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Atlanta Beat GM Is Ready For Washington Game

Posted on April 16, 2010 by Whitney Keller

The Atlanta Beat are headed north this weekend to play the Washington Freedom on Sunday, April 18. This will be the expansion team’s second Women’s Professional Soccer match. They tied 0-0 with the Philadelphia Independence last Sunday, April 11, on Philly’s home turf.

The Beat team has been working hard to be prepared and play their best during this new WPS season. One man who knows just how much effort the players and coaches have been putting in to make their game top-notch is the Atlanta Beat’s General Manager Shawn McGee.

McGee sat down for a few minutes to talk about what he’s looking forward to in Sunday’s game, what he thinks of the Beat’s performance so far and how the team has come together as a whole.

WK: What are you looking forward to for this weekend’s game against Washington?

SM: I’m obviously hoping for a win.  The ladies came out and played very hard this past weekend. It was a tough environment to play in. We started with two forwards instead of three.  Also, with Tobin being sick during most of preseason, that was her first match. We’re going out with a point to win this second game against the tough Washington Freedom.

WK: There were over 6,000 fans at the Independence game last weekend.  Are you expecting a big turnout this weekend?

SM: I don’t know. They are working hard to build a big crowd. Washington has been working with cross promotion with the Capitals hockey team.  They have really been doing a great job getting out and marketing it. We can’t worry about there being a big crowd.  What we can do is expect it to be a tough, unruly place and play our best.

WK: Do you think Washington will be tough competition, considering they have some really talented players, such as U.S. National Team members like Abby Wambach, Cat Whitehill, etc.?

SM: You could lose any game; there isn’t a “gimme” game. Every team has to be ready to play. You can’t guarantee you are going to win. They have a talented team, and the reality is you have to come prepared and play your best.

WK: Do you think the Beat’s great performance during preseason is a good demonstration of what their WPS season performance will be like?

SM: The written record doesn’t matter. Gareth had to get out and get the players fit, and get the players used to playing with each other. He did an great job at identifying good talent, and the players are playing well together. It was more about the team playing together and becoming cohesive. They are really playing for Gareth.  The coaching staff and those things combined will carry Atlanta a long way.

WK: What has the team been doing to prepare for upcoming matches, such as training and etc.?

SM: Gareth works on everything from fitness, to actually playing on the field, to set pieces. Gareth does his homework; he knows what the starting lineup will be for opposition and what their plays will be like. He knows what the opportunities will be like, so he tries to come as prepared as possible.

WK: On another note, is the Beat’s stadium almost ready for the home opener?

SM: The Beat stadium will be ready for the home opener. The construction company, Choate, has been doing an outstanding job in really getting the facility ready. They’ve been working hard and have been doing an exceptional job at getting the work done, especially with the good weather now. The stadium will definitely be ready.

The Beat’s match this Sunday, April 18, will take place at 7 p.m. at the Maryland SoccerPlex.  Atlanta’s home opener will be on May 9 in Kennesaw, GA at 7 p.m., and will also air on the Fox Soccer Channel.

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