A famous quote from the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. states, “Whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”
Progress was a major theme for Reading United A.C. during the 2023 season and like the mighty locomotive that adorns our crest, the club took some major steps forward in 2023. The club launched a new women’s team while the men’s team took to the field for their 26th season as the Greater Reading area’s premier soccer team. Both teams found success on and off the field, solidifying the Reading United organization as one of the top pre-professional clubs in the country.
A new Reading United women's team took to the field in 2023, playing in the Women’s Premier Soccer League. The core of Reading’s new women's team featured 25 of the 40 players that played either high school or collegiate soccer in Berks County. Ten Berks high schools and two colleges, Kutztown University and Penn State Berks, were represented.
The debut season for the United Women was a smashing success. The women compiled a 7-1-2 record under head coach Tom Gosselin that saw them storm into the WPSL playoffs, finishing the regular season on a seven match unbeaten run. That streak saw the women tally 14 goals while conceding just three goals.
Wyomissing Area alum Rebecca Kotula captained Gosselin’s side and showed why she is a second team All-American at East Stroudsburg University. Kotula found the back of the net eight times for United in 2023, including the club’s first ever WPSL goal in the opening contest against local rivals, PA Classics.
Expansion sides rarely have the success the Reading United women had in 2023. United rode their seven victories to a berth in the WPSL playoffs in their debut season. In the opening round of the playoffs, Abby Doyle’s thrilling goal in an overtime victory over Fever SC helped Reading claim the Mid-Atlantic Conference crown and a place in the WPSL Eastern Regional Championship playoffs. Though they fought valiantly, the United women fell to the eventual Eastern Region champions, the Rhode Island Rogues.
Looking towards the 2024 season, Gosselin said, “Next year I am optimistic we can grow even more with the inaugural season under our collective belts. We all learned so much and the team handled all speed bumps with the mentality of winners. Everything achieved was a collective effort of ownership, staff, players and fans.”
Under third year coach Casey Moore, the Reading United men continued to build momentum in their 26th season in USL League Two. Moore’s side compiled a 5-2-7 record, good for a third place finish in the highly competitive Mid-Atlantic Division.
The United men took a result in 12 of their 14 games this term and closed the season on a six match unbeaten run and finished with an unbeaten home record at the friendly confines of Alvernia University Stadium
Returning forward Sam Hershey paced the team with eight goals. Super-sub Shuma Sasaki provided a spark of the bench, hitting the back of the net five times, including a stunning strike deep in stoppage time to deny the Ocean City Nor’easters a win on our home turf.
Coach Moore reflected on the 2023 season, saying, “We felt it was a season of mixed emotions for the men's team. We played some really incredible soccer for a large portion of the season and built ourselves into a team that was extremely tough to beat. We had a strong attacking team, the only team in the division that was never shutout during the season and the only team in the division that finished the season undefeated at home.”
Reading United’s Vice President Art Auchenbach, “Watching the inaugural season of our women's team has been a remarkable journey. What an incredible achievement to be the WPSL Eastern Conference champions, and to play in the first round of the playoffs.” Auchenbach continued, “Although the ultimate goal of our men’s team is to win our division, our men showed heart and spirit with their play, which is a testament to their commitment to Reading United AC.”
Onward and forward, indeed.
If you followed RUAC's 2023 success, but missed out on an opportunity to get involved, now is the time to start thinking about next season. The RUAC men's and women's teams are looking for marquee jersey sponsors for our 2024 season. If you or your company is interested in moving forward with RUAC in 2024, see here for more information or feel free to reach directly out to Art or Christian.
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