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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.”

This just could be one of the most highly anticipated tournaments for the U.S. Women’s National Team . I’d argue that it isn’t the talent of the teams in the Olympics, though the field is great. The 2012 Olympics bring out the best of each country, including teams that have beat the U.S. before.

What has the U.S. soccer supporters so tuned into this year’s competition? The character of the 2012 Women’s National Team. Like the famous ’99ers, this team has captured the hearts and the attention of the country. (In case you need an example of why this group is so beloved watch this video.)

The #wpschat will look at the team’s likability, compare it to the likes of the ’99ers, and what it means for the sport in the Olympics and at home.

Q1: The 2012 U.S. Women’s National Team

  • What put this team on the radar? Why?
  • How and when did the squad get into the hearts of the country at large? Why?
  • What was that defining moment for you? Why?

Q2: The ’99ers and 2012

  • How are the two squads similar?
  • How are the two squads different?
  • What do you think is/was the main driver of the two squads to win?
  • Are the pressures facing this squad the same or different from the ’99ers?

Q3: The Sport of Women’s Soccer

  • What impact could this team have on the sport at home and abroad?

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

In less than one month, the US Women’s National Team will represent its country during the 2012 Olympics in London. This is of no surprise to most. The US women’s national team is traditionally one of the best teams to compete in global contests. With that success comes the constant pressure to be the best. Yet success is defined in many ways; on and off the field. This summer the team will be playing for more than gold on a global scale; they’ll also attempt to capture the attention of the nation.

This week’s chat will explore the pressures and expectations facing the team on and off the field.

Q1: Going for Gold or Broke

  • If winning gold is the ultimate goal, will getting anything less be a success? Why or why not?
  • What are the on-field pressures or expectations being put on the team?
  • Are those expectations valid? Why or why not?

Q2: America’s Team

  • Will this team capture the nation’s attention as they did in the 2011 WWC? Why or why not?
  • What are the off-field pressures or expectations being put on the team?
  • Are those expectations valid? Why or Why not?

Q3: Women’s Professional Soccer

  • What impact will the success of the team have on the women’s game?

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

Women’s soccer is cranking up this week. WPSL Elite and USL W-League open their seasons and the U-17 CONCACAF Women’s Championship is being played. The WSPL season opener will feature the Boston Breakers visiting ASA Chesapeake Charge on Thursday, May 10th. This Friday, the USL W-League will kick off as VSI Tampa Flames take on the Charlotte Lady Eagles in Charlotte, N.C. Then on May 7th the national teams in the U-17 CONCACAF tournament will play their final group games and on May 12th a champion will be crowned.

Tonight’s chat is a smorgasbord; try a little bit of this and a little bit of that. From the U-17 CONCACAF tournament to the start of the WPSL and USL W-League seasons, there is plenty here to satisfy even the hungriest women’s soccer fan.

Q1: U-17 CONCACAF Women’s Championship

  • The US has dominated play in their group thus far, is there a team that could knock them off?
  • Canada has dominated play in their group, should we expect a Canada vs. US final?
  •  Who could be the underdog in the playoff? Why?

Q2: WPSL Elite Opening Week & Season

  • Will you be following the opening week and season?
  • How will you be joining the action (going to games, following online, etc)?
  • Have you chosen a team to cheer for? What team? Why them?

Q3: USL W-League Opening Week & Season

  • Will you be following the opening week and season?
  • How will you be joining the action (going to games, following online, etc)?
  • Have you chosen a team to cheer for? What team? Why them?

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

The future of women’s soccer in the United States of America was volatile when WPS made the decision to suspend the 2012 season due in part to resolving legal disputes. This period was short-lived as two established leagues positioned themselves to fill that gap. The WPSL has filled the demand by pushing up the date to create their Elite league by a year, bring in former WPS clubs the Red Stars, the Breakers, and the Flash, and having the teams sign talented players from the WPS. The USL W-League already had a pro league but are now able to increase the talent pool by signing former WPS players. Both leagues will start play in the week of May 7th. But does this mean the future of women’s soccer is safe?

The chat will look to explore the future all be it without a time machine and answer what does the future of US women’s soccer look like at the professional level, college level, and youth level.

Q1: US Women’s Professional Soccer

  • Is there enough demand to support two leagues, possibly three (return of WPS)? Why or why not?
  • Could or should there be inter-league play?
  • What impact does this split have on the structure of professional soccer and feeding system for the national team?
  • What complications does this create for players?

Q2: College Level Women’s Soccer

  • What impact does having or not having a professional league have on the college game?
  • What new decisions are players now confronted with when deciding their future after school?
  • What impact would be felt by athletic programs at universities?

Q3: Youth Level Women’s Soccer

  • What impact does having or not having a professional league or role models have on the interest of youth toward the game?
  • Does this change the landscape of the youth women’s game? Why?
  • What is the trickle down impact that could be felt by youth organizations?

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

Welcome to another special edition #WPSchat with our friends at Our Game magazine.

The US Women’s National Team has been in the spotlight over the past month due to their domination in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament for the Olympic games. Most notably is the young talent that was on display in the final versus Canada where Alex Morgan scored twice and assisted on two more for the US. The youth movement is prevalent in the US national program, no more so in the next star on the scene– Morgan Andrews.Ryan Wood, editor at Our Game magazine,  had the opportunity to sit down with the rising star. We asked Ryan to join this week’s chat to discuss the article, the player, and the youth movement. You will find the interview on page 20 of the February issue.

