NEW YORK (September 16, 2008) – Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) announced the allocations of the 21 U.S. Women’s National Team pool players, including 15 Olympic gold medalists, to its seven franchises Tuesday during an event at the Sports Museum of America in downtown Manhattan.
The announcement was hosted by NBA All-Star and WPS part-owner Steve Nash and presided over by WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci. Each of the seven teams set to begin play in WPS for the 2009 season were allocated three players apiece.
“This is a big day for Women’s Professional Soccer, as teams now have Olympic gold medalists from Beijing allocated to their home cities along with other talented national team players,” said Antonucci. “These are the first building blocks for the teams as the league begins the countdown to the inaugural 2009 WPS Season.”
The WPS team in the San Francisco Bay Area team was allocated former Stanford stars Nicole Barnhart and Rachel Buehler, as well as former Santa Clara University star Leslie Osborne, who missed the 2008 Olympics with a knee injury.
The Boston Breakers, whose previous incarnation played all three seasons in the WUSA, were allocated former and now current Breakers Kristine Lilly, the most capped player in the world and the long-time captain of the U.S. Women’s National Team as well as Olympic hero Angela Hucles. The Breakers third player was Heather Mitts, who started all six games at right back for the USA in the Olympics.
The Chicago Red Stars were allocated Carli Lloyd, scorer of the winning goal in the Olympic gold medal game, as well as Olympic champions Lindsay Tarpley and Kate Markgraf, both of whom started all six games in China.
The WPS team in Los Angles was allocated Torrance, Calif. native Shannon Boxx, and 2008 Olympians Stephanie Cox and Aly Wagner.
Sky Blue FC, who will play out of New Jersey, was allocated New Jersey’s own Heather O’Reilly and current U.S. captain Christie Rampone, as well as Hawaiian forward Natasha Kai.
The WPS team in St. Louis was allocated hometown hero Lori Chalupny, the USA’s number-one ‘keeper Hope Solo and defender Tina Ellertson, a member of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team who has not played in 2008 after having her second child.
Finally, the Washington Freedom was allocated Abby Wambach, who starred for the Freedom in the WUSA, where her play led to a stellar international career that has produced 99 goals so far, as well as defender Cat Whitehill. Both players missed the 2008 Olympics due to major injuries. The Freedom’s third allocation was Ali Krieger, an alternate on the 2008 Olympic Team who is currently playing for Frankfurt FC in Germany.
“Today has been a truly exciting and important day for the League and for the entire sport of women’s soccer,” said Nash. “The number of close games during the Olympics were a fantastic showcase of how the women’s level of competition continues to grow globally.
“And here in the United States, we’re lucky to have such talented players to call our own. As a soccer fanatic and father of twin girls, I personally feel fortunate to be here at the ground level, playing a role in launching the League that will set the standard for women’s play around the world.”
The allocation followed an extensive process in which the players and teams submitted their preferences to the league and a committee then examined the lists to give its recommendations. The WPS Board of Governors met on September 14-15 to consult with players, teams and the league to determine the best possible dispersal for all parties with the following allocation results.
Up next for WPS will be the international draft of top global stars the week of September 22 which will assign teams the rights to negotiate with four premiere international players. That will be followed by a draft of remaining players in early October and again in January.