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Former teammates now foes for opener
by Paul Kennedy, March 27th, 2009 7AM



[WPS] Brazilian Marta won't be the only star on display when the Los Angeles Sol hosts the Washington Freedom Sunday in the Women's Professional Soccer opening game (TV: Fox Soccer Channel, live, 6 pm ET). Both teams are loaded with international and collegiate stars who were once teammates but will be on the opposing side of the field Sunday at the Home Depot Center.

Comeback kids
ALY WAGNER (Los Angeles). Once considered the future playmaking star of the U.S. national team, Wagner has been slowed by injuries and played a supporting role in recent years. A knee injury set her back in her bid to make the 1999 Women's World Cup team. She recovered from a double-hernia operation early in 2008 to win a second gold medal.

CAT WHITEHILL (Washington). Like Wagner a member of the 2004 Olympic gold-medal team, Whitehill wasn't so fortunate four years later. She suffered a knee injury in June 2008 and missed the Beijing Olympics. She has only returned to full action this month.

Pride of Japan
AYA MIYAMA (Los Angeles). Japan's rising star stood out at the 2008 Olympics where she helped lead the Japanese women to the semifinals. She'll be one of the most dangerous players in WPS on free kicks.

HOMARE SAWA (Washington). One of the few foreign stars of the defunct WUSA to return for WPS, Sawa has played in four World Cups for Japan. The 30-year-old Sawa has scored 65 international goals.

Allez les Bleues
CAMILLE ABILY (Los Angeles). The 24-year-old Frenchwoman moved from Montpellier to Lyon in 2006 and helped it win back-to-back French league title. She was part of the OL team that had advanced to the semifinals of the UEFA Women's Cup when she left to join the Sol.

SONIA BOMPASTOR (Washington). Like Abily, the 26-year-old Bompastor joined Lyon from Montpellier. Lyon tried to block their move to WPS. She's captain of the French national team and has played in the 2003 Women's World Cup.

Nittany Lion standouts
CHRISTIE WELSH (Los Angeles). Penn State's only Hermann Trophy winner scored 82 collegiate goals, though she never won a regular spot on the U.S. national team.

JOANNA LOHMAN (Washington). Two years after Welsh won the Hermann Trophy, Lohman was runner-up. She played in recent years for the W-League Freedom and has been working as a vice president of a real estate consulting firm.


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