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WPS Announces Opening Games for 2011 Season 5

Posted on January 06, 2011 by John Wingspread Howell

One week before the 2011 WPS Draft, Women’s Professional Soccer today announced its first two opening weekends for the 2011 WPS Season, the third season of WPS soccer featuring the best female soccer players from around the world. The league also announced the first two games of its “WPS Sunday on FSC” national television schedule on Fox Soccer Channel.

The expansion Western New York Flash will be featured on national television versus the Boston Breakers from Harvard Stadium, in it’s season opener, Sunday April 17th. The match will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel.

The new Western New York team will feature last season’s WPS Defender of the Year, Ali Riley, formerly of league champion FC Gold Pride, along with Swedish international, All-Star striker Christine Sinclair leading a talented roster to be coached by former New Zealand international Aaran Lines.

The 2011 WPS Season will kick off with its first game on Saturday, April 9th as the Atlanta Beat, playing in their second season in WPS, host the Boston Breakers at KSU Soccer Stadium in Kennesaw, GA.

The opening week on Fox Soccer Channel will see 2009 WPS Champion Sky Blue FC open at their home confines of Yurcak Field in Piscataway, NJ, as they face off against regional rival Philadelphia Independence, last year’s runner-up in the 2010 WPS Championship presented by Citi, on Sunday, April 10th at 6pm.

In another key home opener on the second weekend (April 16th), the Philadelphia Independence will host magicTalk SC/Washington Freedom at their new home field at Widener University.

The full 2011 WPS Season schedule will be announced in February. The league’s six clubs will contest 18 regular season games from April through August, which will be followed by a four-team playoff and the 2011 WPS Championship presented by Citi on August 27-28. For individual game ticket info go to www.womensprosoccer.com or follow all the news on twitter at www.twitter.com/womensprosoccer.

Saturday, April 9
Atlanta Beat vs. Boston Breakers – KSU Soccer Stadium – 7pm

Sunday, April 10
Sky Blue FC vs. Philadelphia Independence – Yurcak Field – 6pm   *FSC

Saturday, April 16
Philadelphia Independence vs. magicTalk SC/Washington Freedom – Widener University – 7pm
Atlanta Beat vs. Sky Blue FC – KSU Soccer Stadium – 7pm

Sunday, April 17
Boston Breakers vs. Western New York Flash – Harvard Stadium – 6pm   *FSC

WPS WNY Side acquires Swedish International Caroline Seger in trade with Philadelphia 12

Posted on December 20, 2010 by John Wingspread Howell

Flash also sign US National Team Midfielder Yael Averbuch

The Western New York Flash added another new part in Swedish star Caroline Seger.

The Western New York Flash of Women’s Professional Soccer have announced they have acquired Caroline Seger from Philadelphia in exchange for WNY’s first pick in the second round in the 2011 WPS Draft and first pick in the second round in the 2012 WPS Draft. In addition, the Flash also agreed to terms with US National Team midfielder Yael Averbuch. These acquisitions are strong additions to the Flash midfield as the expansion side continue to build their squad for the 2011 season.

Seger, the Swedish National Team Captain, comes to WNY with vast professional and international experience. Seger is recognized as one of the top female players in the world, evidenced by her recent nomination for the 2010 FIFA Womens World Player of the year. The winner will be announced in January 2011. Seger has been a member of the Swedish National Team since 2005, and boasts over 45 caps for her country. Seger has competed at the 2007 FIFA World Cup and 2008 Olympic Games. At the club level, Seger was an integral member of the Philadelphia Independence in their inaugural year where they reached the WPS Championship game, eventually falling to Champions FC Gold Pride. Seger appeared 18 times for the expansion side in their tremendous run to the Championship match, logging over 1500 minutes and 1 goal and 5 assists. Before being drafted in the 1st overall pick in the International draft, Seger was captain and crucial member of Linkopings FC in the Swedish Damallsvenskan. During her tenure with Linkopings, Seger was named Damallsvenskan Rookie of the Year in 2005 and Midfielder of the Year in 2006 along with three Swedish league titles. Read the rest of this entry →

From Red Star to a Flash: WPS’s WNY Club Signs Former Chicago Standout Whitney Engen 0

Posted on December 17, 2010 by John Wingspread Howell

With a talented pool of free agents still available and the upcoming WPS collegiate draft, the Western New York expansion team looks to have a strong roster to open league play in April 2011.

Whitney Engen will join the Western New York Flash.

The Western New York Flash of Women’s Professional Soccer announced today that they have agreed to terms with defender Whitney Engen. Engen comes to the Flash after spending her rookie season in 2010 with the (now defunct) Chicago Red Stars.

Engen, 23, from University of North Carolina, was the fourth overall pick in the 2010 WPS Draft. As a rookie she started all 24 games of the season logging 2,156 minutes and helping the Red Stars keep an impressive 1.13 goals against average this past season.

“Whitney is a young, talented player who has her whole future ahead of her,” said Flash Head Coach Aaran Lines. “She’s a leader from the back and has great experience from her rookie year in Chicago. I’m looking forward to working with her and developing her as a player throughout the 2011 season here in WNY.”

