America’s women’s pro-league, Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) kicks off its second season this weekend with eight teams from markets in the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, New Jersey/New York, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C.
The Washington Freedom opens the new season against the Boston Breakers on Saturday, while the defending WPS champion Sky Blue FC host the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday, which will be shown live on Fox Soccer Channel at 6 p.m. ET.
The Freedom will also share a doubleheader game with D.C. United at RFK stadium later in the year.
Two expansion teams from Atlanta and Philadelphia join the league this year, but there will be no Los Angeles Sol, which has folded due to money problems.
In May, the expansion Atlanta Beat will move into its new 8,300-seater stadium in Kennesaw, Georgia. FC Gold Pride will also be playing in renovated Pioneer Stadium in San Francisco’s East Bay.
WPS now has players from 19 different countries including first-time players from Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Holland and Germany, one of the sports powers.
Teams this season will play a 24-game regular season. The WPS All-Star Game will be in the mid-season, with the WPS Championship on September 26.
According to WPS commissioner Tonya Antonucci season ticket sales for returning teams is about twenty percent.
“In our Inaugural Season, we averaged over 4,600 fans and we hope to improve our attendance numbers by a modest 5-10% in 2010,” said Antonucci. “Nationally, we continue to look for key partners that want to make multi-year commitment to WPS. PUMA and the U.S. Coast Guard were important partners in 2009.”
Antonucci said the league could expand in 2011.
“As we look ahead to the future, WPS will embark on an expansion strategy for 2011 which could see as many as 2 markets join the league,” she said. ” With carefully planned growth – and a strong player pool to support that – along with our midseason countdown to the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany, the next few years look bright for the future of women’s soccer.”
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