Boston Breakers 2012 Year in Review

From sold-out crowds to a regular season title, it was a year to remember

 2012 proved quite a year for the Boston Breakers. Take a look at the highlights of the year, including all the work that the team put in on the field and off the field as well as some memorable quotes throughout the season.

2012 proved quite a year for the Boston Breakers. Here’s a look at the high points of the year, including all the work that the team put in on the field and off the field as well as some memorable quotes throughout the season.

Busy offseason
Head Coach Lisa Cole and General Manager Lee Billiard started laying the groundwork for the 2012 Breakers months before the season began. One of the biggest offseason moves brought former Boston Breaker and U.S. Women’s National Team legend back to the city - Kristine Lilly - who joined the coaching staff as an assistant. The first major player signing saw another familiar face return to Boston - captain and midfielder Leslie Osborne, who came back for her third season in a Breakers uniform and brought years of professional and USWNT experience to the field. Shortly thereafter, the Breakers signed USWNT midfielder Heather O’Reilly and former USWNT defender Cat Whitehill. A number of veteran Breakers players returned, including forward Katie Schoepfer, defenders Taryn Hemmings and Elli Reed, and midfielder Mary Frances-Monroe. The Breakers saw the return of yet another familiar face, a player from the team’s WUSA days - defender Lindsay Massengale.

Cat Whitehill takes on WNY’s McCall Zerboni

New faces
Two of the biggest international offseason signings in the league came from abroad, Australian Women’s National Team stars Kyah Simon and Tameka Butt, who both made immediate impacts on the field. The Breakers also brought in a pair of professional veterans and members of the U.S. Women’s National Team’s Under-23 squad, midfielders Bianca D’Agostino and Amanda DaCosta. A handful of rookies made their Boston Breakers debut and quickly gelled with the veterans on the team. This group included University of North Carolina standout forward and two-time NCAA champion Courtney Jones, forward Melissa Henderson, a NSCAA All-American and 2010 NCAA national champion with the University of Notre Dame, Auburn University defender and 2011 SEC Defender of the Year Julie King, Penn State defender and former England U-15 and U-17 national teamer Emma Thomson, and University of Texas midfielder Kate Incerto, who previously played for BuxMont Torch in the Women’s Premier Soccer League. The Breakers signed a number of local players, including the Boston University trio of midfielder Jessica Luscinski, defender Katherine Donnelly, and keeper Alice Binns, Northeastern University’s all-time leading scorer Veronica Napoli, Quinnipiac University star Furtuna Velaj, and former University of Connecticut star and current head coach at the University of Vermont, midfielder Kristi Lefebvre. The Breakers added Colombian international keeper Alejandra Velasco late in the season. Velasco was a member of Colombia’s 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup team.


Katie Schoepfer and Kyah Simon celebrate a goal                                                               Captain Leslie Osborne warms up

A season to remember
The Breakers made a remarkable debut in the WPSL Elite league, starting with a 3-0 win over ASA Chesapeake Charge. This was the first game in WPSL Elite history, which allowed the Breakers to make history in more ways than one. They became the first team in the league to record a win and shutout. Napoli became the first player to ever score in a WPSL Elite game. Jones had the league’s first assist, and Binns earned the league’s first shutout.

The Breakers sold out all seven home games in 2012, resulting in more than 15,000 fans coming through the gates at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville. The first shutout came on Boston’s debut, a 4-1 win over FC Indiana in front of 2,312 fans.

The Breakers won five straight to start the season and finished with league-best 11-3 record and 33 points. They had the second and fifth leading scorers in WPSL Elite. Simon had a team-high 13 goals to go along with 2 assists, while Schoepfer finished with 7 goals and 6 assists (the 6 assists tied for team-best with Jones). The Breakers had nine different goal scorers in 2012: Simon, Schoepfer, Jones, Butt, D’Agostino, Reed, Henderson, Luscinski, and Napoli, and another five players who notched assists: Osborne, O’Reilly, Donnelly, King, and DaCosta.

Other highlights on the field in 2012 included Simon’s hat trick against the New England Mutiny, just the second hat trick in Breakers history (dating back to the WUSA); Project Pink Night, where the players wore pink uniforms to raise awareness of breast cancer. The team auctioned off the jerseys following the game, which brought in more than $5,000, all of which went to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer; O’Reilly made her Boston Breakers debut just past the halfway point of the season in a 2-0 win over the New York Fury; and Reed scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win over the Western New York Flash while Binns made 10 saves to preserve the victory, which gave the Breakers the WPSL Elite regular season title.

