The Flash Fields hosted two successful ECNL League game weekends, setting the standard for soccer in Western NY. Sahlen's is now the primary sponsor of West Seneca Soccer Complex at 3747 Seneca Street in West Seneca. This long-term relationship gives the Flash an outstanding outdoor facility for training and game play. The Flash Academy welcomed Eric Dade, as Executive Director of Coaching. Eric comes to the Flash after 16 years of professional playing experience and 20 plus years in Youth Club development.
Ground broke for two full size outdoor turf fields at 6831 Seneca Street, just 0.3 miles west of Sahlen Sports Park, known as ‘Flash Fields.’ The Flash Boys program officially played its first season in the ECNL, joining our Girls program making WNY Flash Academy the destination for both boys and girls aspiring to play at the highest level of League play.
WNY Flash Academy announces commitment to develop the boys’ program in line with its girls’ program, expanding from the four youngest age groups to include U9 through U18 age groups. Flash tryout numbers were strong, forming boys’ teams in all age groups, multiple, strong and deep second teams, while strengthening all ECNL teams.
WNY Flash focuses all efforts on its Youth Academy which began operation in 2012 as WNY Flash Academy. Rob Ferguson was hired in June as Director of Coaching to develop young talent, and quickly expanded our youth program into a top player development program in the US. The WNY Flash Academy was accepted to the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) and finished its inaugural season with the WNY Flash 03G ECNL team finishing the season amid our nation’s top 16 teams in their age group. Ten (10) WNY Flash players were invited to US Soccer National Training Centers during this season and twenty-two players graduated to college teams from our 99/00G ECNL team, with commits to Florida State, Ohio State, Harvard, Old Dominion, SUNY Buffalo and Duquesne.
The Flash completed its fourth NWSL season with a record of 9-6-5. The season ended with the Flash first finals appearance since the 2013 season and the franchise first NWSL championship victory. It was also the final season of NWSL franchise existence in Rochester, New York, or as the Western New York Flash, after being purchased by the North Carolina FC. Their move to Cary, North Carolina had the team rebranded as the North Carolina Courage, January 2017.
The Flash finished its third NWSL season with a record of 6-5-9, missing the playoffs with the youngest team in the NWSL. Offseason rebuilding and roster revamping fielding 12 rookies including the 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th picks in the NWSL draft. Midfielder Sam Mewis managed to rank fourth in the league in shots (55) and sixth in shots on goal (27), while goalkeeper Chantel Jones was fourth in the league in saves (60) in 13 matches.
In its second season in the NWSL, the Flash failed to reach the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Despite a seventh-place finish, the team had many high points, including a 5-0 shutout of Portland Thorns FC on June 7. At the time, it was the largest margin of defeat in NWSL history and set a league record for largest win margin by a road team. Midfielder Carli Lloyd was named to the Second XI after posting eight goals and five assists.
In the clubs first season in the NWSL with hometown favorite and US National Team player Abby Wambach on the roster, Aaran Lines lead the Flash to the Regular Season Championship and landed the Number 1 seed heading into the playoffs. After beating No. 4 Sky Blue FC 2-0 in the semifinals, the Flash hosted No. 3 Portland Thorns FC at Sahlen's Stadium for the league title on August 31, 2013. In that game, in front of a season-high 9,129 fans, the Flash finished as runner-up, falling 2-0 to the Thorns. The Flash, who did not reach the top of the table until the final day of the regular season, were undefeated at home for 11- straight games. The club was only defeated in its home opener on April 27 and did not fall again until the NWSL Championship on August 31. As a club, the Flash set numerous league records, ranking atop the NWSL in goals scored (36), goals conceded (30) and goals against average (.909). Forward Abby Wambach and defender Brittany Taylor were honored on the NWSL Best XI, while goalkeeper Adrianna Franch earned Second XI commendations.
After the WPS suspended operations, the Flash joined the WPSL-Elite in 2012 and continued its winning ways. The team won its third league title (all in different leagues) with another penalty kick decision. After finishing the regular season 9-3-2, the Flash earned the second seed in the WPSL-E playoffs and went on to defeat the Chicago Red Stars 1-1 (4-2 PKs). In November of 2012, the Western New York Flash was selected as one of eight clubs for the then unnamed women’s professional soccer league. That league would become the National Women’s Soccer League, otherwise known as the NWSL.
After becoming Champions of the W-League in 2010, the Flash joined Womens Professional Soccer (WPS) league as an expansion team. With the league change, the team became the Western New York Flash and moved its home pitch to Rochester, NY at the newly named Sahlen’s Stadium. With its first pick in the 2011 WPS Draft, the Flash selected Alex Morgan and later signed 2010 WPS MVP and WPS Golden Boot winner Marta and Canadian star Christine Sinclair. After finishing the year 13-2-3, the Flash won the regular season title and hosted the 2011 WPS Championship game. The Flash became back-to-back champions in that game, defeating the Philadelphia Independence (coached by Paul Riley, head coach of the Flash in 2016) in penalty kicks in front of a WPS record 10,461 fans. Marta won the Golden Boot as the league’s top scorer, while Ashlyn Harris was named US Coast Guard Goalkeeper of the Yearand Whitney Engen was honored as the WPS Defender of the Year. Lines earned his second-consecutive ‘FieldTurf’ Coach of the Year honor and the 2011 Flash squad was named ‘FieldTurf’ WPS Team of the Year.
In just its second season, the Flash became W-League Champions, defeating the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 at Harry Welch Stadium in Santa Clarita, California. With the teams stellar season, head coach Aaran Lines was named ‘FieldTurf’ Coach of the Year. The undefeated season was led by Canadian International Kelly Parker who was named league MVP and Veronica Bouquet who was named W-League Championship MVP. Bouquet would later go on to become the WPS 2011 MVP with the Philadelphia Independence after starting her American career with the Flash.
The Buffalo Flash made its first competitive appearance in 2009 as a member of the W-League, making playoffs in their first year of existence.
The Sahlen Family founded the Flash in 2008 - then known as Buffalo Flash.