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Just one game from their roller-coaster match against the Western New York Flash, the Breakers got back to normal by dominating FC Indiana. The high-octane offense put away 4 goals, matching their season high which incidentally came against the same FC Indiana team. Not to be outdone, the Breakers defense also put in a solid performance. Lead by goal keeper Alice Binns, they recorded another shutout for the season.

The Breakers topped FC Indiana by a final score of 4 – 0, keeping their pursuit of a perfect season alive. They maintain their position atop the league standings with a 6 point lead over the New York Fury. Scoring for the game opened with a goal in the 30th minute by Bianca D’Agostino assisted by team captain Leslie Osborne. This was D’Agostino’s first goal as Breaker. The next two goals came from WPSL league leading goal scorer Katie Schoepfer, the first in the 34th minute assisted by defender Julie King and the second assisted by former UNC Tar Heel standout Courtney Jones. The final tally for the game came in the 78th minute, unassisted off the foot of Australian international Kyah Simon. This gives Simon three goals for the season.

For more information on the game click here. The Breakers (5 – 0) next face the Chicago Red Stars Sunday, June 3rd in Chicago at 5pm ET.

After five games played this season, FC Indiana are still in search of their first win. Their closest chances thus far have been against the Red Stars, when the margin of victory was two goals in each game. FC Indiana’s next chance for a win is at home against the ASA Chesapeake Charge on Friday, June 8th at 7pm ET.

Earlier games: On Thursday, May 31st the New York Fury got back to their winning ways beating the Philadelphia Fever in front of the home crowd by a score of 3 – 0. With a record of 3 – 1, the Fury  sit in WPSL Elite standings at second place with nine points. This puts them six points behind the first place Boston Breakers. The Fever (0 – 2 -1) weren’t able to get the road win and their first win on the season.

WPSL Weekend Games: On Saturday, June 2nd the New England Mutiny (1 -1 -1) host the Fever in East Longmeadow, MA at 7pm ET. The Mutiny add to their roster Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year Morgan Andrews as they attempt to get their second win of the season. The Mutiny will be playing their first game with interim head coach Chris Legates. Boston College star and recent US National Team training camp member Kristen Mewis’s availability for the game is uncertain. The last time these two teams met, they played to a draw. The Fever hope to better their effort this game and get their first win of the season.

There are two games on Sunday, June 3rd. The first game scheduled for a 5pm ET start features a match between the remaining two undefeated teams in the league, the Boston Breakers visiting the Chicago Red Stars. The night-cap at 7pm ET will have the Flash visiting the Fury in a battle for New York supremacy. At the moment, the Flash have the edge with a win in their first meeting, the Fury hope to even the score.

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After beating Stanford 1 – 0, Notre Dame sits atop of the College women’s soccer world. With the college cup champion being crowned and the 2011 WPS Draft approaching this week’s chat will look at those seniors hoping to move on to the next level.

Q1: The College Cup.

  • Were you able to watch any of the tournament games or attend them live?
  • Who played well and who didn’t?
  • Did the best team win?

Q2: The #1 Pick.

  • Who will be the overall #1 pick?
  • Why do you think they will be #1?

Q3: The Top Seniors for the 2011 WPS Draft (2010SeniorRankings).

  • Who on the list of potential draftees will make an impact in the WPS?
  • Who would be in your top 10?
  • Who would you like to see be added to your favorite WPS team’s roster?

Q4: What would you like to discuss in the upcoming weeks?

Join us on Monday at 8pm EST to throw your thoughts into the mix. Just log on to Twitter, Tweetchat, or Tweetgrid, and use the #WPSchat tag.

I spent this pleasant Sunday afternoon watching the Boston College’s women’s soccer team play Hofstra in the second round of the NCAA Championship Tournament. While being entertained by these teams giving their all on the field, I thought of the topic for this week’s discussion – the women’s game at the college level.

Q1: The NCAA tournament.

  • Were than any surprise first or second round tournament winners?
  • What university/college do you see exceeding expectations?
  • Which teams do you see making it to the final four?

Q2: Top college players.

  • Who are the top players in the NCAA?
  • Who are the best available players for the WPS draft?
  • Do you see any player increasing their draft stock in the NCAA Championship tournament?

Q3: Local Team Support.

  • Do you go to local college, high school, or youth games?
  • Is/should the WPS tap into this local support to build a fan base?

Q4: What would you like to discuss in the upcoming weeks?

Join us on Monday at 8pm EST to throw your thoughts into the mix. Just log on to Twitter, Tweetchat, or Tweetgrid, and use the #WPSchat tag.

