Saint Louis Athletica of Womenâ€™s Professional Soccer (WPS), kick-off the 2010 season Sunday against FC Gold Pride and four time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta. Game time is set for 3:00 pm at The Anheuser-Busch Soccer Park. The match can be heard live on-line at www.team1380.net.
The new look Saint Louis Athletica could see as many as six new faces in Sundayâ€™s starting lineup. Returning veterans from 2009 Hope Solo, Tina Ellertson, Kendall Fletcher, and Elise Weber will be anchoring the defense. It is in the midfield that Athletica will see the biggest changes. Newcomer Shannon Boxx is a certainty in the middle of the park, and Japanese international Aya Miyama is likely slated for left wing duty. Tina DiMartino and rookie Carolyn Blank are also likely to figure into the starting eleven, which leaves Head Coach Jorge Barcellos some interesting options up top. England international Eniola Aluko is Athleticaâ€™s featured striker, but will she be partnered by Swedenâ€™s Madelaine Edlund or by new addition India Trotter?
On paper the matchup between these two clubâ€™s has the best of everything that the WPS offers, namely star power. The 2010 edition of Athletica is loaded with experience. The club has a roster of players that have nearly 700 international caps to their name. Athletica has six Olympic medalists, including four gold and two silver medalists. Saint Louis alone has six players that played in the 2008 Olympic Finals in Beijing; Shannon Box, Lori Chalupny, Lindsay Tarpley, and Hope Solo from the United States gold medal squad, and Daniela and Elaine from Brazil who took home the silver. All told Athletica players have appeared in over 100 matches at World Cup and Olympic Finals.
â€œOn paper we have an incredible team,â€ said Hope Solo during an in-studio interview with 101 ESPN Radio in St. Louis. â€œNow we have to prove it on the field. I said it last year and I was wrong, but I am saying it again this year. We expect to win this championship.â€
Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-888-STL-GOAL or by going on-line to www.saintlouisathletica.com
Saint Louis Athletica is a founding member of Womenâ€™s Professional Soccer, WPS. In their inaugural season Saint Louis Athletica finished in second place in the WPS, and reached the WPS Super Semifinal.
Headquartered in San Francisco, Womenâ€™s Professional Soccer (WPS) is the worldâ€™s premier soccer league for women with eight teams across the United States featuring the best players from around the world. In 2010, eight teams will each play 24-game schedules from April 10-September 12 including six original WPS teams â€“ Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Gold Pride (Bay Area), Saint Louis Athletica, Sky Blue FC (NJ/NY) and Washington Freedom â€“ and two expansion teams Atlanta Beat and Philadelphia Independence. The top four finishers in the regular season will qualify for the 2010 WPS Playoffs scheduled for September 19-26.