March 19, 2010

WPS Preseason Notes: Mid-March Edition

All 8 WPS teams have reduced their rosters to 24 players as of Tuesday and have one more series of cuts to make to get down to 22 players (18 full roster players + 4 developmental players) by the April 1 deadline.

Six of the 8 teams are playing preseason exhibitions or scrimmages this weekend. One game has two WPS teams facing each other. The Boston Breakers are scheduled to take on defending champions Sky Blue FC on Saturday in Gainesville, Florida.

Other games feature WPS teams taking on top college programs. Philadelphia is set to match up against NCAA champion North Carolina in Downingtown, Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon. Washington Freedom will play another top ACC program, the University of Virginia, on Saturday. Meanwhile, Saint Louis Athetica travels to Columbia, Missouri to play the University of Missouri in a scrimmage.

Atlanta has two upcoming preseason matches. On Friday, they will meet the US U-20 team in St. Augustine, Florida and then play the University of Florida on Sunday in Gainesville.

The Chicago Red Stars are returning home at spending 10 days training in Florida. FC Gold Pride's next scheduled preseason match is against the University of San Francisco on Thursday.

A quick look around the league:

Atlanta - The Beat waived veteran Canadian defender Sharolta Nonen as one of their final roster cuts on Thursday. Atlanta's back line roster appears to be pretty thin at this point, with Shameka Gordon added to the injured list.....Atlanta has invited Kerri Hanks and Lauren Sesselmann in for a look. For Hanks, this is her 3rd camp this spring after previously being released by Sky Blue and Philadelphia.....The Beat have a very busy schedule coming up. In addition to the 2 games listed above, they also have matches scheduled against the Boston Breakers and UNC in the next week.

Boston - The Breakers have added Chioma Igwe to their preseason camp. Igwe was waived by Chicago earlier after playing 15 games for the Red Stars last season.....Boston tied the US U-20 team 2-2 on Wednesday. Breakers goals were scored by Fabiana and Kristine Lilly....Algarve Cup star Lauren Cheney will be joining the team in Florida this week.

Chicago - The Red Stars finished their Florida trip with a 2-0 victory over South Florida on goals by Cristiane and Brittany Klein.....Chicago has scheduled a trio of preseason matches against midwestern colleges Notre Dame, Northwestern, and Illinois.....Brazilian veteran Formiga is not in camp as of yet because of visa delays.

FC Gold Pride - On Thursday, FCGP released Jamie Souza, thus reducing their goalkeeper roster to 3, Nicole Barnhart, Brittany Cameron, and Erin Guthrie.....Brazilian star and WPS Golden Boot and MVP winner, Marta, arrived in camp earlier this week.....Rosie Tantillo made the 24 player roster as a free agent, after scoring a goal against TEPCO Mareeze last weekend.

Philadelphia - The Independence waived their highest draft pick, Malorie Rutledge, on Thursday. Rutledge was the 13th overall pick in the 2010 draft.....Philly also added Amy Smerdzinski back to their preseason camp after releasing her a week ago.....Philadelphia has signed Heather Mitts to a 3-year contract.

Saint Louis - Athletica officially announced the signing of Madelaine Edlund and Elaine this week.....Unlike last year, Athletica will share their Soccer Park facility with the city's new NASL entry, AC St. Louis.....Shannon Boxx saw her first action as a member of Athletica last Saturday against the University of Illinois and scored a goal in that match.

Sky Blue FC - SBFC defeated Florida State 5-0 in preseason action on Wednesday.....Owing to a fairly crowded roster situation, expect some top notch college players from 2009 to be on Sky Blue's developmental roster.....Sky Blue's regular season opener will be televised on Fox Soccer Channel on Sunday, April 11.

Washington - The Freedom are returning north after a successful Florida trip in which they defeated the US U-23 teams and the Chicago Red Stars in exhibition matches.....Sarah Huffman scored a goal in that Red Stars game after missing nearly the entire 2009 season due to injuries.....Washington started camp with 6 goalkeepers, the most by any team. It appears that two of last year's developmental keepers, Meagan McCray (FC Gold Pride) and Jaimel Johnson (Chicago) will be battling for the 3rd GK spot on the Freedom's roster.