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WPS's major offseason moves
by Paul Kennedy, April 8th, 2011 2:50AM

TAGS:  wps


[THE SIXER] The expression goes that you can't tell the players without a scorecard, and it's certainly the case with Women's Professional Soccer, which begins its third season this weekend. The collapse of two more franchises contributed to widespread player movement in the offseason involving many of the league's biggest stars. Here are six player moves that could have a big impact on the 2011 title race ...

SHANNON BOXX (magicJack). Boxx set what must be a record when she spent time last season on three teams that all folded. She started the year on the Los Angeles Sol, moved to Saint Louis Athletica when the Sol folded and joined FC Gold Pride in mid-season when Athletic collapsed. Now she has moved to South Florida and joined magicJack following the Pride's demise.

RACHEL BUEHLER (Boston).  Buehler's arrival from defunct FC Gold Pride should give the Breakers one of the league's best defenses. She joins fellow U.S. national team players Amy LePeilbet and Stephanie Cox and Englishwoman Alex Scott.

TOBIN HEATH (Sky Blue FC). One of the most skilled midfielders the USA has produced in recent years, Heath missed all but three games with ligament damage to her right ankle. But it was a surprise when Atlanta traded her and Englishwoman Eniola Aluko to Sky Blue FC for draft picks and future considerations. The move suited Sky Blue FC, whose attack struggled in 2010, and Heath, who hails from New Jersey.

MARTA (West New York). You could see Marta in Los Angeles or the Bay Area but Rochester? It's been unusual ride for WPS's marquee player, whose sensational play -- 28 goals, eight assists, two regular-season titles, one league championship -- could not save either the Sol or FC Gold Pride from folding. She'll be reunited with FC Gold Pride teammate Christine Sinclair and rookie Alex Morgan to give the Flash WPS's best attack.

MEGAN RAPINOE (Philadelphia). The Independence traded Caroline Seger to Western New York, so Rapinoe's arrival from Chicago, which folded after the 2010 season, gives it an attacking option in midfield. Along with goalie Nicole Barnhart and forward Amy Rodriguez, she could start for the USA at the 2011 Women's World Cup and miss a good portion of the season.

HOPE SOLO (magicJack). This is a big year for Solo, a World Cup year, after a 2010 season marred by injury. She began the season in St. Louis but moved to Atlanta after Athletica folded and then needed surgery on a nagging shoulder injury that forced her to sit out six months. She finally returned to action Saturday, coming on in the second half of the USA's 2-1 loss at England.

  1. Brandon Washington
    commented on: April 8, 2011 at 9:48 a.m.
    Let's not forget Nikki Washington, recent UNC winger/forward who'll begin her first full, healthy season with Buehler and the Breakers after an untimely ACL injury her senior year.
  1. David Sirias
    commented on: April 8, 2011 at 9:53 a.m.
    This is not a viable long term league as set up. MLS should should purchase WPS, eventually, and just run a ladies division. Whichever MLS academy produces the next Marta will makes it's investment back in jerseys sold alone For the rest, such an enterprise might eventually break even at best. But subsidizing the women's game would have incredible goodwill, in the economic sense. If MLS really wants to make the USA a soccer nation ( men and women eyeballs in the neilsen ratings) that is what he will advise his owners to do. Sooner the better.
  1. lorenzo murillo
    commented on: April 8, 2011 at 10:24 a.m.
    MLS and WPS combining do make sense. WPS could start as pre games to the MLS games...
  1. David Sirias
    commented on: April 8, 2011 at 10:58 a.m.
    Exactly Lorenzo If you were business would you purposefully ( sort of ) shut out half the demographic from your product, merchandise, concessions, etc That is so 20th century! MLS needs to be the white knight here, eventually, and save the women's game, if not to prevent the women's current unstoppable slide toward mediocrity, but to make the MLS more money IN THE LONG TERM. Think big MLS

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