Saturday, September 20, 2008

Chicago Debut for Red Stars, Sort Of...

The three members of the U.S. Women's National Team that were allocated to the Chicago Red Stars of the WPS -- Kate Markgraf, Lindsay Tarpley and Carli Lloyd -- will play in front of their new hometown fans for the first time tonight since being assigned to the club last Tuesday in NYC. The three players, seen above with Red Stars head coach Emma Hayes and WPS co-owner Steve Nash (you might know him from the two NBA MVP awards on his mantel), will all be starting tonight at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., against Ireland at 7 p.m. live on's MatchAccess. Shannon Boxx will captain the USA tonight as she will be honored before the match for her 100th cap, earned during the Olympic quarterfinal match against Canada. While this will be Boxx' 105th career cap, it will be her 100th career start. Here's the U.S. lineup:

USA: 1-Hope Solo; 17-Lori Chalupny, 3-Christie Rampone, 15-Kate Markgraf, 2-Heather Mitts; 16-Angela Hucles, 7-Shannon Boxx – Capt., 11-Carli Lloyd, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 5-Lindsay Tarpley, 6-Natasha Kai.

Lindsay Tarpley, who sat out last game when she was a bit sick, is getting the start at withdrawn forward underneath Natasha Kai, who has scored in both of the Achieve Your Gold matches so far.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Gold Medal Redux

Missed the 2008 Olympic women's soccer gold medal game? Forgot to set your DRV on Aug. 21? Well, you are in luck. The gold medal match will be rebroadcast on Saturday, Sept. 20, at 8 p.m. ET on Universal Sports Network. Click here to see if this channel is available in your area. It's the same time as the MatchAccess web stream of the USA-Ireland game from Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., so we suggest watching the Ireland match live on your laptop and then DVRing the gold medal game. Remember it went to overtime so set it for 120+ minutes, not 90!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ChicagoLand Arrival

The U.S. Women's National Team has arrived in Chicago for the final match of its three-game series against Ireland, taking place at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., on Saturday, Sept. 20. Kickoff is 7:00 p.m. CT. (Tickets!) The U.S. team last played in Chicago on Aug. 12, 2007, at Soldier Field, a 6-1 victory over New Zealand prior to the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup. The U.S. players will surely be motivated to put on a better performance than the one-goal victory over the Irish on Wed. at Giants Stadium and Toyota Park has seen some WNT success in the past. The USA beat China, 4-1, there in August of 2007.

Soccer Girls Season Finale

This year was preparation for one goal: WIN GOLD. In the season finale of “Soccer Girls,” the series of WNT webisodes, the U.S. team tries to overcome some serious adversity to gain the ultimate prize and make it back to the top of the Olympic medal stand. Check it out U.S. Soccer’s MySpace Page (click on video tab) and be part of something really real.

No One Shall Wear 5 at Nerinx

Lori Chalupny got a very special honor on Sept. 9, getting her #5 high school jersey retired by Nerinx Hall HS. If you are a fan of Chalupny, you know that Nerinx Hall has a bit of an odd's a Marker. What's a Marker you ask? Well, it's actually quite clever as the stands for "mark of excellence" as in the young women who graduate from NHHS go on to put their mark of excellence on the world. Chalupny also got a Woman of Excellence Award from the high school, spoke to students at an assembly and signed autographs. The jersey retirement was nice moment for Chalupny for many reasons, but one was that she missed quite a bit of school during her youth national team career, something that the teachers and administrators shall we say...not pleased about. But hey, how could they have known they had an Olympic gold medalist in their midst? Long story short, this is one Marker who has definitely put her mark of excellence on the soccer world. By the way, Chalupny might be able to run for Mayor of St. Louis pretty soon. She was just allocated to the WPS club in St. Louis and on Sept. 8 did an autograph signing at a local Soccer Master store. The signing was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and apparently people started arriving at 5 p.m. The line would eventually stretch down the street and around the building. Lori didn't stop signing until nearly 10 p.m.! No wonder the fans in St. Louis love her!

Busy Day of Role Modeling for O'Reilly

Heather with the U.S. U-17 Women's National Team

We imagine most soccer moms out there would like to their daughters to grow up to be like Heather O'Reilly, a fantastic representive of women's soccer and the WNT, both on the field and off. Heather took time out from her (not so) busy day to chat with the U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team, which is training in New Jersey in preparation for the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup taking place in October in New Zealand. O'Reilly talked about her experiences with the youth National Teams, her journey to the senior side and what it takes to win a world championship. She should know, she's got three of them. Before the match at Giants Stadium, O'Reilly took some time to chat with some young ladies from her former club, PDA, who were serving as ball girls. We are sure they will be coming to watch her play with the Sky Blue FC in the new WPS. Moral of the story: It's all about the kids, who now have female role models to look up to and careers in sports to aspire to.

