One returning Breaker and two newcomers landed in Boston this week and Wednesday had their first practice with the Breakers. Midfielder Heather O’Reilly, back from last year’s team, forward Sydney Leroux, and Canadian forward Adriana Leon joined up with the team to prepare for the upcoming National Women’s Soccer League season.
O’Reilly and Leroux recently arrived back in the U.S. after winning the 2012 Algarve Cup in Portugal with the U.S. Women’s National Team. Leon returned from Cyprus where the Canadian Women’s National Team reached the finals of the Cyprus Cup before narrowly losing to England. Canadian defender Rhian Wilkinson was expected to join the team Wednesday, but was held up after getting delayed by the recent snowstorm in Boston.
"I had a blast at training today. It was so good to see a lot of familiar faces, but also meet some new players as well," O’Reilly said. "I think it was a very high-energy session, so I’m pumped. I’m really excited about the season."
After Wednesday’s two-hour session held indoors at the Cohasset Sports Complex just outside of Boston, O’Reilly talked about what it’s like playing alongside a host of new players.
"I haven’t played with Lianne Sanderson; and Joanna Lohman, it’s been a while since I played with her, and they’re obviously real high-level players, so it’s fun to have players like that on your side after years of battling," O’Reilly said. "I’m really excited. I think that there is a space for women’s soccer in this country, and I’m just excited to be a part of it. I think there are a lot of positives about the NWSL, and I’m just looking forward to kicking it off."
Leroux arrived in Boston less than 24 hours before Wednesday’s training session, but came to work ready to go and looking forward to playing with her new team and in the new league.
"It was so cool," Leroux said about her first practice with the Breakers. "It was fun meeting the girls. It always takes a little time to see how they play, but I like playing with new faces. I think (the NWSL) is a huge step for women’s soccer, and for me, I’m happy to be in a different environment. And I’m really excited.
Leon drove into town Monday, and Wednesday marked the first time she had played alongside any of the members of the current Boston Breakers team.
"It felt like it was a little bit frantic because I hadn’t played with these girls before," Leon said after her first practice. "I was pretty excited and wasn’t really nervous. It was fun."
Leon earned her first cap for the senior Canadian National Team after previously starring for the Canadian U-20s. At the 2012 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Japan, Leon scored three goals in Canada’s first game of the tournament, a 6-0 win over Argentina.
The 20-year-old Leon earned her first cap with the senior team in January at the Four Nations Cup in China. In her first-ever appearance for her country at that level, Leon scored her first international goal in a 1-0 victory China. To date with Canada, Leon has seven caps and seven starts, most recently playing at the Cyprus Cup earlier this month.
"It was nice to get my first cap with Canada and to get my first goal in my first match. That was nice," Leon said. "We just returned from the Cyprus Cup, and that was a good experience. I learned a little bit and have lots to improve on. Overall, it was good."
The Breakers open the 2013 NWSL season April 14 at home - Dilboy Stadium in Somerville, Mass. - against the Washington Spirit.