The Breakers are ready to begin their seventh season as a franchise, first in WPSL Elite, and look to win their third straight season opener. After four weeks of hard training, which included a preseason scrimmage vs. Boston College, the team is set to embark on its course to win the inaugural WPSL Elite championship.
Led by Head Coach Lisa Cole, the Breakers boast a lineup that features players who’ve competed and won on the biggest stages - Olympics, Women’s World Cup, U-20 Women’s World Cup, NCAA College Cup, Four Nations Tournament, Asian Cup, WPS Playoffs, and Westfield WLeague Grand Finals.
"I’m excited to see us play," Cole said. "It’s been a long four weeks (of training). I think the team is ready to get on the field."
Led by captain and former U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Leslie Osborne, the Breakers head to Maryland, looking to open their 2012 campaign with the first of many victories when they take on ASA Chesapeake Charge Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. ET on the campus of Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Md.
Osborne is joined in the midfield by two U.S. U-23 players in Amanda DaCosta and Bianca D’Agostino, both who have one year of WPS experience under the belts (DaCosta with magicJack and D’Agostino with the Atlanta Beat). Up top and out on the flanks, the opposition will have their hands full with the likes of former U.S. U-23 forward and two-time NSCAA All-American at Penn State, Katie Schoepfer, and Australian National Team stars Kyah Simon and Tameka Butt, who both started for their country in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
"Im excited about the Australians and how they’re figuring out how to play off the other players," Cole said.
Anchoring the backline is former U.S. Women’s National Team defender and Olympic gold medalist Cat Whitehill. She’ll be joined by Elli Reed, a standout defender on the U.S. 2008 U-20 Women’s World Cup gold medal team, in addition to University of North Carolina stalwart and two-time NCAA champion, rookie Courtney Jones, and third-year Breaker Taryn Hemmings, who had a breakout season in Australia over the winter, winning the Westfield W-League Grand Final with Canberra United and finishing second on the team with four goals. The Breakers backline will look to protect rookie keeper Alice Binns, a Dorchester, Mass. native who recently finished her college career at Boston University and was the America East Keeper of the Year as a junior in 2010.
The Breakers bring a deep bench to Maryland this week, including two-time America East Striker of the Year with Boston University and 2011 NSCAA All-America midfielder/forward Jessica Luscinski, Boston University defender and 2011 America East All-Conference First Team selection Katherine Donnelly, Penn State defender and English international Emma Thomson, who played 86 games in four years for the Nittany Lions and earned All-Big Ten Second Team honors this past fall, Auburn University and SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year Julie King, and midfielder Veronica Napoli, who became Northeastern University’s all-time leading scorer this past fall.
The Charge, led by Head Coach Albert Oni, features Penn State’s Christine Nairn, who has been in and out of camp recently with the U.S. Women’s National Team as well as midfielder Ashley Spivey, who is headed to the University of Maryland in the fall, and former Wake Forest midfielder Amanda Lebo. Spivey has been in the U.S. National Team system from U-15s through U18s, and Lebo scored seven goals and added 10 assists in 76 games for the Demon Deacons from 2005-2008.
Two days after Thursday’s match against ASA Chesapeake Charge, the Breakers head to the Maryland Soccer Complex to play an exhibition match (Saturday, May 12 at 6 p.m.) against the DC United Women, a team that features former WPS standouts Carolyn Blank, Joanna Lohman, Lianne Sanderson, and U.S. Women’s National Team defender Becky Sauerbrunn.
"It’s an important road trip for us," Cole said. "I want to get a ’W’ in our first WPSL Elite game, and DC United is a good team, so we get to be tested right away."
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