Quotes of the year from Women’s Professional Soccer

Throughout the 2010 Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) season, Our Game Magazine writers had a chance to interview a number of players and coaches. Here are some of the more memorable quotes from the season.

Minutes after the Boston Breakers selected Lauren Cheney in the 2010 WPS Draft, the Breakers forward talked about the atmosphere inside the the draft room in Philadelphia: “It’s really cool to see this many soccer fans in one room. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen something like this before.”

Following Boston’s first preseason exhibition match in March against Boston College, defender Alex Scott talked about what it was like to play with some of her new teammates: “With all the new faces, it’s like being at your first day of school again.”

In April, WPS fans helped to launch a #KL13 campaign on Twitter, trying to get Kristine Lilly, who wears number 13, to sign up for Twitter. “I think once she gets into it, it’ll be her and baby Sydney’s thing, and they’ll enjoy doing it,” Alex Scott said. “But last year, we tried to get her onto Facebook, and we were showing her the whole Facebook site thing, and she got excited by that, and she was like, “Soon I’m going to be Facing. So we (were) laughing about that.” (For the record, Lilly still does not have a Twitter account).

Philadelphia’s Amy Rodriguez on her return to Boston when the Independence played the Breakers in April: “It felt a little weird at first, but I’m happy to be here. I think I still have just as many fans now as I did last year.”

In late April in St. Louis, the Athletica hosted the Breakers. St. Louis also hosted a number of intense storms, some that spawned tornadoes and forced the Breakers off the practice field. “Oh my gosh,” Breakers midfielder Chioma Igwe said. “Everybody just wanted to go out and play, and midway through, you look up at the sky and it was so dark. Pretty scary.”

“We joke with them that they got us into the playoffs last year,” Yael Averbuch said while playing for Sky Blue FC last year, talking about the Boston Breakers and how Boston’s loss on the last day of the 2009 regular season put Sky Blue FC into the playoffs.

“It was a shock,” said Lindsay Tarpley right after her former team, the Saint Louis Athletica folded. “Unfortunately it happened, but I think the most important thing now is to look forward and to continue to build and help women’s soccer grow.”

Breakers midfielder Kelly Smith talking about teammate Jordan Angeli winning WPS Player of the Month for July:  “(Jordan’s) fully deserved it to be honest. She’s probably been one of our better players. Her first season, too, she’s really come into this and taken the opportunity and taken it with both hands, which is what she wants.”

“We never really fully recovered from losing Leslie Osborne,” Boston Head Coach Tony DiCicco said after the 2010 WPS season. Osborne broke her collarbone Aug. 15 and missed the final six games of the season.

Chioma Igwe on her first impression of Tiffany Weimer: “I thought absolutely obnoxious, and I’m not joking you. Yeah, I couldn’t stand her for a while. She’s just sarcastic. I didn’t like her at first. She slowly grew on me, and now we’re best friends, and I love her to death. And I laugh at her humor now.”

Breakers’ defender Alex Scott talking about the controversial overtime goal by Philadelphia’s Danesha Adams in the WPS Super Semifinal: “Hand all the way. It went over her head. I was right behind her, and I couldn’t believe the ref didn’t see it. Even her teammates weren’t celebrating because it was so obvious … It’s hard for refs anyways. They get a lot of criticism. They try to do their best.”

Adams’ response: “No, it did not. It did not hit my hand. It hit the side of my head. My hand was up because I was protecting myself from hitting the post. No one cheered (when I scored). No one did anything, so I kind of looked around. I was like, ‘Did it go in the goal, did it not?’”

Philadelphia forward Amy Rodriguez on the goal: “It went off her head, and it was an awesome goal. It was kind of anticlimactic because we scored but the crowd was silent.”

Philadelphia Head Coach Paul Riley also talked about the goal: “I had no idea. I just wondered why everyone had stopped and did something Twilight Zone or something like that. I was wondering why everyone went so quiet. It looked like a header to me.”

Riley talking about what his team would need to do to stop FC Gold Pride forward Marta in the WPS Championship: “I think we try and trip her in the elevator on the way to the game, or we slash her tires on the way to the game. That’s the only way we can stop her. I don’t know if there is a way to stop her to be honest with you. I almost think that at this level, she is unstoppable. She is that good. In the men’s game you’ve got a lot of top players, but in the women’s game, you’ve got a player like Marta, she’s on a different level, just a different level. ”

Riley talking about the endurance of his team following the two 120-minute playoff games: “I tell you what, we told them on March 1 that we were going to be the fittest team in the league, we’ll train the most in the league, and you’re going to hate me and you’re going to loathe me, you’re going to loathe Mike (Demakis) our strength and conditioning guy, but hopefully if we’re playing on Sept. 26, then you’ll see.”

