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Muskegon Risers make history Saturday as area's first semi-pro women's soccer club takes field

Muskegon Risers

It was a historical day for the city Saturday evening, as the Muskegon Risers, the city’s first ever semi-professional women’s soccer team, played the first ever women’s soccer game at Mercy Health Arena, formerly known as the LC Walker arena.

Around 200 or so young girls and boys formed a tunnel on the field to hive five the team, as the Muskegon Risers came out one by one during player introductions. Risers Goalkeeper Emily Ponstein says, to inspire young female athletes on the Lakeshore, and to be a positive role model for them, is what the organization is all about; while the gravity of the moment was not lost on the team.

“Yeah, I think that the girls do understand the significance of this, especially in the female sport,” Ponstein said. “We today, before this game, had the opportunity to train a bunch of little girls, and personally interact with them. I, personally, have never had an experience like that before, so I am super glad to be a part of it.”

Head coach Chris Denham adds, that sure the team wants to win, but the Muskegon Risers is about more than just soccer-- it's about being a part of Muskegon’s revitalization.

“Honestly, right now, we are just concerned about building something that the community can be proud of,” Denhem said. “That’s where we are starting right now, and I think it starts with something like tonight.”

The game was just an exhibition Saturday night, as the Risers took on Muskegon Community College. The Risers will kick off their first regular season this summer in the United Women’s Soccer League.

The Risers won the game by the way on Saturday, 9-7.

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