Heather with the the young ladies from her former club, PDA

Hi Razzles

Heather O'Reilly and Angela Hucles were followed on Fox & Friends by several birds whose owners were promoting, so the two players shared the green room with what we think was a yellow-headed Amazonian parrot. His name was Razzles. Truth be told, Razzles was quite talented, able to talk, sing and dance. He didn't even mind taking a pic with Heather and Angela. Razzles, can you say gold medal?

Top of the Rock

After the morning shows and before the WPS event, the players had a chance to visit Top of the Rock for some publicity pictures. The Top of the Rock is the observation deck on top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, which is home to NBC in New York. The view is simply stunning. 70 stories above New York City is not a place for those Acrophobiacs out there, but the 360˚ degree view of this famous island has to be one of the most amazing sights in the United States. The players had certainly had fun, as did other tourists up there who got a gander at their gold medals. Special thanks to the folks at Top of the Rock, who were extremely accommodating and friendly. There was, however, an incident with a massive and highly aggressive moth. Who knew moths flew at that altitude? But that's a whole other Blog entry...

Good Morning NYC

The day before the match at Giants Stadium, a few women's National Team players hit Manhattan to do two morning shows. Heather O'Reilly and Angela Hucles appeared on Fox & Friends while Christie Rampone, Heather Mitts, Carli Lloyd and Abby Wambach (who is walking just fine) appeared on the NBC Today Show to talk about the Olympic gold medal victory, the Achieve Your Gold Tour and the start of the WPS, the new women's professional soccer league. Even though a few of the players didn't quite have the correct footwear to kick soccer balls on the streets of New York (the players were dressed pretty nice as they were going from the morning shows to the WPS allocation event), they still managed to pull off a few tricks and kicks. (Hey, you know you are a pro if you can play soccer in heels). For Wambach, it was her first major TV appearance since breaking her leg on July 16. The Wambach update is that she's feeling great, continuing her rehab and looking forward to when she can start doing some running. She should be 100% ready to go by the start of the WPS season next spring, and perhaps ready for some National Team training even earlier.

Heather and Angela juggle with Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade, a former college soccer player and current youth coach. Kilmeade kicked off his dress shoes, but O'Reilly kept on her pointy heels.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Allocation Tuesday

It's a big Tuesday for the U.S. Women's National Team players and the Women's Professional Soccer League as their allocations to the WPS clubs will be announced during a 12:30 p.m. event at the Sports Museum of America in Manhattan. Who is going where? Is Hope Solo or Heather O'Reilly coming to a city near you? You'll have to wait until 12:30 p.m. ET (9:30 a.m. PT) to find out. Fans can follow the allocation online at The team will practice in the afternoon at Giants Stadium, getting a workout on the turf, in their one training before facing Ireland on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Fans can follow that match on's MatchTracker.

TAO Time

Today was a day off from training for the WNT players and many spent part or most of the day in New York City, doing a little shopping or just hanging out. In the evening, the whole squad met at TAO, one of the hottest restaurants in NYC and certainly a favorite of the WNT, which also celebrated the 2004 Olympic gold medal there. The players gorged themselves on the Asian-fusion cuisine, including such delicacies as Crispy Lobster and Shrimp Dumplings in Ginger Jiang Kong Sauce, Wasabi Crusted Filet Mignon with Tempura of Onion Rings and Buddhas Harmonized Vegetable Feast for Minor Gods. That was some good eatin'. And surely an Asian restaurant was appropriate after winning the Olympics in China?

Bell Ringing

It was a brutal day in the financial world, and NYC -- the financial center of the world (well, at least the USA), was hit hard. But we hope it was just a coincidence that a bunch of WNT players rang the opening bell at the NASDAQ in the morning and a bunch more rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange in the afternoon. Well, hopefully a few women's soccer gold medalists put a smile on people's faces for just a little while. Long story short, if the WNT was a stock, now would be a good time to buy. Of course, the best time to buy would have been after the USA lost to Norway in the opening game of the Olympics. If you made that investment, you are certainly golden now.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


You think the drive from Philly to New Jersey is time for naps, listening to iPods, talking on cell phones and reading magazines? Not for Pia Sundhage. She found that the 90-minute drives was the perfect opportunity to watch the USA's match against Ireland from the night before on her laptop. The Irish certainly put in a plucky performance, but the Americans could have scored a few more goals for sure if it weren't for the heroics of Ireland goalkeeper Emma Byrne. The task gets a bit tougher on Wednesday night as the match will be played on the turf of Giants Stadium.

On the road again...

After the 2-0 win over Ireland last night in Philadelphia, the U.S. team boarded a bus this morning for an easy 90-minute ride to New Jersey. As the U.S. team arrived at the hotel near Giants Stadium, the New England Patriots were boarding their team buses for their match-up against the Jets this afternoon. Favre vs. Matt Cassel? You make the call. The lobby was a bit of a mess with fans and gawkers, but the players passed right through to grab lunch and then relax in their rooms a bit before heading into New York City tonight where the squad will attend some Broadway Shows. About half the team is going to Mama Mia and the other is going to The Lion King, including Christie Rampone and her three-year-old daughter Rylie, who is known to be a Lion King fanatic.