NEWS FROM THE WUSA - April 29, 2004
Welcome to the latest edition of the WUSA.com newsletter! As the league gears up for this summer's WUSA Soccer Festivals and plans a return to full operations in 2005, we want to make sure all of our great fans are informed with regular updates. Rosters for the June WUSA Soccer Festivals are currently being finalized and will be announced soon. The WUSA.com newsletter will provide you with an inside scoop as to what's going on with the league. Here's a look at the latest news in the WUSA:
BRANDI CHASTAIN ADDED AS A GUEST PLAYER TO THE NEW YORK POWER FOR FIRST WUSA SOCCER FESTIVAL: Subscribers to the WUSA.com newsletter are hearing the news first, as San Jose CyberRays and U.S. national team standout Brandi Chastain is the newest addition to the New York Power roster for the WUSA Soccer Festival in Blaine, Minnesota the weekend of June 17-20.
All eight teams will be competing in the two weekend festivals. The world's best female soccer players will display their skills at the National Sports Center in Blaine the weekend of June 17-20 and at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California June 24-27. The matchups for the two venues follow:
National Sports Center - Blaine, Minnesota
Game 1 - Atlanta Beat vs. New York Power
Game 2 - Boston Breakers vs. Washington Freedom
The Home Depot Center - Carson, California
Game 1 - San Diego Spirit vs. Carolina Courage
Game 2 - Philadelphia Charge vs. San Jose CyberRays
Complete team rosters, including guest players, will be announced in May. All of the U.S. national team players currently in residency and select international stars will compete in the WUSA Soccer Festivals. Washington's Jim Gabarra, Atlanta's Tom Stone, San Jose's Ian Sawyers and Philadelphia's Mark Krikorian (now the head coach of the U.S. Under-19 women's team) are confirmed to manage their respective clubs. Announcements regarding other coaches will occur in May.
FESTIVAL TICKET INFORMATION: For ticket information, fans can click on http://www.ticketmaster.com and type in WUSA in the search box in the upper left corner or click on http://www.nscsports.org/soccer/sss.html or http://www.homedepotcenter.com/tickets/boxoffice.sps?iType=3903&icustompageid=6803.
WUSA FANS HELPING TO "KEEP THE DREAM ALIVE": WUSA fans continue to make a difference, as more than $100,000 have been pledged to the "Keep the WUSA Dream Alive" ticket fund initiative. It's a great start, but support is still needed for the league to reach the goal of $2.5 million per year for three consecutive years.
"We're pleased with the early support from the soccer community," said Tony DiCicco, chairman of the committee to re-launch the WUSA and the league's former commissioner. "But we still have a long way to go to reach our goal. Approximately 99 percent of the 250-plus pledges have come from individuals. The WUSA is creating a club challenge to encourage pledges from organizations, and we'll have full details on that soon."
WUSA supporters can log onto http://www.wusa.com/keepthedreamalive/ to learn how they can officially pledge their support by joining the "Keep the WUSA Dream Alive" ticket campaign.
AUGUSTYNIAKS ENJOYING GERMANY: As they wait for the return of the WUSA, Atlanta Beat defenders Nancy and Julie Augustyniak are enjoying life in a foreign land, as the twin sisters are currently playing for FFC Turbine Potsdam in the Frauen-Bundesliga, the top women's league in Germany. Turbine (14-1-0) is currently in second place behind FFC Frankfurt (15-0-1), the club led by WUSA stars Birgit Prinz (Carolina) and Sandra Minnert (Washington). Turbine and Frankfurt meet on the final day of the season, June 13, in Frankfurt. Nancy has played in six games for Turbine since the twins joined the team in mid-February, while sister Julie has registered four appearances, including one goal.
WUSA.com recently caught up with Nancy and Julie at their apartment in Potsdam to see how life in Germany was treating the two Beat defenders.
WUSA.com: How does playing in Germany compare to the WUSA?
Julie: Being here makes us look forward to the league coming back. It also makes me realize that I have so much more to give to the game. It is almost refreshing to me. I am ready to get back and prepare for next season. Soccer is very different over here. People have different priorities than we have. We are used to making a living with soccer, whereas these girls have other commitments. Very rarely do we have a week of practice with the entire team.
Nancy: It doesn't really compare to playing in the WUSA! I don't mean to be negative, but you really can't even compare the two. The training is good, as far as technical work goes. But it is not very professional. Most of the girls on the team are younger; therefore, almost all of them are in school. When they are not in school then they are working. We very rarely have everyone at practice. It's a lot more laid back and not as competitive here in Germany. In the WUSA, the last place team could easily beat the first place team. All the teams in WUSA were high-level teams. It makes me realize what we had with the WUSA. You won't find that anywhere else in the world ... the best players in the world in one country, in one league.
WUSA.com: What do you like best about living in Germany ... from a lifestyle/culture standpoint?
Julie: I have always wanted to live in Europe and I have always wanted to play soccer in Europe so this was a perfect opportunity for us. We didn't come here just for soccer though. We came here to learn about the history and culture of another country. Germany is centrally located so we are also able to explore other countries. Potsdam is very different from the rest of Germany. I love the history in this city. We are constantly discovering new places in Potsdam and Berlin. Learning about World War II and actually seeing a church that to this day is destroyed as a result of a bomb is just amazing to me. Life is very simple here.
Nancy: Like Julie said, it is very simple and laid back here compared to a big city like Atlanta. I love the fact that everyone rides bikes or walks everywhere. We are living in one of the oldest towns in Europe. There are palaces, gardens, and churches everywhere. I love learning about the history of this town.
WUSA.com: What's the best place you have gone to for sightseeing?
Nancy: I'd have to say Amsterdam, because we went on a canal ride, which by the way was the best way to see everything. We also visited the Anne Frank House. It was amazing. I had to read the book and watch the video growing up, so to actually see where she and her family were hiding out was very moving. We've been to Amsterdam, Nuremburg, Hamburg, Bitburg and we are going to Prague this weekend (May 1-2).
Julie: Potsdam and the Park Sanssouci in Potsdam. It is a park with bike paths that lead to palaces, a windmill, greenhouses, gardens, and fountains. There are always people enjoying the weather and surroundings at Sanssouci (which means French for without worries).
For the complete interview with Nancy and Julie Augustyniak, click on http://www.wusa.com/press_room/424391.html
PICK THE NEW WUSA SLOGAN AT WUSA.COM: Soccer fans can select the WUSA Soccer Festival slogan at http://www.wusa.com. Just go to the poll in the bottom right corner and pick your favorite one!