European powers stock up with ex-WPS players

[AMERICANS ABROAD] WPS's loss is Europe's gain. Refugees from the women's league, which suspended operations for 2012, are dotted on Europe's top clubs. Five Americans -- all former WPS players -- started in Wednesday's first leg of the UEFA European Champions League quarterfinals. Keeper Alyssa Naeher earned the 2-0 win as Germany's 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam beat Russia's Rossiyanka, which started the trio of Yanks, Kia McNeill, Yael Averbuch and Leigh Ann Robinson. Christen Press, whose "The Pitch" is a regular feature of Soccer America, made her European debut in Gothenburg FC's 3-1 loss at Arsenal.

In addition, Georgetown's Ingrid Wells came off the bench for Gothenburg FC. Two European veterans -- injured U.S. national team right back Ali Krieger and Gina Lewandowski -- play for 1. FFC Frankfurt, which faces Brondby of Denmark on Thursday.

Like their men's counterparts, the rosters of most of the women's quarterfinalists feature numerous foreigners. In addition to the three Americans, Rossiyanka started three Brazilians, one Swede and one South African.

In Wednesday's third game, defending champion Lyon beat Malmo of Sweden, 4-0. Frenchwomen Sonia Bompastor and Camille Abily, both former WPS stars, and Louisa Necib scored, as did Swiss star Lara Dickenmann (ex-Ohio State). Lyon's squad includes the core of the French national team but also Swede Lotta Schelin, Brazilian Rosana and Costa Rican Shirley Cruz.

Arsenal re-signed the former Boston Breakers duo Kelly Smith and Alex Scott, though Smith was injured and unable to play against Gothenburg. Anita Asante, a third English international who moved back to Europe following WPS's shutdown, started for Gothenburg.

Americans in UEFA Champions League:
1. FFC Turbine Potsdam
Alyssa Naeher, 23
College: Penn State. WPS: Boston
Alex Singer, 24
College: Virginia. WPS: Washington

1. FFC Frankfurt
Gina Lewandowski, 26
College: Lehigh. WPS: Western New York
Ali Krieger, 27
College: Penn State. WPS: Washington (loan)

FC Gothenburg
Ingrid Wells, 22
College: Georgetown
Christen Press, 23
College: Stanford. WPS: magicJack

FC Rossiyanka
Kia McNeill, 25
College: Boston College. WPS: St. Louis, Philadelphia, Atlanta
Leigh Ann Robinson, 25.
College: San Diego. WPS: FC Gold Pride, Atlanta, Philadelphia
Yael Averbuch, 25
College: North Carolina. WPS: Sky Blue FC, Western New York

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