By Matthew Osterhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
Flagler College is hosting some of the best teams, players and coaches in women’s soccer.
The Atlanta Beat, an expansion team in Women’s Professional Soccer, will play the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team on March 19 at 7 p.m.
The Beat will also play the Boston Breakers, another WPS team, on March 23 at 7 p.m.
Flagler Field Complex will host both matches, and both matches are free to the public.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said John Lynch, head coach of the Flagler men’s soccer team.
“I mean how often do you get to have a professional team use your facilities and play on [them], and allow the players, and the student athletes, and even just the regular students, a chance to see some of the best talent in the world, for free.”
Flagler women’s soccer head coach, Teddy Meyer, is also excited. He sees it as a great opportunity for his players, and the local community, to observe the highest level of women’s soccer.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” Meyer said.
Lynch orchestrated the showcase.
Lynch knows Gareth O’Sullivan, head coach of the Beat, and invited the team to train at Flagler and stay in St. Augustine. The Beat will be in town from March 18 through March 23 and train for the upcoming season at Flagler facilities. The Breakers and the U.S. Under-20 WNT will come on their match days.
Jud Damon, Flagler Athletic Director, understands the magnitude of the showcase.
“It’s fantastic for us to have an opportunity to bring in athletes of this caliber and teams of this caliber,” Damon said.
WPS begins its second season of play on April 10. The league boasts America’s best players and a pool of top international talent. WPS rosters represent nearly all professional players who are eligible to play for the U.S. national team.
The Breakers have Lauren Cheney, Stephanie Cox, Amy LePeilbet, Kristine Lilly, and Leslie Osborne from the U.S. Women’s Player Pool (players eligible to play for the WNT). Cheney, Cox, LePeilbet, and Lilly are on the current WNT roster.
Lilly is one of the most successful female soccer players in U.S. soccer history. She is the world’s all time appearance leader and played in 5 World Cups for the WNT. She has been a key member of the WNT for over twenty years.
Tony DiCicco coaches the Breakers and is the most successful coach in U.S. soccer history.
DiCicco had a 103-8-8 record as coach of the WNT, the most wins for any coach in U.S. soccer. While coaching Lilly, his team famously won the 1999 World Cup against China in front of over 90,000 fans at the Rose Bowl, the largest crowd for any women’s sports event in history.
Yet DiCicco will be the coaching at Flagler Field Complex on March 23.
Lynch, Meyer and Damon are encouraging students to come watch the matches. The showcase could become an annual affair.
“I would encourage anybody that has any interest in soccer at all, or professional sports, to check it out,” Lynch said.