[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.