TAMPA, Fla. - United Soccer Leagues announced Friday the local contingent of players with ties to Florida, including those from the W-League Tampa Bay Hellenic and Bradenton Academics, who will be participating in the upcoming inaugural USL W-League Combine that will give the players an opportunity to showcase their abilities for WPS and other coaches and scouts. The local schedule details were also announced for the event, which will take place at the Ed Radice Sports Complex in Tampa, FL September 4-7.
Seven of the 11 local players selected to participate in the USL W-League Combine were players from the first-year Tampa Bay Hellenic, who helped guide the team to a third-place finish in the nine-team Atlantic Division behind established perennial powers the Atlanta Silverbacks and Charlotte Lady Eagles. The expansion side finished the season with a record of 8-4-2 with the highlight being a 0-0 draw against Atlanta that proved to the only missed points of the season for the Silverbacks, who finished with a record of 13-0-1 and scored 50 goals in their other 13 contests. Stacy Bishop was honored as a W-League All-Conference selection by the Eastern Conference’s coaches and general managers. The Hellenic play at the Combine location Ed Radice Soccer Complex.
Player – Position – Hometown – College
Tampa Bay Hellenic Players
Stacy Bishop – Midfielder – Land O’Lakes, FL – Florida / LSU
Melanie Booth – Defender – Burlington, ON – Florida
Morgan Church – Midfielder – Hagerstown, MD – Marshall / Berry
Shana Hudson – Defender – Palm Harbor, FL – Florida
Rhonda Jones – Midfielder – Newarthill, Scotland – Florida Atlantic
Alicia Tirelli – Forward – Brandon, FL – Florida Atlantic
Staci Wilson – Midfielder – Herndon, VA – North Carolina
Bradenton Academics Players
Shannon Aitken – Goalkeeper – Land O’Lakes, FL – Tampa
Emilie Howland – Midfielder – Bradenton, FL – Jacksonville
FC Indiana Lionesses Players
Alicia Milyak – Midfielder – Winter Park, FL – Rollins
Additional Tampa / Florida area participants
Jenni Manis – Goalkeeper – Orlando, FL – Auburn
Open House Day set for Saturday, September 6
On Saturday, September 6th, the USL W-League Combine will hold an Open House Day in which fans and media will be welcome to attend the event to watch up to four scrimmage games and interact with future professional women’s soccer stars. The Open House will be held at the Ed Radice Soccer Complex where the first set of games will begin at 2:00 pm ET and conclude at 8:00. Players will be available for media and fans following each scrimmage. USL and WPS executives and coaches will also be available to media.
Prior to the Open House, combine participants will gather at the Mainsail Suites Hotel and Conference Center where WPS representatives will be presenting an Open Meeting to players, who are hoping to be drafted into the new league set to launch in 2009.
Following the WPS presentation there will be a special invitation-only luncheon hosted by the local Tampa Bay UBS Financial Services branches. The luncheon will provide Tampa Bay area UBS clients and their daughters an opportunity to listen to special guest and combine participant Jill Oakes. Oakes will be speaking about her experiences as a female soccer player at its various level including her time in the W-League, with the United States Women’s National Team and in collegiate soccer.
Other W-League select players will be present at the luncheon where they will interact with lunch guests and be available for autographs and photos. Players involved include W-League Most Valuable Player Sarah Steinmann (Atlanta Silverbacks), 2008 W-League Championship team member Leah Tapscott (Pali Blues) and 2008 W-League Championship runner-up team members Lauren Sesselmann and Julianne Sitch (FC Indiana Lionesses). Local Hellenic star Rhonda Jones will also be at the luncheon.
“We are very excited about the support and interest that UBS has in the 2008 USL W-League Combine,” said Director of W-League Operations, Melanie Fitzgerald. “Their involvement with the combine is a great example of how the experiences of top female athletes can be personally shared with aspiring young women, which in turn they will apply that knowledge to their life endeavors. The experience they are creating for girls in the Tampa Bay area will remain with them forever and will continue to help in the building process for women’s soccer.”
“UBS is very excited to partner with the W-League of United Soccer Leagues in Tampa,” said William M Saunderson, Jr. Senior Vice President-Investments Deputy Branch Manager of the UBS Tampa Branch. “We are privileged to be a part of the showcase of exceptional women athletes, which in turn provides a forum where stellar athletes and our clients and daughters are brought together. We hope the result is a unique and impactful experience that highlights the qualities required to be successful and competitive not only at the highest level of USL but also in the business environment.”
Upon conclusion of the lunch UBS clients and their daughters will join W-League Combine participants at the Ed Radice Soccer Complex for the day’s scrimmages.
Open House Day Details
Where: Ed Radice Sports Complex (North Tampa)
When: Saturday, September 6th
Time: 2:00PM ET to 8:00PM ET
Who: Combine participants, USL Executives, WPS representatives
For more information: www.uslsoccer.com/wcombine