Week 2 of the #WPSchat unintentionally had a theme running through it: college, college, college. Half the questions were in reference to that theme, starting off with chat contributors sharing who their favorite collegiate rookie in the WPS is. The two overwhelming favorite rookies were Tobin Heath from the Atlanta Beat and Lauren Cheney (the real LC) from the Boston Breakers! Kelley O’Hara from FC Gold Pride was a close third.

There were many return contributors from Week 1. One even emailed me her thoughts to post during the discussion. (That is true dedication and passion, thanks @katiemarx!) Add in the new contributors from this week, doubling the number of contributors from the first chat. We had Tweetchat really working.

This week, question 1 (What impact does college soccer have on the WPS?) was the most discussed. All were in agreement that there is a back and forth benefit between women’s collegiate soccer and the WPS. A professional league is an incentive  to develop talented players so that they are able to compete for spots. This increases the quality of play at the college level.  Some also thought that talent would be wider spread throughout the NCAA, rather than being concentrated in a few top programs (UNC and Notre Dame, for example.)

Question 2 dealt with how we as fans can help drive attendance, including the use of  grassroots tactics to spread the word about the WPS and how extroardinary it is. Another suggestion is continuing to build the supporter groups for the teams which helps bring in fans and enhance the game experience. And when you attend a game bring a friend with you so they may experience the beautiful game for themselves.

We find the “Tweet of the Chat” from question 2 about how fans may drive attendance to games:

“The WPS has to do is find a way to turn all the millions of soccer players in the US into soccer fans” – @AreYouOnTheBall

Continuing on the collegiate theme, our favorite play of the week was from a collegiate rookie. Carolyn Blank’s goal which evened the score in the Atletica vs. Breakers game was by far our top pick.

If you weren’t able to attend this week’s chat you may join next week’s chat on Monday starting at 8:00 pm EST. Next week’s question will be posted on Friday.

Installment number three of the ‘Who Dat’ series. The series takes an in-depth look at all the WPS teams in a lead up to the start of the season. The Chicago Red Stars are this post’s team to go through the ‘Who Dat’ treatment.

The Front Line: The front line of the Red Stars started to find the back of the net in the latter part of the 2009 season with the emergence of Christiane as a scoring machine. The 2010 season should start off as it ended last season, with this group continuing their scoring ways. The main pieces of the group except for Lindsay Tarpley are still in place and the UNC duo of Casey Nogueira and Jessica McDonald as well as Ella Masar will fill the gap left by Lindsay’s absence.

The Midfield: The Midfield went through the biggest transition for the Red Stars in the off-season. Carli Lloyd, Chioma Igwe, and Nikki Krzysik left either through free agency signings or the expansion draft. The Red Stars reloaded the midfield by moving Megan Rapinoe from the forward slot and by acquiring Katie Chapman and Formiga. This group has yet to prove itself as a unit and it will be interesting to see how they perform throughout the season.

The Defense and Goal Tending: This group needed the most improvement from the 2009 season letting in an average of 1.25 goals a game, the 3rd worst in the league. The net minder for the Red Stars to start the 2010 season will be Jillian Loyden who was acquired through a trade. She played three games in the 2009 season and two of those were shutouts. Jillian has yet to prove herself day-in and day-out for a full season but has great potential and will be a determining factor in the success of the back line. The next step in bring down that GAA of 1.25 is to build a solid defense in front Loyden. The Red Stars looked to do this through the college draft. With the 4th overall pick they selected Whitney Engen from UNC and winner of the Honda award as the top women’s athlete in soccer. Whitney should bolster the defense for the Red Stars and help bring down that GAA.

The Red Stars will be an improved team from the 2009 season and will compete in every game. The big questions will be the midfield unit and the improvement of the back line.

The next team to be put on the table for the ‘Who Dat’ treatment will be the FC Gold Pride, so stay tuned.

In the aftermath of the dispersal draft I have become sober. The buzz of the dispersal draft has worn off and reality is setting in. What is that reality? The reality is the best brand in the WPS last season is no longer a franchise, the Los Angeles Sol players are now members of their opponents from last year, and the WPS is stronger.

The Los Angeles Sol built the most noticable brand last season. The building of the brand started with AEG willing to absorb the payroll and overall net loss for the season. With the acquisitions of Marta and Shannon Boxx, arguably two of the best players in the world; the Sol brand was born. The brand continued to grow throughout the season as the Sol became one of the most offensively explosive teams and dominant defensive teams. The Sol had the highest average attendance at home and brought the crowds out to whatever stadium they were playing in. The brand was successful but as a franchise the Sol could not survive. At the right time there may once again be a professional women’s soccer team in Los Angeles because there is market demand for one.

