(April 15, 2016) – The Boston Breakers are set to embark on their 11th season of professional soccer and first campaign under the direction of new head coach Matt Beard.
The Breakers open the 2016 National Women’s Soccer League season Saturday night at 7 p.m. ET on the road, taking on the Washington Spirit at the Maryland Soccerplex in Boyds, Md.
“As a coach of a new team it's always exciting to get underway so I can see exactly where we are as a team. For us, we are under no pressure. We've made many changes in the offseason, so it will take us a bit of time,” Beard said. “Washington is a team that has made the playoffs for the past two seasons and they are a team that hasn't made many changes, so I guess their new coach (Jim Gabarra) will be under a bit of pressure to get off to a good start and replicate their success over the past two seasons. We are going into the game looking to take maximum points, but we are all looking forward to getting started.”
The Spirit return several players from last year’s team that went 8-6-6, finished in fourth place, and landed in the NWSL playoffs for the second year running. They are led by 2015 NWSL MVP Crystal Dunn, who topped the league with 15 goals in 2015. The Spirit feature a few new acquisitions in 2016, including Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe and former Bayern Munich forward Katie Stengel.
The Breakers come into the match looking to replicate their success against the Spirit. The last time these two teams met, the Breakers took a 2-1 win at home, getting goals from Julie King and Kyah Simon, who both have returned to the club in 2016. In the only other meeting last year between Boston and Washington, the Breakers came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw on the road.
The new-look Breakers of 2016 not only feature a new head coach but also 10 new players, including U.S. Women’s National Team defender Whitney Engen, Swedish international Louise Schillgard, and goalkeeper Libby Stout. The trio previously played for Beard at Liverpool LFC.
Ten players returned to the Breakers for the 2016 season, including last year’s leading scorer Kristie Mewis (six goals), 2015 Breakers Rookie of the Year Stephanie McCaffrey (three goals, three assists), midfielder Katie Schoepfer, who is now in her sixth season with the Breakers, and defenders Kassey Kallman and Mollie Pathman, who both played every minute of every match last season.
Following Saturday’s match at Washington, the Breakers return to Boston to prepare for their home opener (April 24) against Seattle Reign FC. Tickets can be purchased by calling 617-945-1704 or by visiting www.breakerstickets.com.