Sept. 27, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Led by former Notre Dame women's soccer greats Shannon Boxx ('99), Candace Chapman ('05) and Carrie Dew ('09), San Francisco-based FC Gold Pride captured the 2010 Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) regular-season and postseason titles, capping their run with a 4-0 win over the Philadelphia Independence in the WPS Championship Match, presented by Citi, on Sunday afternoon at Pioneer Stadium in Hayward, Calif. FC Gold Pride had won the regular-season championship in dominating fashion with a 16-3-5 record, good for 53 points and a massive 17-point margin over the runner-up Boston Breakers.
With Sunday's championship, a total of five Fighting Irish alums now have helped their teams to WPS titles in the league's two-year existence, as Jen Buczkowski ('07) and Kerri Hanks ('08) won the inaugural WPS crown with Sky Blue FC last year. The five WPS champions among the Notre Dame women's soccer alumni ranks are the most by any college program in the country, one more than North Carolina and Stanford, and two more than Connecticut and Portland. The Fighting Irish also are one of only four schools in the nation to produce players on both WPS champions to date, joining Cal State Fullerton, Connecticut and Portland in that elite company.
Ironically, Buczkowski could have made history on Sunday as the first individual two-time champion in the league's short existence, having led Philadelphia to the brink of the 2010 WPS title as an expansion club. Despite the loss in the championship match, Buczkowski played a major role in the success of the Independence, appearing in 23 matches and starting 20 times as a defensive midfielder, ranking fifth on the team in minutes played (1,808) while registering one assist. She also played every minute in Philadelphia's three playoff matches, two of which were overtime victories over Washington (1-0) and Boston (2-1).
For the league champions, Boxx was a mainstay in the midfield all season long, starting 19 of 20 matches when she wasn't competing with the U.S. National Team. A two-time WPS All-Star, she recorded a goal and five assists (the latter tying for third on the team and fifth in the league), ranked fourth on the team in total shots (34), fifth in shots on goal (18) and seventh in total minutes (1,705) for the league's highest-scoring offense, which averaged nearly two goals per match.
Chapman came to FC Gold Pride this season after making her WPS debut last year with Boston. She started at defender in all 21 matches she played in for the Bay Area side in 2010 (missing three matches due to Canadian National Team commitments), ranking fifth on the team in total minutes (1,880) and helping anchor an FC Gold Pride defense that posted a league-best 0.79 goals-against average.
Dew, a 2009 second-round draft pick by FC Gold Pride, split time between the midfield and backline this season, appearing in 15 matches and starting 11 times. She scored the game-winning goal in the 89th minute of a 2-1 home win over the expansion Atlanta Beat on April 24, and delivered the assist on Christine Sinclair's game-winning score in a 1-0 victory at Sky Blue FC one week later.
Boxx, Chapman and Dew (as well as last year's WPS champions Buczkowski and Hanks) are the latest in a long line of distinguished Notre Dame women's soccer alums to win a American professional soccer title. In 2001, goalkeeper LaKeysia Beene ('00) and defender Kelly Lindsey ('01) helped the Bay Area CyberRays win the inaugural Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) Founders Cup championship. Two years later, Jen Grubb ('00) started and captained the Washington Freedom to the final WUSA crown, a feat that eventually would land Grubb a place in the franchise's illustrious "Hall of Freedom" this past summer.
For more information on all Notre Dame players currently on WPS rosters, please check the Women's Professional Soccer web site at www.womensprosoccer.com.
For more information on the Notre Dame women's soccer program, join the Fighting Irish women's soccer news Twitter page (www.twitter.com/NDsoccernews) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the sidebar on the women's soccer page at UND.com.