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New USL Super League side Tampa Bay tabs Christina Unkel as president, Denise Schilte-Brown as head coach

Christina Unkel and Denise Schilte-Brown sit on the back of a leather chair and smile for a photo.
(Photo submitted by Tampa Bay)

The state of Florida is about to have its second professional women’s soccer club. On Saturday, the USL Super League announced that Tampa Bay will join the newly founded league in 2024. The USL Super League is currently petitioning for Division I status in the United States.

Among the club’s first hires are some notable names, especially in the Tampa region. Christina Unkel, a longtime FIFA referee, lawyer and soccer broadcast analyst who lives in nearby Sarasota, Florida, has been tabbed as the club president. Meanwhile, Denise Schilte-Brown has been hired as the team’s first head coach after spending the last 15 years as head coach at the University of South Florida. The university is located in the St. Petersburg and Tampa regions.

Amber Brinkley, head of marketing and communications for the Tampa Bay club, said it was important for owners and investors to bring two talented, and local, women into the ranks.

“I am super thrilled. I was employee No. 1. I started in April. This is a start-up club with a huge vision,” Brinkley exclusively told The Equalizer. “We will be utility players. To have leaders in place to guide the direction we’re headed has given me a huge boost, personally.”

Unkel and Schilte-Brown also spoke exclusively with The Equalizer about their new roles and the road ahead for Tampa Bay’s first-ever women’s professional team. While the club does not have a name yet or branding — Brinkley said that will come in late summer after surveying and including the community — both women are eager to get the ball rolling.

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