A great part of that brand were the Sol players who were then with out a team to play for. The WPS set-up the dispersal draft to retain the talented players of the Sol including Marta, Shannon Boxx, Karina LeBanc, Stephanie Cox, Aya Miyama, and Brittany Bock in the league; But also to find a home for the recently drafted players Casey Nogueira, Nikki Washington, and Kiersten Dallstream. The dispersal draft was three rounds in which teams selected players from the Sol roster to become members of their team. Saint Louis selected Shannon Boxx with the first pick which bolstered their midfield. Philadelphia selected Karina LeBlanc second to give them a sure net minder behind defensive backs Heather Mitts, Sue Weber, and Allison Falk. The Bay Area selected Marta who will now be playing along-side former teammate Camille Abily and offensive standout Christine Sinclair. Chicago selected Casey Nogueira who will give them a future star on the front line. Boston selected Stephanie Cox who will bolster their defensive line after losing Heather Mitts to free agency. New Jersey selected Nikki Washington who will be playing along-side former UNC Tar Heel Yael Averbuch in the midfield. Washington selected Brittany Bock to help with their defense which had the highest GAA in the league last season. Saint Louis with the last pick of the first round selected Aya Miyama which along with Shannon Boxx will be quite the midfield. The dispersal draft wrapped up in just over an hour and the Sol players once again were part of a team.

The WPS with the Sol franchise being discontinued and the Sol players being kept in the league through the dispersal draft became stronger. The players that were once a part of the Los Angeles Sol are now spread across the league bolstering the new teams they are members of. The talent in the league is more condensed and will create a highly competitive league in which any team may become the champion. With great competition comes notice and being noticed will bring more fans and supporters to the league.

With the buzz of the off-season wearing off I am looking for my next buzz and that will only come with the beginning of the season. In a little over two months I will be able to say ‘Let the season begin!’ Until then I will look to write a team outlook for each team for the next season. So keep an eye out for the series of posts starting later this week.

Since the end of the draft I have come across many stories covering a player’s draft day experience and one player’s very unique story. I like to categorize these stories as ‘feel good draft day stories’ because of the joy, excitement, humbleness, gratitude, and comradery found in them.

The first ‘feel good draft day story’ I came across was Ali Riley’s account of her day and moments leading to the announcement of her selection by FC Gold Pride. In the third paragraph you were able to sense the joy and excitement, the humbleness and gratitude, and the comradery. She logs-on to twitter right from the start to follow the draft and she sees Tobin, Lauren, and Kelley go in that order as the top three selections. And as she watches the next six selections go by, she gets a text from college teammate Kelley O’Hara “get readyyyyy”. Ali then gets selected 10th overall by FC Gold pride and with moments is on the phone with Kelley, Tobin, and Lauren shrieking with joy.

The next ‘feel good draft day story’ accounts Becky Edwards day of the draft. Becky’s day started similar to Ali’s, with her waking up early and logging-on to twitter to follow the draft. Becky was rooming with another potential draftee Kaley Fountain for the u23 USWNT training camp. The two wait in anticipation to see their names tweeted in the hotel, the first round has ended, and FC Gold pride is selecting first in the second round. And Becky has to wait no longer as her selection by FC Gold Pride gets tweeted, both players screamed with joy and excitement. Now they would wait for Kaley selection and eight selections later Kaley was chosen by none other than FC Gold Pride as the 2oth overall pick. Not only are they roommates and good friends they will be teammates.

The last ‘feel good draft day story’ I will mention is unique from those I mentioned before and those of all the other draftees selected. It is the story of Danielle Collins which tells a special message. Before draft day and up until her selection as the 62nd overall pick by the Philadelphia Independence Danielle (best known around the office as Dani) worked in the front office for the team. Dani was injured last fall before last year’s draft and decided to take a job for the Independence after graduation. She continued to play and work on her game while handling her responsibilities in the office. It was at this year’s open tryouts for the Independence where Dani got the respect she deserved as a player. After reading about Dani’s story I could only feel good.

These are only a few of the many more ‘feel good draft day stories’ to be told.

The draft has come and gone and I am still basking in the glory of that day. And I have the WPS and my favorite team the Boston Breakers to thank for this. What a job they did tweeting the up-to-the-minute status of the draft as each team made their selections. The highlight tweet for me on the day was moments after Tonya Antonucci uttered the words “The Atlanta Beat select Tobin Heath” as the #1 pick overall. The WPS tweeted a video capturing this monumental announcement of her selection, the scene in the draft room, and the presenting of her new team scarf. The next great moment of the day is when the Breakers tweeted their selection of Lauren Cheney as the #2 overall pick and then the pictures of her Breakers team scarf presentation. The day continued like this with the tweeting of real time draft statuses, first round selection pictures, and behind the scene pictures. My hats off to the WPS they really made me feel as though I was there in the room and for this the WPS is a big winner on the day!

