Women’s Professional Soccer is set to announce details on its mid-season All-Star Game in the coming days and early reports indicate that the league is set to do something different than anything that has ever been seen out of any previous all-star games in any sport.
The unique format would keep alive the tradition of soccer being a game that can be played anywhere and anytime in an All-Star Game that will have the charm of a pick-up game but with some of the best stars in the world. Early word is that this year’s All-Star Game, which would be in the Atlanta Beat’s brand new stadium, would feature the 36 best players in the league (18 on each team).
Those players would be voted on as they were last year, but the highest international vote-getter and the highest domestic vote-getter would serve as the two team captains and teams would be picked by those two players in along with the top two coaches. This would happen the day before the All-Star Game in a true playground style pick-up game spirit balanced with the glamor of the best players in WPS converging on one field.
With all of the all-star gimmicks that we have seen out of different sports leagues (including Major League Baseball actually putting something as serious as World Series home field advantage on the line), I truly thought we had seen it all. However, this idea is not only refreshing, but charmingly unique and should generate considerable buzz as fans, media and players alike anxiously wait to see how players will line up right up until the day before the match, which will take place on June 30.
In 2009, the WPS All-Stars took on Swedish side Umeå IK, with the league all-stars prevailing by a score of 4-2. That format was again considered along with several others, but it is safe to say that this unique pick-up game format that WPS is going with is the best option.
Here are the other ideas that were kicked around:
WPS All-Star Team vs. club team
WPS All-Star Team vs. national team
Northeast (Boston, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Washington) vs South/West (Chicago, Saint Louis, FC Gold Pride, Atlanta)
Coastal (Boston, Washington, FC Gold Pride, Chicago) vs. Inland (Philadelphia, Saint Louis, New Jersey, Atlanta)
Americas (U.S., Canada, Brazil) vs. Rest of the World (Europe, Australia, Japan)
Naturally, some of these ideas were not considered for very long. The first two of those options are predictable, and trying to break the league up into geographic regions is impossible with the current East Coast-heavy layout (it seems the league realizes that too). The Americas vs. Rest of World option also seems like a blowout waiting to happen with so much talent in the U.S., Canada and Brazil, though it could be an interesting showdown.
So, WPS deserves two thumbs up for what is expected to be announced soon: The first for putting this showcase event in the premier stadium in the league in Atlanta and the second for a unique, crafty format.
|7 Comments… read them below or post one|
|I absolutely love the captain choosing pickup game idea. I can’t wait to see it.|
|It’s great to see all of the excitement surrounding the All-Star Game. To address some of the concerns in the comments: The inland/coastal thing is just a reason why breaking things up geographically would not work. It was just an idea tossed around briefly. The national team is not necessarily the United States. That just means a (any) national team. Los Angeles is a great idea, but I think it would be best for the league to save that for when a team gets back in the market (2011?). Plus, the reaction of LA fans could be risky. Is there animosity to the point where fans would not come en mass for the ASG? Atlanta’s stadium holds over 8,000. – Jeff|
|I love the pick ’em playground style All Start game idea.|
|All of those ideas sound great! I would love to see WPS vs. national team, but that would be a little weird because isn’t all of the national team doing double duty in WPS? My top pick would be northeast vs. southwest and americas vs. rest of the world.|
|Hey Antonucci, Atlanta gets home games as a WPS town.., why not go with the Home Depot Center for this All Star gig? It’s not the fans fault we lost the Sol. Throw us a bone here WPS. We gave ya 15,000 fans in your inaugural season opener. What does that New Atlanta Stadium hold?|
|NJ became inland right about when Chicago became coastal.|
|Since when is NJ inland?|