FC Gold Pride defender/midfielder Niki Cross talking about playing with Marta: “It’s unbelievable how quick she plays, her skills. You just see some passes and it’s like, ‘How did you do that. There was no room for any ball to get through and you pulled it off.’ That was probably one of the best experiences to play with her. It definitely gives you some confidence. You stop her once, and then she beats you nine times. Her footwork is phenomenal.”

Boston did have its share of chances with the score tied, 1-1. In the 113th minute, Kasey Moore, who came on in the second overtime for Kelly Smith, hit the crossbar from 25 yards out. The rebound fell right in front of Philadelphia keeper Val Henderson. Scott was right there, but misfired on the rebound and Henderson scrambled to clear it out of danger.

Boston captain Kristine Lilly talked after the game about how the Breakers fought back from a nine-game winless streak at the beginning of the season and made a miraculous run to finish second in the WPS standings.

“We just kept going, kept fighting. We weren’t playing bad, we just weren’t finishing,” Lilly said. “Even today, we had these chances. We just couldn’t find the back of the net. But we played with heart. We fought. And that’s all you can ask.”

Lilly assisted on Lauren Cheney’s 22nd minute goal that put Boston on top, 1-0. After Boston midfielder Jordan Angeli collided with Philadelphia’s Lianne Sanderson at midfield, the ball slid ahead to Lilly, who lofted it to Cheney. Cheney easily outmuscled Allison Falk, took advantage of Henderson coming off her line, and hit it off the underside of the crossbar and into the net.

But seven minutes later, Philadelphia equalized. DiMartino played a ball to Rodriguez at the top of the box. Rodriguez pushed it off to her right where Seger stood at the top right corner of the area and hit a low driven shot far post to beat Naeher.

Boston controlled the run of play in the first half and for a good portion of the second. The team also benefited from two wide open goal misses from Rodriguez.

“For much of the game today, I thought we were the better team,” Boston Head Coach Tony DiCicco said. “They (Independence) came out in that first overtime with a boost of energy and outplayed us and got that opportunity. We weren’t carrying the play like we were in the second half.”

Both DiCicco and Riley said this game would’ve been much different with Leslie Osborne on the field. The Breakers holding midfielder broke her collarbone back on Aug. 15 against Sky Blue FC.

“She’s a big player for them,” Riley said. “I don’t think they’ve been the same team the last four or five games without Osborne in the lineup, and I think that was a big loss for them.”

“We never really fully recovered from losing Leslie Osborne,” DiCicco said. “We took our second leading scorer (Angeli) and had to put her in Leslie’s position.”

The Independence, after playing two 120-minute playoff games, now travel to Hayward, Calif., to take on FC Gold Pride in the WPS Championship. The game is Sunday, which doesn’t give the Independence a lot of time to rest and recover from two overtime games.

“We told them on March 1 that we were going to be the fittest team in the league, and you’re going to hate me and you’re going to loathe me but hopefully we’ll be playing. Sept. 26,” Riley said, adding that containing Marta won’t be easy by any means. “I don’t know if there’s a way to stop her to be honest with you. We’ve tried everything. We’ll just have to figure out plan C. We’ve tried everything to stop her. I think at this level, she is unstoppable. She is that good.”

Breakers notebook: Following the game, Lilly was asked if she would come back to play next season. She said if she feels fit enough to play, she’ll more than likely return. She also said that she hadn’t played 120 minutes in a game since the 1999 World Cup … Kelly Smith played the longest game of her WPS career, logging 110 minutes. Kasey Moore came on for Smith, who limped off the field and later had ice wrapped around her ankle … Boston used three subs, Moore for Smith, Laura del Rio for Stephanie Cox, and Taryn Hemmings for Fabiana. Philadelphia used all three subs, Danesha Adams for Lianne Sanderson, Heather Mitts for Fridur Magnusdottir, and Kelly Henderson for Amy Rodriguez … Philadelphia Head Coach Paul Riley joked after the game on how to stop Marta in the WPS Championship. “I think we try and trip her in the elevator on the way to the game, or we slash her tires on the way to the game. That’s the only way we can stop her. I don’t know if there is a way to stop her to be honest with you.” … Prior to the game, the Breakers supporters group The Riptide presented Jordan Angeli with their Player of the Year Award, which went to Kelly Smith in 2009 … Thursday’s attendance was 2,676.

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About Ryan Wood

An avid Chelsea supporter, Ryan Wood is a Boston-based journalist and a sports editor for GateHouse Media New England. Follow him on twitter @writerwood.

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