During the summer and fall of 1977 a group of women began playing soccer for Club Atlantic, a for-profit league run by Max Spector. By late winter 1978 a small group of these women became frustrated that the only women's soccer available was this loosely organized for-profit league. Brought together by Ellen Simons these women organized themselves into two teams, the Charles River Women's Soccer Team and the Cambridge Women (who later became the Model Cafe Steamers), found coaches, playing fields and a youth summer league (BATS) that would allow women to play.
At the same time, Sue Spencer brought together representatives from the two teams to begin working on organizing a women's soccer league. Meetings were held at M.I.T. and a league constitution, modeled on one Spencer brought from Texas, was adopted. Liz Gordon was elected the first president of the Massachusetts Women's Soccer League. Both Spencer and Gordon are former CRWS players. Spencer still plays with the team today.
From two teams in 1978 the Eastern Massachusetts Women's Soccer League (EMWSL, as the league is now known) has grown to include nearly 50 teams, organized into four divisions including a recreational and elite division, which sends a team to National Cup Tournaments. Teams play one day a week during the spring and fall seasons and twice a week during the summer season. The league is affiliated with the USSF. Guided by the CRWS team's own philosophy, early efforts of the league focused on recruiting and welcoming women of all abilities, encouraging them to become referees and coaches, and working to obtain fields, playing time, and qualified referees for women's games. The CRWS team contributed to this effort by advertising to attract players, running open practices and helping new players form teams of their own.
Members of the CRWS team have gone on to be coaches at the youth, high school, college and national levels. Lauren Gregg, Assistant Coach for the Women's National Team and Head Coach for the Under-21 Women's National Team, and Linda Grant, current chair of the Women's Committee for the Amateur Division of the USSF, a Member of the National Women s Committee and CONCACAF representative to the FIFA Women s Committee, are both former CRWS players.
Twenty one years later, the CRWS team continues to be active in the EMWSL. They recently won their division at end-of-season tournaments in both indoor and outdoor soccer. The team's legacy is a women's soccer league that not only provides a place for women of all ages and abilities to play and enjoy soccer, but which has also served to expand women's roles at the leadership level both nationally and locally. CRWS is proud that what they began in 1978 is an important part of the ongoing expansion of women's soccer in the United States.
In April, 1999, CRSW was recognized for its contributions to women's soccer by being inducted in the Massachusetts Soccer Hall of Fame.