The popularity of women's soccer has exploded in America, especially since the U.S. team defeated China in a thrilling final game of the 1999 Women's World Cup. Largely based on that popularity, a new Women's Professional Soccer League is enjoying a successful first season.
Teams: Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Gold Pride (plays in San Jose, Calif.), Los Angeles Sol, Saint Louis Athletica, Sky Blue FC (plays in New Jersey), Washington Freedom.
Marta, Los Angeles Sol - One of the best players in the world, Marta was named the World Player of the Year three times during her international career in Brazil. Through five matches, she had three goals for Los Angeles.
Kelly Smith, Boston Breakers - A strong British forward, Smith finished second behind Marta two times for World Player of the Year. Through five matches with Boston, she had four goals and one assist.
Sarah Walsh, Sky Blue FC - An Australian forward, Walsh was selected in the first round of the Women's Pro Soccer League international draft. Through five matches she had a goal and an assist for the New Jersey team.
Lindsay Tarplay, Chicago Red Stars - A midfielder from Michigan, Tarplay has enjoyed a lot of soccer success. In college she helped lead the University of North Carolina to a National Championship in 2003 and won a gold medal with the United States in the 2008 Olympics. Through five games for Chicago, she had two goals and an assist.
Tiffany Weimer, FC Gold Pride - A forward, Weimer is also a member of the U.S. National team. She had a standout college career at Penn State and had a goal and three assists through six games with the Gold Pride.
Abby Wambach, Washington Freedom - Wambach was a forward on the 2004 U.S. Olympic team that won the gold medal and has been one of Washington's leading scorers. She had two goals and two assists through the Freedom's first five matches.
Regular Season and Playoffs: Each team plays a 20-game season leading up to the playoffs. The playoffs are three rounds and take place from August 15-22.
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