The Muskegon Risers organization is proud to announce Debbie Pekel, Associate Head Coach during MKG’s inaugural women’s outdoor season, has been promoted to Head Coach of the women’s arena team in an agreement that extends through the 2025 season. During her first full season with the Risers in 2021, Coach Pekel demonstrated a high level of character, strong analytical mind, and an ability to manage players within an intensely competitive environment. A Muskegon native, her passion for the organization’s mission within the local community is another factor that will help create a firm foundation for the women’s arena program during it’s formative years.

“I’m thrilled to continue to be a part of the Risers in the arena format.” Coach Pekel added, “We have an amazing facility in the heart of downtown Muskegon with so many loyal fans that the atmosphere is electric. I want to be an integral part of that atmosphere with a stellar squad of female talent from all over; bringing the Lakeshore a unique opportunity to showcase the women’s arena game.”

Prior to her return to the Muskegon area earlier this year, Coach Pekel coached on staff at the collegiate level for Grace Christian (NCCAA) and University of Pikeville (NAIA), was a member of the Kentucky Youth Soccer Association’s Olympic Development Program, and was the Technical Director for Liverpool International Academy So Cal and LA Galaxy Orange County. Coach Pekel has also earned several licenses including Goalkeeping Level 1 & 2, USSF D License, USSF C License, and Futsal Level 1 Diploma.

“Arena soccer is much different than outdoor, being that it is fast-paced, integrated to systems and player rotations, and requires a unique type of technical and tactical ability. It is a demanding environment for the players physically and the coaches mentally/tactically, and I’m excited to head this opportunity as a coach and challenge myself from my outdoor and futsal coaching experience. I love that all spectators, fans, players, and coaches are working together during the game; feeding off the energy and atmosphere together.”

The Risers women’s arena team returns to Mercy Health Arena on Saturday, January 8 at 4:30pm. Single Game Tickets and Season Passes are available now, and may be secured at www.etix.com/ticket/v/16859/mercy-health-arena-risers

Coach Pekel concluded “Seeing the growth and change Muskegon has implemented over the last few years is remarkable and I am honored to represent Muskegon. I have no doubt we’ll continue to reach new heights as a community and I believe the Risers can help with this in a positive way. It is good to be home!”

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