GU Alumnus Named WUSA Soccer Director

Button Helps Build New Women’s League

By Stephen Owens Hoya Staff Writer

Eight and a half years ago, during the Georgetown women soccer team’s inaugural season as a NCAA-Division I program, senior captain Katy Button (CAS ’94) broke a scoreless tie 25 seconds into overtime to lift Georgetown over Mount St. Mary’s and give the Hoyas their third win in team history.

In the fall of 1993, Button and her fellow founding members of the Georgetown women’s soccer program proceeded to win eight games, which is still the team record for most victories in a season.

Although Button was a senior by the time the Hoyas finally achieved varsity status in Division I women’s soccer, the program actually began three years earlier when Button was a freshman.

The luxuries for the Hoyas during those first few years were few and far between, however, as Button and her teammates used the old uniforms and soccer balls of the men’s team. Moreover, the women also had to borrow Head Coach Keith Tabatznik from the men’s team to serve as their mentor for the first few seasons before Leonel Popol took the reins when the Hoyas joined Division I in 1993.

“We were a group of people who really wanted to play soccer,” Button said of the founding Hoyas.

As a member of the first crop of female soccer players to graduate from Georgetown, Button landed a job in the Office of the First Lady and began working a mere three days after graduation. Immersed in the world of politics, Button devoted her efforts to the promotion of women’s sports, and specifically, the implementation of Title IX.

In the summer of 1999 Button found herself getting re-involved with women’s soccer during the women’s World Cup. It was during this time that murmurs of a professional women’s soccer league in the United States began. Button used the opportunity to escape the world of politics and join the world of sports when she was offered the position of director of soccer operations for the Women’s United Soccer Association.

“I wanted to take a break from politics,” Button said of her decision to join the administration of the WUSA.

Having been a founding member of Georgetown’s soccer program eight years earlier, Button was no stranger to new and big things.

The WUSA, which according to Button still has many issues to settle before it opens play next April (such as the locations of stadiums) has had no trouble attracting the best talent across the world. In a statement released earlier this month, all 20 members of the 1999 World Cup championship team committed to the WUSA, coining themselves the “founding members” of the league. These founding members include the notable likes of Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers and Brandi Chastain, who became household names following the United States’ dominance throughout the World Cup.

“The world’s top female soccer talent came together to make sure that the WUSA is the very best women’s pro soccer league in the world,” the statement added.

The WUSA has approved eight cities which will host teams in the league: Atlanta, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Orlando-Tampa, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Neither the stadium sites nor team names have been released as of yet.

After Button finishes her one-year stint as director of soccer operation, she will likely serve as the general manager for the D.C. team.

A women’s soccer league joins the ranks of professional sports five years after the Major League Soccer became the premier league for men’s professional soccer.

MLS, however, has had trouble drawing interest and crowd attendance has been lower than league officials initially hoped and anticipated.

Button addressed the problem the WUSA may have in the coming years in drawing interest for women’s professional soccer.

“Starting any league takes a while to get on its feet,” Button said.

Eventually, however, Button expects the MLS and WUSA to feed off each other as fan support grows for both leagues.

“A women’s league will help build the galaxy of professional soccer,” she said.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.