How did WSC start?
The history of the WSC and its founder Ginny McCullough is an inspiration for all. The WSC informally started in November 1999 by Ginny and the help of her two friends Nancy Angelini and Pat Yarmulnik. The story of Ginny’s life leading up to the creation of the WSC is amazing. Ginny grew up in a family of seventeen children. Upon graduating from Marquette University in 1986 with a BSN, RN , Ginny settled in the Milwaukee area with her husband Tom (an MU grad BA in ’83 and ’85 MS). They welcomed the first of their six children shortly thereafter.
Unfortunately, Leo had a stroke at birth. Years of physical, occupational and speech therapy ensued. Leo was diagnosed with having epilepsy when he was in the first grade. With the advent of years of different medications (which had horrible side-effects) that failed to control the seizures, the seizures continued to get worse. He had many different seizure types that were putting his life in jeopardy daily. It was a terrible nightmare that had no end in sight. When Leo was 12 years old, it became apparent that the only cure for him was a challenging and dangerous series of brain surgeries that would excise significant tissue from his brain. Ultimately, the right half of Leo’s brain was removed. The decision made by the McCullough’s was filled with extreme fear and anxiety as the surgery could leave Leo paralyzed on his left side with no guarantee that the seizures would be gone forever. Many who have epilepsy are not candidates for surgery. Leo was lucky but was presented with a double edged sword. There would be a high price to pay.
As the anxiety grew from the impending fourth and final surgery, Ginny needed some type of stress relief. Her husband Tom (played soccer all his life) suggested that she play soccer so she could kick something. Ginny soon found out that the opportunities for women were limited, especially if they had little or no experience. Ginny had never played soccer in her life and was 37 years old. It was then that with the help of a couple of friends that the WSC was formed.
Since then, the club has grown exponentially since its small beginnings of 19 friends – members who got involved to help Ginny out. It made a HUGE difference in her ability to cope with her stress. It became not only her stress release, her treadmill, her support system, her therapy sessions out on the field but also she met MANY wonderful new friends, became more confident and more physically fit. Leo has made great strides as well. He has permanently lost the peripheral vision on his left side and the movement in his left hand is limited. His extreme loss of short-term memory is always improving. Leo is a courageous, kind and bright 18 year old currently a senior at Nicolet High School. He has had to relearn much that we take for granted. If it weren’t for Leo and the nightmare of epilepsy, Ginny would not have needed to seek stress relief and the WSC as we know it would most likely not have been formed. Take the chance and get involved! You’ll be glad that you did. We are women helping women succeed on and off the field.
by Karen Cullen, Past WSC Director of Player Personnel 2004
Because people got to know me, they got involved in my life. Those relationships were a HUGE lifesavor for me and my family and as an added bonus, they helped me start the WSC! It is carried over in the WSC and has become the basis of the supportive community of women in our club. We have a required GetInvolved Program where members get to know each other through special fun events and then help each other in their special causes in our WSC community. GI Points are earned for participation. The GetInvolved Program is club driven and is powered through the Women’s Charities, Inc.
What is Women’s Charities, Inc.?
Women’s Charities, Inc. [WCI], is the 501c3 parent corporation of Women’s Soccer Club [WSC] supporting women’s soccer, and the Charities Fund. WCI website is currently under construction: www.womenscharitiesinc.org.
How does WCI empower the Women’s Soccer Club?
The WCI is committed to supporting women’s soccer through the operational management and supportive development of the WSC community through the GetInvolved Program. The WSC is a soccer club for women 16+ to 70+ matching teams and leagues with those with little or no experience to collegiate level of experience. WSC currently has over 2000 registered members. We play year round with an indoor season as well as an outdoor season. There are three, eight week sessions for each season of indoor soccer. There are many different leagues and divisions in those leagues:
- Open League
- Division 1
- Majors League – plays outdoor in summer and tournaments
- O25 League
- Women’s Premier League play indoor only
- Over 30 League
- Division 1
- Division 11
- Over 35 League
- Premier play indoor only
- Over 40 League
- Div 1 play indoor only
- Over 50 League is around the corner – indoor only
Futsal leagues are emerging
- O30 League
- Open League
Although MANY do, not everyone participate in both seasons. On average, there are about 850 women that play in one full season.
How does WCI support the Charities Fund?
The WCI is committed to the well-being of women by providing scholarships to women who cannot afford to play soccer/giving a hand up to those needing financial assistance to those injured from playing soccer. It also gives support to the players, their families and friends by promoting their special events/causes. GI Points are earned for participation.
We are in the process of developing programs by raising awareness of women’s health issues and fostering education on women’s health and wellness i.e partnering with Midwest Orthopedic Sports Medicine in providing athletic trainers at games and Dr Brian McCarty as our club MD in sports medicine for injury prevention – focusing on ACL tear prevention, etc.