Three teams made significant progress in the draft and are big winners.

The Atlanta Beat with the #1 pick got a player and a leader who they could build a franchise around. Tobin Heath with her outstanding technical game is labelled to be one of the greatest. Her potential will have the Beat stepping on the pitch next season with confidence.

The Boston Breakers had the makings of a great team last season and took a big hit this off-season with losses in free agency, retirement, and the expansion draft. The losses of Heather Mitts, Sue Weber, and Candace Chapman left an impenetrable defensive wall needing patching. The wall is once again impenetrable thanks to the selection of Alyssa Naeher (minding net spelling Allison Lipsher), Jordan Angeli, and Katherine Reynolds. With the #2 pick Lauren Cheney they filled a significant gap in scoring.

The Los Angeles Sol: what could the regular season champ need to be better? Well, your answer is the replacement of the league’s second leading goal scorer Camille Abily who was traded to FC Gold Pride. They recovered through the draft by selecting three top prospects at the forward position Nikki Washington, Casey Nogueira, and Kiersten Dallstream.

This year’s draftees held as a collective group looks to be the most talented a group that will come out of college for quite some time, so there were no big losers but only big winners and winners.

It is less than 12 hours away and I am unable to contain my excitement.

But for the true soccer geeks the excitement starts tonight with the unveiling of the new match ball for the WPS. And the excitement doesn’t end there because not only will the WPS hold their draft in Philadelphia tomorrow but they will also be unveiling the new team uniforms. It is Christmas in January-what will Kelly Smith, Amy LePeilbet, Kristine Lilly, Leslie Osborne, Alex Scott, and this year’s #2 pick wear next season? How will Heather Mitts and Amy Rodriguez look in their new uniforms for the Philadelphia Independence? Well with a little patience we will find out soon enough.

Now for the more pressing business of the draft. The Breakers have the #2 pick in the draft and with the unprecedented number of high-caliber players available they are sure to get someone who could have an immediate impact on the team. Being a UNC Tar Heel fan I have two fan favorites which I would love to see wearing those new Breaker uniforms next season, Tobin Heath and Casey Nogueira. But this however is unlikely (not impossible). For my predictions I went with logic instead of with the heart. Without further ado here are my first round predictions for the 2010 WPS draft:

1. Atlanta Beat–Tobin Heath
2. Boston Breakers–Lauren Cheney
3. FC Gold Pride–Kelley O’Hara
4. Chicago Red Stars–Casey Nogueira
5. Los Angeles Sol–Whitney Engen
6. Sky Blue FC–Brittany Taylor
7. Washington Freedom–Kelly Henderson
8. Los Angeles Sol–Ali Riley
9. Los Angeles Sol–Nikki Washington
10. FC Gold Pride–Kaley Fountain
11. Boston Breakers–Nikki Marshall

You may follow the draft as I will be through the WPS twitter feed starting at 10 am on January 15th.

Wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t. I will tell you since the major sports media hasn’t, won’t, and probably will not.

On January 15th the WPS will hold it’s second draft in Philadelphia. The pool of players coming out of the college this year are some of the most talented the league has seen, lead by Tobin Heath. The UNC senior is believed to be “the next Marta”-a player of the highest caliber. She lead the Tar Heels to three national championships in four years and to their unprecedented 20th national championship. Tobin is joined by fellow UNC seniors Casey Nogueira, Nikki Washington, Whitney Engen, Ashlyn Harris, and Kristi Eveland who are also expected to make a splash in the draft. This is just one team-other remarkably talented players are leaving the NCAA and entering the draft. They include:

  • Lauren Cheney, UCLA
  • Kelly O’Hara, Stanford
  • Brittany Taylor, UConn
  • Kelly Henderson, BC
  • Ali Riley, Stanford
  • Kaley Fountain, Wake Forest
  • Nikki Marshall, Colorado

A lot of these players will make immediate impact for their teams and are the future of WPS. The League has done superb job spreading the word through mock draft contests, a series of ‘getting to know’ the draftees articles, and the experts’ analysis. Other traditional venues of sports media aren’t even coming close to this. Search ESPN, CBS Sports, or Fox Sports websites for ‘WPS draft’ and your return results are nil. Fox Soccer Channel which broadcasts WPS games is hosting a show on the eve of the draft but information about the show isn’t found anywhere on their website. I know about this through the efforts of the WPS.

I am excited about this year’s draft and it’s outcome, to see which teams draft which players. Of course I am most excited to see who the Breakers will draft with the #2 and #11 picks in the first round. I will be following the action through the most reliable media sources the Breakers’ and WPS twitter feeds.

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