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The road for women’s professional soccer in the United States has been– simply put– bumpy. There was the first rendition in WUSA, then the second go-around with WPS, and now the NWSL. The one team to have weathered every storm is the Boston Breakers. Boston has hosted a professional women’s soccer team in every league. During the year between the collapse of WPS and the start of the NWSL, the Breakers even kept it going by forming a team to play in the semi-pro WPSL Elite.

Even with all this change, one thing remains constant for the Breakers—every player is excited for another chance to showcase their talent and love of the sport in front of the best fans. Since the announcement of the new league in November, more exciting news has been announced. Just last week, all teams in the league announced their allocations of the National Team players from USA, Canada, and Mexico. Lisa Cole returns as head coach for the Breakers, and the organization started the Breakers Academy, a youth development program.

I was able to catch up with some of your favorite Breakers; Katie Schoepfer and Heather O’Reilly to get their thoughts on the recent and exciting news.

Katie Schoepfer:

On Lisa Cole continuing as Head Coach:

“I’m really looking forward to Lisa being the head coach again. I think she is a great coach. Last year she really believed in me, and brought our team along. […] She can break down video like crazy and she very good at those kinds of “x’s and o’s” things in the locker room which I think helps us out tremendously. […] I think overall she is very much a player’s coach. She looks for a lot of input from her leaders and her team, which gives us some ownership. We’re able keep open lines of communication with Lisa and she is very receptive to it which is great for our team.”

On the new Breakers Academy:

“I really hope that girls around Massachusetts take advantage of the fact that they will be able to play and be coached by professional players and professional coaches. […] It is an honor for us to wear the Breakers jersey, so it is pretty cool for a 10-year-old girl to be able to put on that jersey too.”

“I love coaching, and I love being able to work with different teams and different age groups. Besides playing, it is one of my passions. I hope to get involved with the Academy as much as possible.”

On Heather O’Reilly:

“My rookie season I played with her in New Jersey with Sky Blue. There is really nobody like her. No one can match her work ethic. She loves to play and she loves the game. That’s really contagious on a team. You can tell the difference when she is at practice, and when she is in games. For me personally, it just gives me so much more energy because I try to match everything that she is doing. I’m looking forward to playing with her again. ”

Heather O’Reilly:

On the growth of soccer in the U.S.:

“I think as a U.S. player and a fan of soccer in our country, it’s exciting to see soccer take hold in our country. It’s amazing to be a part of this growth and another step for U.S. Soccer to advance the game in our country. I think in the last two years, with the 2011 World cup and the (2012) Olympics, we are proud of the stronghold we’ve had in terms of the attention (soccer has received).”

On teammate Sydney Leroux:

“Syd, although coming off the bench (for the U.S.), she pumped in 12 goals. That was all off the bench! I’m really proud of Syd as a player. She’s handled herself very well on and off the field. And, she’s entertaining.”

On teammate Heather Mitts:

“Heather Mitts is somebody who is just the perfect teammate. She’s always going to be fit. She’s always going to be ready to go. She provides so much to the team environment.”

Her opinion on players for Mexico and Canada in the NWSL:

“It’s an interesting dynamic. I can’t even guess how many games I’ve played against (Rhian) Wilkinson (one of Boston’s players from Canada) on the National Team. I’m excited to have her on my side this time.”

Welcome to the special edition, #USwnt chat! I will be moderating this chat as part of the Twitter Campaign to build support and awareness for the US WNT before, during, and after the match versus Italy on November 27th at 2pm EST. If you are not able to attend the game live like me (watching it on ESPN3) then join us for the pre-game questions, in-game discussion as the live action happens, and post-game discussion to wrap up. If you are live at the game (lucky!) join in the discussion and tweet live in-game moments.

The questions below will be pre-game questions starting at 1:30pm EST. The chat will then go into a live discussion surrounding the action on the field. We will then “hit the showers” and do a post-game wrap up of the match.

Q1: The Lineup.

  • Who would be your starting XI?
  • What player will have the most impact on the game?
  • Would you make a substitution?

Q2: The Game.

  • Who will score first US or Italy?
  • What player has the best opportunity to score?
  • What will the final score be?

Q3: The Cool Down.

  • Whether the outcome is good or bad what happens to Pia?
  • What are your final thoughts before kick-off?

Get your virtual pre-game on and join in on Saturday at 1:30pm EST to throw your thoughts into the mix. Just log on to Twitter, Tweetchat, or Tweetgrid, and use the #USwnt tag.

This is the second to last installment in the ‘Who Dat’ series, featuring Sky Blue FC. They are the reigning champs, so it will be interesting to see how much they’ve changed their line-up to set themselves up for repeat success.

The Front Line: There isn’t much that has changed for this group in the line-up or on what they are capable of doing. They should pick-up where they left off at the end of the 2009 season. The front line features Natasha Kai and Kacey White who led the attack for the team and will do so again this season.

The Midfield: This group will get it done in any way that the team needs and they have the personnel to do so. Back from last season is Rosana, Yael Averbuch, Heather O’Reilly, and Meghan Schnur. They will be joined by USWNT member Carli Lloyd. This group could be the most talented midfield in the league.

The Defense and Goal Tending: The defense returns all but one of its starters from the 2009 season with Anita Asante, Keeley Dowling, and Christie Rampone. Sky Blue FC will also return Jenni Branam as the net minder from the 2009 season. If there was any weakness in this team, it would be the defense and goal tending. But don’t tell them I said that!

The Sky Blue FC look good to repeat and defend their title as champions of the league. But they will be tested because there are more than a few good contenders ready and willing to knock them off.

The next and final team to be put on the table for the ‘Who Dat’ treatment will be the Washington Freedom, so stay tuned.

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