Abby Wambach and Marta Vieira da Silva, more commonly referred to as Marta, are perhaps two of the most notable names in women’s soccer. Marta is, of course, the brilliant Brazilian striker who has not only been honored four times as FIFA Woman’s player of the year but is also the star forward for F.C. Gold Pride of Women’s Professional Soccer.
Wambach, a big, physical player with skill to match has been a mainstay on the United States Women’s National team for almost a decade. At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Abby scored the game winning goal in overtime against Brazil to help the U.S. win the gold medal.
Wambach is now enjoying her second stint with the Washington Freedom; 2002-2003 in the Women’s United Soccer Association and currently with Women’s Pro Soccer.
Tonight, Marta and Wambach will captain their respective teams in the second annual WPS-All-Star Game in Atlanta’s KSU Soccer Stadium, home of the expansion Atlanta beat.
Wambach and Marta were selected as captains by virtue of being the top two vote-getters in 2010 WPS All-Star voting. The All-Star coaches are Albertin Montoya of F.C. Gold Pride and Paul Riley of the Philadelphia Independence, who teams currently sit first and second in the league table here at the All-Star break.
Kudos and high fives to WPS for thinking outside the box on this one and going with an idea that I would love to see filter over to other professional sports.
The teams for tonight’s All-Star game were picked one player at a time by Marta and Wambach, much like we used to do back in grade school when we would pick teams for kick ball or tag.
Hey—rock, paper, scissors would have been pretty rad too.
Each side had just 30 seconds to make their selections. So as top vote getter Abby XI and Coach Riley went first and picked Atlanta Beat goalkeeper Hope Solo. Marta and Montoya then followed with the selection of Sky Blue keeper Karen Bardsley. Unfortunately, Bardsley was injured in a training session yesterday and had to be replaced by FC Gold Pride goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart.
After the keepers, the coaches and captains when through defenders, midfielders, and forwards sequentially.
In all there were 22 WPS All-Star starters voted on by media, coaches, players ,and fans with the All-Star reserves picked through coaches and commissioners selections.
If you are missing your daily dose of World Cup Soccer from South Africa and would like to see some of the World’s best women’s players then check out tonight’s All-Star game on Fox Soccer Channel or check your local listings. At Least you won’t have to listen to that annoying buzz of all those Vuvuzelas, although by now you are probably entranced by the noise.
I am the game day PA announcer for the Philadelphia Independence so I get to see these ladies play on a regular basis and trust me when I tell you their skill set is just as good as the men.
2010 WPS All-Stars
Abby XI (green/home; Abby Wambach – Captain, Paul Riley – Head Coach)
#1 – Hope Solo, GK, Atlanta Beat
#3 – Amy LePeilbet, D, Boston Breakers
#6 – Lori Lindsey, M, Philadelphia Independence
#7 – Shannon Boxx, M, FC Gold Pride
#8 – Tina Ellertson, D, Atlanta Beat
#9 – Eniola Aluko, F, Atlanta Beat
#10 – Heather O’Reilly, M, Sky Blue FC
#11 – Lauren Cheney, F, Boston Breakers
#17 – Lori Chalupny, M, Atlanta Beat
#20 – Abby Wambach, F, Washington Freedom
#84 – Cat Whitehill, D, Washington Freedom
#4 – Angie Kerr, M, Atlanta Beat
#14 – Karen Carney, M, Chicago Red Stars
#19 – Kelley O’Hara, F, FC Gold Pride
#21 – Laura Kalmari, M, Sky Blue FC
#66 – Tasha Kai, F, Sky Blue FC
#85 – Jillian Loyden, GK, Chicago Red Stars
Kate Markgraf, D, Chicago Red Stars (injured/not rostered)
Marta XI (white/away; Marta – Captain, Albertin Montoya – Head Coach)
#1 – Karen Bardsley, GK, Sky Blue FC
#3 – Allison Falk, D, Philadelphia Independence
#4 – Rachel Buehler, D, FC Gold Pride
#7 – Kelly Smith, M, Boston Breakers
#8 – Sonia Bompastor, M, Washington Freedom
#9 – Ramona Bachmann, F, Atlanta Beat
#10 – Marta, F, FC Gold Pride
#12 – Christine Sinclair, F, FC Gold Pride
#13 – Kristine Lilly, M, Boston Breakers
#14 – Brittany Taylor, D, Sky Blue FC
#24 – Aya Miyama, M, Atlanta Beat
#5 – Christie Rampone, D, Sky Blue FC
#11 – Becky Sauerbrunn, D, Washington Freedom
#17 – Amy Rodriguez, F, Philadelphia Independence
#18 – Erin McLeod, GK, Washington Freedom
#22 – Alex Scott, D, Boston Breakers
#78 – Cristiane, F, Chicago Red Stars
Caroline Seger, M, Philadelphia Independence (injured/not rostered)