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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.”

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.

America’s soccer youth has been the focus of the soccer world over the past month. I spent all of Saturday at US Youth Soccer’s Workshop taking in the workshops and exhibits. The US Women’s Under-23 is heading to La Manga, Spain for their Four Nations Tournament and the US Women’s Under-20 had great success in their Four Nations Tournament. The US Women’s Under-20 and Under-17 teams have CONCACAF Championship Tournaments to determine a berth for the age groups World Cup.  The past two games for the USWNT Alex Morgan has been larger than life scoring 4 goals and assisting on another two. This sparked the topic for tonight’s chat.

The chat will look to explore the importance of young players for the USWNT and youth programs (under-23, under-20, and under-17).

Q1: USWNT Young Players

  • What is the talent level of the young players for USWNT?
  • What role should the young players have on the team? Why?
  • What impact will they have on the future of the team?
  • What are some of the difficult decisions are put on a coach with such talent available?

Q2: The Youth Programs

  • What is the importance of having a WNT youth program?
  • What are pressures are put onto the players in the youth programs?
  • Do these programs set-up a feeding system? Why?
  • Do these programs help USWNT being a continuous leader of the 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.

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.

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