A week ago,WPS released big news that the 2012 season would be suspended. Since then players have been vocal from posting elaborate blogs to tweeting concern, disbelief, and support. That ripple was felt as well by Our Game Magazine who had an interview feature with then new member of Sky Blue FC Manon Melis by Ciara McCormack. A funny story for the crew at the magazine came out of it (we’ll let them tell it though.) You will find the interview on page 5 of the February issue.

We here at Pitch Side View are excited to be partnering with Our Game again to bring you this chat. Make sure you check out these articles and others in the current issue of Our Game magazine.

Q1: The Youth Movement (Player profile Morgan Andrews) with Ryan Wood

  • What was is like interviewing the rising star?
  • Is her off-field personality different from her on-field personality?
  • How soon do you see her making the jump to the first team?
  • Give us some highlights of her career?

Q2: Center Stage (Manon Melis) with Ciara McCormack

  • Tell us what happened when you learned the news of WPS suspending the 2012 season?
  • What did you have to do to get the article ready to go for this issue?
  • What is next for Manon Melis?
  • What were her thoughts on WPS suspending the 2012 season?

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

The topic on everyone’s mind this week is the sanctioning– or should I say the “not sanctioning”– of WPS by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF).

Like any professional soccer league in the United States, WPS is up for annual review and sanctioning by the governing body USSF. A standard for sanctioning a division 1 league (highest level) requires the league to field a minimum of 8 teams. In 2011, WPS had six teams and the league was sanctioned as division 1 by receiving a waiver. With only 5 viable teams, they are once again applying for a waiver the 2012 season. The application is under review by USSF and the two parties continue to work towards an agreement.

The chat will look to get your thoughts on delayed sanctioning, the possibility of the league not being sanctioned or sanctioned as a different division, and what impact that will have for 2012.

Q1: Delayed Sanctioning News

  • What impact is this having on the WPS brand?
  • Will this build support for the league? Why or why not?
  • Will this confirm the detractors? Why or why not?

Q2: Sanctioned or Not

  • What impact will not being sanctioned have for WPS?
  • What impact will being sanctioned as a different division have for WPS?
  • What are possibilities the league faces?

Q3: The Future: 2012

  • As fans, what does the sanctioning mean to you? Why?
  • What impact does the sanctioning have for players and future players?

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

A sport’s off-season wouldn’t be complete without discussions about free agency and signings. And there may be plenty of talk– 84% of the leagues players from last season are free agents (110 out of 131 rostered players, including all magicJack players).

As a fan, this is one of the best and disconcerting times as we see some of our favorite players on the team stay and others leave. We also see new additions added to the team, wonder how they will fit in, and what their impact will be on next year. It is a time when the fan may be the GM for their WPS team– hypothetically, speaking of course! We may build our dream team, letting our creative minds loose.

The chat will look for you to jump into your fantasy GM shoes and build your team.

List of free agents by team roster (click link to view team roster):

Atlanta Beat

Boston Breakers

Philadelphia Independence

Sky Blue FC

Western New York Flash

Q1: You’re the GM (choose your favorite team)

  • What players from last season would you look to re-sign? Why?
  • What free agents from other teams would you look to sign? Why?
  • What are your goals for the team this season? How do your signings reflect that goal?

Q2: The International Players

  • What internationals currently not playing in WPS would you like to see sign with a team? Was there a player you were impressed with from the 2011 WWC?
  • What are some of the obstacles for internationals playing for WPS?
  • What are some of the benefits of having an international player on your team?

Q3: Free Agents

  • Who are the top free agents available?
  • Is there a free agent player that the league needs to keep? Why?

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

This week WPS  terminated the magicJack franchise, leaving the league with a total of five teams.  The team roster wasn’t short on high-profile names; including USWNT members Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, Christie Rampone, and Megan Rapinoe and WPS rookie of the year Christen Press. After leaving the D.C. area, the fans and community of this team are once again without someone to cheer for. The league again goes through turmoil in the off-season. With magicJack gone, where does that leave the players, the fans, and ultimately the league?

The chat  will look for your thoughts on the impact to the players, the fans, and the league with the closing of magicJack.

Q1: The Players

  • What happens to the high-profile players?
  • What options do the players have outside of WPS to play?
  • Does this make other professional leagues more appealing to players?

Q2: The Fans and Community

  • Where does this leave the fans of the team?
  • What impact did the team have on the community of southern Florida?
  • How does this impact the soccer community?

Q3: The League

  • What impact does the closure have on the league’s brand?
  • What does the league need to do in order to bounce back?
  • What message is the league sending by the closure of magicJack?

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

WPS received a boost in popularity and attendance from the coverage of FIFA’s 2011 Women’s World Cup. But even before all that media, WPS was being covered by bloggers, and to a lesser extent major publications and the TV networks. Though not at the level that hardcore fans would like, finding news about the league is a far cry better than it was in the inaugural season.

The chat this week will look to find what works with these outlets, what could be improved, and where you get your WPS news.

Q1: The Bloggers

  • What is the impact made by this outlet to the promotion and success of the league? How could the league promote this channel?
  • What is it that you look for most from this outlet and why?
  • What type of content would you like to see from bloggers?

Q2: The Major Publications

  • What is the impact made by this outlet to the promotion and success of the league?
  • What is it that you look for most from this outlet and why?
  • What type of content would you like to see from major publications? Does that change whether the publication is online or print?

Q3: The Major Networks

  • What is the impact made by this outlet to the promotion and success of the league?
  • What is it that you look for most from this outlet and why?
  • What type of content would you like to see from major networks?

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

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