Women’s Professional Soccer Releases Inaugural 2009 Season Schedule & More

The WPS released the schedule for its first season today, including games for the Los Angeles Sol, which becomes the third (!) professional soccer team at Carson’s Home Depot Center.

Here are the basics from the league’s (edited) press release:

The previously announced home openers that begin Sunday, March 29 with the WPS inaugural match between the Los Angeles Sol and the Washington Freedom and continue during WPS Kick-Off Week with a full slate of league games on April 5 will be followed by regular weekly action over the next five months for a total of 70 league match-ups, three post-season contests and one WPS All-Star Game.

Teams will play a 20-game regular season schedule with 10 home games and 10 away games. Each team will play the other teams in the league three times with a fourth game against two regional rivals to round out the 20-game schedule. Games will be played primarily on weekends with 14 games scheduled for weeknights, primarily on Wednesdays. Weeknight games will not begin until midway through the season on June 3.

Every week, Fox Soccer Channel will broadcast “WPS Sunday on FSC” nationally to over 34 million homes with appointment television. The season culminates with the WPS Playoffs including the First Round, Super Semifinal and WPS Final. The WPS Final on August 22 will reach up to 80 million homes nationally on Fox Sports Net’s owned and affiliated regional sports networks.

The WPS regular season culminates the weekend of August 8/9 with three league games. The first round of the playoffs will be played August 15, the WPS Super Semifinal is set for August 18/19 with the WPS Final scheduled for August 22 at the home field of the 2009 WPS Regular Season Champion. The All-Star Game will be played following the conclusion of the season.

The complete WPS schedule is here.

The Sol schedule is here.

In other women’s soccer news, U.S. Women’s National Team Coach Pia Sundhage today announced an 18-player roster for the annual 12-team Algarve Cup scheduled for March in Portugal.

Striker Abby Wambachis not included; she’s not yet considered match-fit, while continuing her comeback from a broken leg.

Here’s the roster:
Goalkeepers – Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride), Hope Solo (St. Louis Athletica)

Defenders – Rachel Buehler (FC Gold Pride), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis Athletica), Kendall Fletcher (Los Angeles Sol), Heather Mitts (Boston Breakers), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC)

Midfielders – Shannon Boxx (Los Angeles Sol), Tina DiMartino (FC Gold Pride), Carli Lloyd (Chicago Red Stars), Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Lindsay Tarpley (Chicago Red Stars), Kacey White (Sky Blue FC), Angie Woznuk (St. Louis Athletica).

Forwards – Angela Hucles (Boston Breakers), Natasha Kai (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (Boston Breakers).

Here’s a roster breakdown from U.S. Soccer:

The U.S. roster features 13 players from the 2008 Olympic gold medal champions, including three-fourths of the starting back line in captain Christie Rampone and flank defenders Heather Mitts and Lori Chalupny. With Kate Markgraf pregnant, Olympian Rachel Buehler and uncapped Kendall Fletcher will compete for playing time, although Torrance’s Shannon Boxx also trained at center back during the recently completed camp. Boxx has twice been named the MVP of the Algarve Cup (2004 and 2006).

Sundhage named three relatively inexperienced midfielders to go along with Olympians Boxx, Lindsay Tarpley, Heather O’Reilly and Lloyd. Among midfielders Angie Woznuk (6 caps, 1 goal), Tina DiMartino (1/0) and Kacey White (15/0), only Woznuk has attended the Algarve Cup before, playing in two matches last year.

The U.S. plays Demark, Iceland and Norway in the opening round of the Algarve Cup.

Lastly, Chivas USA midfielder Jorge Flores and UCLA goalkeeper Brian Perk are among a 26-player group that will train in Bradenton, Fla., until Feb. 15 as part of final preparations for the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship, which takes place in Trinidad and Tobago from March 6-15.

After the camp, U.S. Coach Thomas Rongen will name a 20-player squad for the championship.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!