Western Mass Pioneers
|Full name||Western Mass Pioneers|
|Head Coach||Federico Molinari|
|League||Premier Development League|
|2017||3rd, Northeast Division
|Website||Club home page|
Western Mass Pioneers is an American soccer team based in Ludlow, Massachusetts, United States. Founded in 1998, the team plays in the Premier Development League (PDL), the fourth tier of the American Soccer Pyramid, in the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference.
The team plays its home games at Lusitano Stadium, where they have played since 1998. The team's colors are red, black and white.
In August 1997, the USISL announced it had awarded an expansion franchise to Gremio Lusitano, an amateur soccer club based in Ludlow, Massachusetts. The USISL had set a condition for new teams which prohibited ethnic team names which prevented the club from using the name Gremio or Lusitano. Therefore, the region's newspaper, the Springfield Union-News, held a week-long "name the team" contest which resulted in the selection of Pioneers. In October 1997, general manager Rick Andre named Leszek Wrona, who had both played for and coached Gremio Lusitan, as head coach of the Pioneers. In September 1999, the Pioneers expressed an interest in moving up to the A-League after winning the USL D-3 Pro League. However, the team elected to remain in the D-3 Pro League. In 2001, John Voight replaced Wrona has head coach. Wrona would return in 2005, leave in 2007 and return again in 2008. By 2003, the team was fielding ten Junior Pioneer youth teams which competed in the Super Y-League. Through all these years, the team has remained under the ownership of Gremio Lusitano.
On December 22, 2009, following the exodus of teams from the USL to the new North American Soccer League, the Pioneers announced that they would self-relegate, and play in the USL Premier Development League in 2010.
As of October 29, 2013.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Notable former players
This list of notable former players comprises players who went on to play professional soccer after playing for the team in the Premier Development League, or those who previously played professionally before joining the team.
|Year||Division||League||Reg. Season||Playoffs||Open Cup|
|1998||3||USISL D-3 Pro League||3rd, Northeast||Division Semifinals||2nd Round|
|1999||3||USL D-3 Pro League||1st, Northern||Champion||Did not qualify|
|2000||3||USL D-3 Pro League||5th, Northern||Conference Finals||Did not qualify|
|2001||3||USL D-3 Pro League||7th, Northern||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2002||3||USL D-3 Pro League||1st, Northern||Quarterfinals||Did not qualify|
|2003||3||USL Pro Select League||3rd, Northern||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2004||3||USL Pro Soccer League||3rd, Northern||Did not qualify||2nd Round|
|2005||3||USL Second Division||1st||Final||3rd Round|
|2006||3||USL Second Division||6th||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2007||3||USL Second Division||6th||Did not qualify||2nd Round|
|2008||3||USL Second Division||6th||Quarterfinals||2nd Round|
|2009||3||USL Second Division||7th||Did not qualify||2nd Round|
|2010||4||USL PDL||6th, Northeast||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2011||4||USL PDL||3rd, Northeast||Did not qualify||1st Round|
|2012||4||USL PDL||3rd, Northeast||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2013||4||USL PDL||4th, Northeast||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2014||4||USL PDL||3rd, Northeast||Did not qualify||2nd Round|
|2015||4||USL PDL||5th, Northeast||Did not qualify||1st Round|
|2016||4||USL PDL||2nd, Northeast||Divisional Playoff||Did not qualify|
|2017||4||USL PDL||3rd, Northeast||Did not qualify||1st Round|
- USL Second Division Regular Season Champions 2005
- USL D-3 Pro League Northern Division Champions 2002
- USL D-3 Pro League Champions 1999
- USL D-3 Pro League Northern Division Champions 1999
- Leszek Wrona (1998–2001, 2004–2006, 2008–2010)
- John Voight (2002–2003)
- Tom d'Agostino (2007)
- Joe Calabrese (2011)
- Federico Molinari (2012–present)
Attendance stats are calculated by averaging each team's self-reported home attendances from the historical match archive at http://www.uslsoccer.com/history/index_E.html.
- 2009: not yet available
- 2010: 669
- Soccer invades WMass Union-News (Springfield, MA) – Tuesday, August 12, 1997
- Wrona will coach Pioneers Union-News (Springfield, MA) – Tuesday, October 14, 1997
- Pioneers explore new route Union-News (Springfield, MA) – Friday, September 17, 1999
- Pioneers notebook – Andre to head soccer operation Union-News (Springfield, MA) – Wednesday, February 19, 2003
- Pioneers head to PDL in 2010