There’s a lot of athletic prowess in Boston. Ted Williams, Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Bobby Orr, Tom Brady and that’s just a handful. The list goes on and on. In fact, why don’t I go on? I think I have the right to being a Bostonian (now stuck without a WPS team in sight over on the West Coast — HELLO!?!?).
It was just a couple years back where David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox was honored by his club’s management and ownership as “the most clutch hitter in Red Sox history.” Hard to argue that — ask any Yankees fan and they know that to be true.
How about current Boston Celtics captain Paul Pierce? A solid player in the NBA for years, now with a championship under his belt, along with the NBA Finals MVP award, he’s referred to as a future hall of famer and certainly taking a spot in the rafters with his No. 34 jersey.
Tom Brady was already mentioned in the short list above, along with his fellow immortals of the Boston sports landscape. However, in fact, on Monday, Brady’s predecessor, Drew Bledsoe, was just voted on by the fans to become a member of the New England Patriots Hall of Fame — an honor that shows Bledsoe’s stature in the greater Boston area.
Later this week, another Boston sports star will be honored.
Kristine Lilly is a women’s soccer icon. She‘s the most capped U.S. soccer player — men or women — in history, and has been a member of five World Cup teams, including two Worl Cup championships; four Olympic teams – winning three gold medals and a silver – and in the three-year run of WUSA and the first two seasons of Women’s Professional Soccer, Lilly laced it up each week with the Boston Breakers before hanging up the cleats after last season.
There’s not much Lilly hasn’t accomplished. Although people are still eagerly awaiting her arrival to Twitter, her resume is unparalleled — as well as her fitness level. For that, she is being honored on Friday, May 20. Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston is deeming Friday “Kristine Lilly Day,” honoring the soccer star for her exemplary play throughout her career at City Hall Plaza at 2 p.m.
“I am extremely proud to declare this Kristine Lilly Day in the City of Boston,” said Menino. “Not only has she been a remarkable force in the world of soccer but she has been a one-of-a-kind role model to young girls who strive to do achieve special goals each and every day. We are truly fortunate to have Kristine Lilly be a part of our city’s illustrious sports history as the first woman to have her number retired by a Boston sports team.”
Boston knows how to do it right – and in a timely fashion. Had Lilly been elsewhere, would she have been recognized with her own day? I’m not sure. I applaud Mayor Menino and the City of Boston for acknowledging a sports star outside the four major sports. Boston most certainly has done its part in helping WPS gain notoriety – with a number of player interviews on TV and radio broadcasts – and now this. Hopefully other cities continue to follow suit going forward.
Total non sequitur: Props to the fans in Georgia for setting the bar for attendance in WPS this season with 6,125 fans showing up. Atlanta lost 2-1 to the Philadelphia Independence but showed its fans an exciting brand of soccer that fans of the league can only hope that helps them draw that type of number each home match.
Things to look for this week
United States Women’s National Team plays its second of back-to-back matches with Japan on Wednesday night in Cary, N.C., at WakeMed Soccer Park. The U.S. won the first match 2-0 on May 14 in Columbus, Ohio, with Abby Wambach and Amy Rodriguez scoring. In WPS action, this weekend has a full slate of games, the most intriguing is the WPS Game of the Week on Fox Soccer with magicJack heading to Rochester, N.Y., to take on the front-running Western New York Flash Sunday night. Elsewhere, Boston hosts Philadelphia and Sky Blue FC looks to get on track, hosting Atlanta on Saturday night.
1. Western New York Flash
2. Philadelphia Independence
3. Boston Breakers
4. Atlanta Beat
5. Sky Blue FC
6. magicJack (This strictly an organizational ranking. Great team, but lousy management at the top.)
Player of the Week
Last week, I said expect many Western New York Flash players to be deemed with this honor throughout the season. In two weeks running, high-profile players going off to Germany for the World Cup — Christine Sinclair and Marta — won. This week, it goes to someone unsuspecting: McCall Zerboni. In playing the full 90, the Flash midfielder notched two goal and an assist, keeping the expansion club unbeaten (4-0-1, 13 pts) and on a goal-scoring tear.
Quote of the Week
“We will not allow any individual to diminish the quality and value of our league.” In lieu of the utter chaos going down in Florida with magicJack, WPS Board of Governors chairman T. Fitz Johnson said this fine statement. MagicJack (formerly Washington Freedom) is doing its best under new owner Dan Borislow to diminish the “quality and value,” being docked a point for their incompetence.
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