UNC is a noted hotbed of women’s soccer in the U.S. collegiate ranks, and Engen stands out even in elite Tarheel company. Read the rest of this entry →

That Red Meteor in the Sky Over Chicago was the Red Stars Falling: Chicago’s Red Stars to Suspend Play WPS Play in 2011 0

Posted on December 15, 2010 by John Wingspread Howell

The ownership of Chicago Red Stars have issued a letter to their fans announcing they will suspend play for the 2011 season, while looking for additional investors to resume competition the following season.

The announcement comes as no surprise since the Red Stars were unable to meet financial requirements on November 15th and were given an additional month to post the required escrow to guarantee their payroll in order to remain in the league.

Unlike previous clubs to cease WPS competition: Los Angeles, St. Louis and the Bay Area’s FC Gold Pride, the Red Stars will keep their organization intact and expressed their intention to hold some activities in the Chicago market as a way of maintaining contact with the fans.

The owners’ statement expressed ambivalence about giving up, but said they owe it to their players to give them opportunities to play in the league for other clubs before the free agent signing deadline, and to other clubs to finalize their schedules.

Although Chicago did not represent well in the standings in either year of their existence, they have a stable of talent that other WPS clubs will be quick to sign, including Spanish international Veronica Bouquete, midfielders Casey Nogueira, Ella Masar, Megan Rapinoe, and defenders Natalie Spilger and Whitney Engen, among others.

The Red Stars enjoyed a faithful and passionate fan base but were unable to build their following and in fact saw attendance decrease from year one (2009) to year two (2010). Sources inside the organization indicated that an average attendance of 5,000 was the minimum needed to keep the club afloat. That mark was missed by more than 1,000.

If the club is to return for 2012 they will have to find a better venue. Toyota Park is too large and too far from the suburban demographic that was the core of their supporters. It is no doubt also more expensive than a smaller venue would be. They will also have to find a major corporate sponsor to help carry them for a few years until they have the ability to increase fan support and attendance. A key factor in their lack of growth was their budgetary limitations that precluded mass market advertising. A major corporate sponsor could have provided that.

WPS Western New York Flash Makes a Splash Signing Canadian Superstar 3

Posted on December 11, 2010 by John Wingspread Howell

After playing on 2010 WPS Champion FC Gold, Christine Sinclair will look to have similar success with the Western New York Flash.

The Western New York Flash of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) has announced that it has agreed to terms with four players for the 2011 season, all of whom come to the Flash with experience in WPS.

As promised in their launch press conference, the club has signed a key Canadian player, Christine Sinclair, in an attempt to reach out to fans north of the border. The acquisitions were plucked from a rich pool of free agent talent made available by the dissolution of WPS 2010 Champion FC Gold Pride.

Along with Sinclair, Gold Pride defenders Ali Riley and Candace Wilson will make their way across the country from the West Coast. The Flash also agreed to terms with free agent Brittany Bock, who spent the 2010 season with the Washington Freedom.

Sinclair, one of the top strikers in the world comes to the Flash after an outstanding 2010 year. After winning the WPS Championship with FC Gold Pride, Sinclair went on to lead Canada in being crowned CONCACAF Champions after defeating Mexico, 1-0, in the final. Sinclair had the game-winning goal in the match and ended with six goals in the tournament. Sinclair has extensive international experience, with 140 caps and 107 goals and is currently the all time leader in goals in Canadian history. Sinclair spent both years in WPS with Gold Pride, appearing 40 times for the club with 16 goals and 10 assists in two seasons. Read the rest of this entry →

WPS Announces 2011 Schedule 5

Posted on December 11, 2010 by John Wingspread Howell

Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) has announced the calendar for its 2011 WPS Season, the league’s third year of play featuring the top players from around the world. In 2010, over 20 countries were represented by players in WPS.

Well, at least there’s going to be a season. Perhaps that is the point of the announcement, since with the folding of the FC Gold Pride franchise and the continued uncertainty over the viability of Chicago Red Stars (their escrow deadline has been extended to December 15) there have been serious doubts as to whether WPS would even match the three year run of their predecessor, WUSA.

What their announcement of today does not answer is whether or not the Chicago franchise will be included, and because that huge variable is unresolved, they also have not announced an actual match schedule, since the number of teams that are operational will obviously impact the schedule.

All we know for now is that next season, WPS teams will play an 18-game schedule, comprised of nine home games and nine away matches from April through August. This is six games less than the 2010 season and two games less than the inaugural season in 2009. Opening weekend has been set for April 9-10, 2011. Similar to the past two years, preseason will begin no earlier than March 1. The season will end with playoffs culminating with the 2011 WPS Championship presented by Citi , on the weekend of August 27-28.

The league’s Board of Governors voted to retain the existing playoff format used during the first two seasons. Retaining the playoff format will continue to see four teams qualify for the post-season. The last two regular seasons have seen exciting down-to-the-wire finishes with teams securing their playoff berths on the final weekend of the regular season. Read the rest of this entry →

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