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U.S. WNT Players to Take Time Off for WUSA Soccer Festivals


A number of U.S. Women’s National Team stars currently training in residency camp at The Home Depot Center in preparation for the 2004 Athens Olympics will be taking some important time off in June to participate in two WUSA Soccer Festivals in Minnesota and California.

"It's kind of nice to hear around the (national) team the excitement of the WUSA wanting to come back and actually going back to our hometowns and playing for our teams again.  I think the festivals are just the beginning," said FIFA World All-Star and New York Power midfielder Shannon Boxx.

The Minnesota WUSA Soccer Festival will be played at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn. It features one game on Friday, June 18 at 7:35 p.m. between the Atlanta Beat and the New York Power, and one match on Saturday, June 19 at 5 p.m. CT as the Washington Freedom take on the Boston Breakers. The follow-up June 27 doubleheader at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., will feature the San Diego Spirit against the Carolina Courage and the San Jose CyberRays vs. the Philadelphia Charge. 

Kicking off in 2001, the WUSA was the first full professional soccer league for women in the United States. Eight teams competed in the league for three years, which served as a stepping stone for several players to U.S. Women’s National Team pool. Although the league ceased operations for the 2004 season, the WUSA Soccer Festivals will serve as a bridge for the league as it looks for a 2005 return.

"The WUSA Soccer Festivals are a terrific opportunity for soccer fans to witness the world's best female players right before the Athens Summer Olympic Games," said Tony DiCicco, co-chairman of the committee to re-launch the WUSA.

 Each WUSA Festival team will have up to five guest players for the friendly match-ups. In Blaine, the rosters for the two games will feature many marquee players who are currently training with the U.S. Women’s National Team. Atlanta Beat stars Briana Scurry, Kylie Bivens, Cindy Parlow, and guest player Tiffany Roberts will face the New York Power, led by Christie Rampone and Shannon Boxx, and joined by Brandi Chastain and Brazilian star Sissi in the first game. The second game will be a match-up between Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach’s Washington Freedom and the Boston Breakers, led by Kristine Lilly and Kate Markgraf.  Washington will be joined by Shannon MacMillan and Joy Fawcett, while Boston will welcome Heather Mitts, Cat Reddick, and English star Kelly Smith as guest players. 

Tickets for the WUSA Soccer Festival at the National Sports Center are on sale to the general public by calling the NSC Ticket hotline number 763-792-7346 or Ticketmaster at 651-989-5151. Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster Ticket Centers in Marshall Field's and Mervyn's or by going to http://www.nscsports.org/soccer/sss.html. Tickets are priced from $12-$35 for each night of the WUSA Soccer Festival.

 The following weekend, the WUSA makes its debut at The Home Depot Center with a special tripleheader on June 27.  Prior to the two WUSA matches, a charity celebrity soccer game will feature Hollywood stars. At noon PT, Foudy, MacMillan, Joy Fawcett and the San Diego Spirit take on Danielle Slaton, Tiffany Roberts and the rest of the Carolina Courage. Once again, guest players will make appearances on different WUSA teams. Look for Hamm and Wambach as members of the Spirit and Cindy Parlow and Canadian international Charmaine Hooper suiting up for the Courage. Game two, which kicks off at 2:30 p.m. PT, features Heather Mitts, Lorrie Fair and the Philadelphia Charge against Chastain and the San Jose CyberRays. Guest players for the Charge include Lilly, Wagner and rookie Cat Reddick, while Boxx, Rampone and Christie Welsh are additions for the CyberRays.

Tickets are available by visiting The Home Depot Center Box office, by calling Ticketmaster at (213) 480-3232 or via the Internet at Ticketmaster.com.  Tickets are priced from $15-$30.  Groups of 15 or more receive a $5 discount on tickets.  For group tickets, call (866) LA-GROUP or (877) 3-GALAXY.

The WUSA Soccer Festival Weekends will feature a series of soccer-themed events during the Thursday to Sunday timeframe. Each weekend is scheduled to feature soccer clinics, player appearances and autograph signing sessions, WUSA Fan Zones, a Friday luncheon and many other festivities. The exhibition matches will highlight the weekends.

For more information on the WUSA, the 2004 WUSA Festivals, or the "Keep the WUSA Dream Alive" ticket campaign, please visit www.wusa.com.

WUSA FESTIVALS
Blaine, Minnesota – National Sports Center – June 18-19
June 18  Atlanta Beat vs. New York Power  7:35 p.m. CT
June 19  Washington Freedom vs. Boston Breakers 5 p.m. CT

Featured Players
Atlanta Beat   
Briana Scurry  -69 Shutouts for WNT
Cindy Parlow  -2-time Hermann Award winner at UNC
Charmaine Hooper -star Canadian international
Tiffany Roberts  -guest player for Atlanta

New York Power
Christie Rampone -More than 100 caps for WNT
Shannon Boxx  -Captained FIFA World All-Stars in 2004
Brandi Chastain  (g) -Scored winning PK in World Cup 1999
Sissi (g)  -Brazilian international

Washington Freedom (reigning WUSA Champions)
Mia Hamm  -leading scorer in international soccer history
Julie Foudy (g)  -Captain of WNT
Joy Fawcett  -WUSA Defender of the Year in 2003 (San Diego Spirit)
Abby Wambach  -2004 FIFA World All-Star
Shannon MacMillan(g) -2002 Chevrolet Female Athlete of the Year

Boston Breakers
Kristine Lilly  -most capped player in international history
Heather Mitts (g) -studio analyst for ESPN during 2003 Women’s World Cup
Cat Reddick  -WUSA rookie, led UNC to undefeated season in 2003
Kate Markgraf  -three-time NSCAA Division 1 All-American

TICKET INFORMATION
(Price Range $12-35 Each Night)
NSC Ticket hotline number:  763-792-7346
NSC Website:  http://www.nscsports.org/soccer/sss.html.
Ticketmaster:  651-989-5151
Ticketmaster Ticket Centers in Marshall Field's and Mervyn's
 
Carson, California – Home Depot Center – June 27
San Diego Spirit vs. Carolina Courage  12 p.m. PT
San Jose CyberRays vs. Philadelphia  2:30 p.m. PT

FEATURED PLAYERS
San Diego Spirit
Shannon MacMillan  -2002 Chevrolet Female Athlete of the Year
Mia Hamm (g)  -leading scorer in international soccer history
Abby Wambach (g) -2004 FIFA World All-Star
Julie Foudy  -Captain of WNT
Joy Fawcett  -WUSA Defender of the Year in 2003, mother of three

Carolina Courage
Cindy Parlow (g) -2-time Hermann Award winner at UNC
Danielle Slaton  -Number 1 pick in the 2002 WUSA draft
Kylie Bivens (g)  -Member of the U16, U20, and U21 National Team Player Pools

Philadelphia Charge
Shannon Boxx (g) -Captained FIFA World All-Stars in 2004
Kristine Lilly (g)  -Most capped player in international soccer history
Heather Mitts  -Started all 51 during three years of WUSA
Kelly Smith  -star England international

San Jose CyberRays
Shannon Boxx (g) -Captained FIFA World All-Stars in 2004
Brandi Chastain  -Led CyberRays to first WUSA Championship in 2001
Amy LePeilbet  -WUSA Rookie, U.S. WNT defender
Christie Rampone (g) -leading scorer in high school soccer, field hockey, and basketball

TICKET INFORMATION
(Priced from $15-30)
Visit The Home Depot Center Box office
Ticketmaster:  (213) 480-3232 or Ticketmaster.com
For group tickets, call (866) LA-GROUP or (877) 3-GALAXY.

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