her team, she says “we rarely practice (although we should).” In order to play year-round, her team also plays in another league. “In the winter, we play indoors at the Soccer Zone. Still a lot of fun, though!”
Wolff also knows how dedicated the players in the league are. “Most of the women in the league run or workout in addition to playing soccer.” Preseault agrees, adding that “for some, our weekly games are their exercise, others run races from 5Ks to marathons or are triathletes” Wolff believes this may help to curb the injuries sustained on the field. Aside from soccer and physical activity, most of the women have full-time jobs. Some played soccer growing up, some just started playing recently, and “[some] of us became interested in playing after watching our children play,” she says. Preseault says “we are mothers and grandmothers and even have some mothers and daughters that play together.”
Last year, LAWS celebrated its 30th year in existence. The non-profit organization features elected executive board members. The board members help make decisions surrounding the league, and their willingness to take on additional executive duties further show the women’s’ dedication to playing soccer in a competitive league like LAWS.
When asked about why she and the rest of the women continue to play, Wolff credits the enjoyment and fun she gets out of the game. “Personally, it is because I have yet to play a game where I did not end up laughing at one point or another. I feel like playing in the league has allowed me to transport back in time and become a kid again. It's a wonderful thing.” Preseault focuses on relationships, saying “I moved to Michigan as a young professional and some of my closest friendships in the area have developed with women I have met while playing in this league.”
Preseault concludes that “LAWS is a place where all woman can find a place to play, challenge themselves and form meaningful relationships with like-minded women.” If you’d like to catch a game, visit www.lansingareawomenssoccer.com for schedules.