Unique “Pick-em” Format to be used for First Time
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (March 22, 2009) – Women’s Professional Soccer today announced that Atlanta Beat’s new stadium in Kennesaw, GA, will be the site of the 2010 WPS All-Star Game presented by the U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday, June 30, 2010. The game will be televised live nationally on Fox Soccer Channel and available on FOX Sports Net (FSN) and its regional sports network affiliates starting at 7:30pm ET/4:30pm PT, including a pregame show live from Atlanta.
The WPS All-Star Game has been moved from last year’s end-of-season date to mid-season in order to fall in line with other professional league all-star games.
“Atlanta, with its wonderful new stadium built specifically for WPS, will be a fantastic venue for our second WPS All-Star Game,” said WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci. “We decided to try something different this year with our format and move the date to mid-season to provide some separation from our WPS Championship. It should make for an incredible mid-summer festival of the world’s best soccer league for women.”
The game will employ an unprecedented and uniquely engaging format for this season. A total pool of 36 players will be selected in early-June as WPS All-Stars, with 22 players chosen through voting by teams, players, media and fans, and another 14 All-Star Coaches and Commissioner’s picks. The highest-voted international and domestic player will be announced as captains.
All 36 players will then travel to Atlanta. In Atlanta, the two captains together with the team coaches will select the Starting XI for each team in an alternating “playground pick-em” style format during a public event in the days prior to the WPS All-Star Game.
“We thought this would be a great way to celebrate the roots of the sport: the camaraderie, the inclusiveness and that intrinsic pick-up nature of soccer on a playground field,” said Antonucci. “We think it’s a fun format to test out during the early years of our league and will be a very engaging way for fans to connect with the players in advance of the All-Star Game.”
Atlanta Beat’s new stadium in Kennesaw, GA, officially opens May 9 and will host the second-ever WPS All-Star Game after St. Louis played host in 2009 as the WPS All-Stars defeated Umea IK of Sweden, 4-2.
“The WPS All-Star Game will be one of the highlights of the season during our Inaugural Year at the Atlanta Beat’s new stadium,” said Atlanta Beat Chairman and Owner T. Fitz Johnson. “It will be a fantastic way to bring together the best in the world all in one game and showcase our new stadium to a national and international audience at the same time.”
The WPS All-Star voting will begin online in May for fans and early June for teams and media. The WPS All-Star Selections will be announced the week of June 7. Team names will be announced at a later date. Seats to the All-Star game go on sale to the general public Saturday, May 1 at 9:00 a.m. Call 678.298.4780 for more information or visit www.theatlantabeat.com.
About Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS)
Headquartered in San Francisco, Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) is the world’s premier soccer league for women with eight teams across the United States featuring the best players from around the world. WPS completed its inaugural season in August 2009 as Sky Blue FC of New Jersey became the first-ever WPS Champions. In 2010, eight teams will each play 24-game schedules from April 10-September 12 including six original WPS teams – Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Gold Pride (Bay Area), Saint Louis Athletica, Sky Blue FC (NJ/NY) and Washington Freedom – and two expansion teams Atlanta Beat and Philadelphia Independence. The top four finishers in the regular season will qualify for the 2010 WPS Playoffs scheduled for September 19-26. For more information, visit the WPS official website at www.womensprosoccer.com or follow all the news at www.twitter.com/womensprosoccer.
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