One of many sold out crowds at Dilboy Stadium

Breakers made their mark off the field
In addition to the countless hours the Boston Breakers players and coaching staff put in on the training field and on game day, they delivered the same effort off the field, participating in several community events. Here is just a handful of events the Breakers participated in during the 2012 season: St. Elizabeth’s Sports Medicine Rally; Families of Inspiration; Cambridge Friends School; Boston vs. Bullies; East Boston Neighborhood Health Center CATCH Program; City of Somerville Memorial Day Parade; and various camps and clinics throughout region. Saturday, June 23, 2012, marked an historic day in women’s sports. It was the 40th anniversary of Title IX, a law that provides women the same opportunities that men have regarding participation in school sports. In a pre-game interview, Cat Whitehill and Leslie Osborne talked about what Title IX means to women’s sports.

Tameka Butt and Heather O’Reilly sign for fans in Autograph Alley

Memorable quotes of 2012:

“I think the most exciting thing is the new stadium, a new city, and a great sellout crowd that we heard the whole game. Just to be back in a Breakers uniform and playing again in front of our fans and to get a win for them and score some goals, it’s a good day.” Captain Leslie Osborne talking about the Breakers 2012 home debut, a 4-1 win over FC Indiana.

“It was good getting my first goal for the Breakers. It’ll always be a memorable one, and my teammate from Australia set me up, so it was a good goal to get.” Midfielder Tameka Butt.

"I promised her one for Mother’s Day. It was her request. She said, ’don’t make a promise you can’t keep." Striker Kyah Simon after her game-winning goal in an exhibition match against DC United.

"In every game, everybody has their moments. They can score goals, make an important tackle, a save. Katie, every chance she gets to put us on the scoreboard, she does." Head Coach Lisa Cole on Katie Schoepfer’s two-goal performance in a 4-0 win over FC Indiana.

“For me to finally be on the field with the team in an official game was super fun, and we got the win.” Heather O’Reilly on her debut for the Breakers, a 2-0 win over the New York Fury.

“Honestly, I paid my dues for the first two years. I did ultimate practice player work, and I was there every day getting myself better. This year, I really committed myself in the offseason to doing fitness and getting myself into really good shape, work on my quickness and first touch.” Schoepfer on what led to her breakout season with the Breakers in 2012.

"Her pace, agility, and ability to play balls in was amazing and exactly what we needed. We needed that boost and that injection of pace up there, and she did it to a T, and to her credit, she was the main factor in our goal." Simon on Courtney Jones’ performance in a 1-0 win over the Chicago Red Stars. Jones assisted on Simon’s game-winning goal.

"It’s a pretty special night here for us. Project Pink is always such a special game for us because of the meaning behind it. Wearing pink and making a statement as professional athletes is huge, especially in the community here in Boston.” Osborne talking about Project Pink Night, a game in which the Breakers beat the Philadelphia Fever, 2-0.

"I love the fanbase. I was surprised how many of them drove out here. It was great to have their support today." Keeper Alice Binns on the fans who traveled to Rochester, N.Y., to see the Breakers beat the Flash and win the regular season title on the final day of the regular season.

"HAO, bring us home the gold," a Breakers fan shouting to Heather O’Reilly as she walked off the field following her sendoff match with the Breakers on July 6 against ASA Chesapeake Charge.

"I had such a great experience playing with the Breakers this year. Everything about the organization is top notch; everything is run very professionally. The fans and engagement from the community was very impressive, and the support the team received was extraordinary. I was very proud to wear Breakers blue this season. The club has something special." O’Reilly on her experience in Boston.

“I am like a proud mom when I talk about these girls because I have never been more proud of a team that I have been involved with in a coaching role." Schoepfer on the Acton-Boxboro U10 girls’ Strikers United team she coached during the offseason.

Leslie Osborne during the Breakers Project Pink game

A look at 2013: What does the future hold?
The Breakers will return to Dilboy Stadium in Somerville and this year will play in the newly formed professional league, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Lisa Cole is back as head coach, and rosters will start forming in the coming weeks. The inaugural NWSL Draft takes place Friday, Jan. 18, at the annual NSCAA Convention, which is held this year in Indianapolis. The NWSL season is slated to kick off in early spring 2013. We look forward to seeing you at Dilboy this spring and summer for what looks to be yet another exciting season of Boston Breakers soccer!

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