San Antonio Slayers is for women by women. San Antonio’s only women’s amateur indoor soccer team, playing in Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL), is owned and coached by Marilyn Elder. Elder has been wanting to own a team for the past four years and decided indoor soccer was where it’s at. “In indoor, weather doesn’t tell us whether we can have a game. It’s more comfortable for spectators, more intimate, and more exciting.”
Elder chose the name and designed the logo. She loves alliteration, SA Slayers has the poetry she was looking for. The name embodies a certain courageous toughness, stepping onto the turf to engage in combat of a sort to defeat your opponent. Elder loves Viking women. The logo has both the metal edge and feminine feel that she was looking for. Men and women can wear the logo and be proud. Elder summed it up best: “We are women. Not girls growing into women.”
Elder has been atypical in building her team. There have been no open tryouts. No social media blast. No youth team to cull from. Elder owns San Antonio Upper Deck Sports Bar located on the upper deck of Soccer Zone Live Oak. Elder will be the primary sponsor of the team. The bar provides the perfect vantage point of both indoor fields and the outdoor field, but more importantly, the players. Elder has been slowly recruiting for 3 years from this perch. “You learn a lot about people when they’ve had a few drinks.” She’s putting her logo and brand on them, and their on and off the field behavior should represent appropriately. She started by assembling a women’s team which has been playing in a Soccer Zone women’s league together for two years. She observed the players skill with the ball, but also their attitude, professionalism, commitment, and coachability.
Elder is the goalie on the team, honing her skill during a career in handball playing for Team USA. She wanted positive people that she wanted to be around. She wanted this first group to form the core of the team, building from there.
Having a passion for indoor soccer was also fundamental to establishing a dedicated team. How often were they playing indoor soccer versus outdoor? Were they playing more indoor soccer than outdoor? With seasons overlapping between indoor and outdoor, would a player jump ship for an outdoor amateur team? Or have to divide time? She was looking for loyalty, not just an opportunity to play.
The players are truly recognizable as local indoor athletes, playing in multiple leagues and different facilities, women’s and coed. One player, Becca Souza, shared some thoughts:
“First, I want to say how excited and blessed I am to have this opportunity to play at a higher level. SA Slayers represents empowerment for women, commitment, respect, and never quitting on each other. We have such a solid team and most importantly we support each other. We come to training and work hard, give each other pointers and have fun. Collectively we have all been playing together for two years which helps because we have that chemistry. We step on the field and know we have each other’s backs. This group of women are so special and I thoroughly enjoy playing with them. I am so excited to get the season underway and see as the Slayers reach their full potential.”
The Slayers recently hosted Houston Fury in a preseason match at Soccer Zone Live Oak, where all home games will be played. The Slayers defeated the Fury 7-5.
The Slayers venture began in earnest when the San Antonio men’s PASL team hosted Houston at Soccer Zone Live Oak. Elder was talking to the GM of the Houston team who had formed a women’s team and was expressing how much he’d like to see a women’s team in SA. That was the catalyst for Elder to set her plan in motion. She knew instinctively that this was the right timing for her. She’s been able to watch the men’s team practice and compete and took ideas from them. PASL recently held their meeting to determine schedule, the season starts in April. Will the Houston GM will be glad SA is in the league if Slayers keep defeating them?