Women’s Professional Soccer announced the First IX for August 30th’sAll-Star Game on Tuesday, but just four of the seven teams are represented.
Los Angeles led the way with four players selected: goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc, midfielders Camille Abily and Shannon Boxx and forward Marta.
The Boston Breakers placed defenders Amy LePeilbet and Alex Scott into the First IX alongside midfielder Kelly Smith, while Saint Louis Athletica also had three players selected with defender Tina Ellertson, midfielder Lori Chalupny and forward Eniola Aluko being honored.
Midfielder Sonia Bompastor of the Washington Freedom rounds out the First IX, who will be coached by Los Angeles Sol Head Coach Abner Rogers.
Sky Blue FC, FC Gold Pride and the Chicago Red Stars are not represented in the First IX, but with five players – Scott, Abily, Bompastor, Smithand Aluko – expected to miss the All-Star Game due to the 2009 European Championship, that will surely change.
It is crazy to think that only four teams represent the entire First IX. Granted, the three teams not represented are presently those in the fifth through seventh positions, but great players such as Megan Rapinoe, Cristiane, Lindsay Tarpley, Heather O’Reilly and Christine Sinclair were still neglected. Expect some of those names to pop up as positions open up due to the European Championship.
I am slightly surprised that Hope Solo was not selected as the top vote-getter for goalkeepers. Clearly some combination of the media,coaches and players were much more impressed with Karina LeBlanc sinceSolo was the most popular choice of any position for the fan votes.
Voting for the All-Stars was split equally between fans (25%), media (25%), coaches (25%) and players (25%).
With Alex Scott unavailable for the All-Star Game, we could see anotherLA Sol player added to the starting team in Stephanie Cox. It sounds ridiculous, but it is certainly possible. I voted for her.
It’s good to see Shannon Boxx in the First IX. Nobody has worked harder than her this season at being a midfielder that is absolutely everywhere. She fills her role as an attacking midfielder as she pushes forward, but will just as soon turn around and cover for a center back. Boxx rarely loses challenges, and her hard-nosed style is very fun to watch.
Even though she will not be able to attend the game, it’s great to see Eniola Aluko make the First IX. Abby Wambach would win in a straight popularity contest among fans, but the right choice was made in Aluko.
It’s going to be really interesting to see what the final 18-womanroster looks like. With only seven teams in the league and such high quality on all of them, I would be shocked if any team went unrepresented. Check back soon for updates on that.
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