Friday January 11, 2013 was like Christmas Day for women’s soccer fans around the United States. For that day was the dawning of yet another new era for the sport in this country. Women's professional soccer, this time as the NWSL under the auspices of US Soccer, was re-born yet again. And Friday was Allocation Day or if you use Twitter #allocationday.
I was fortunate to sit down on Friday night with one of the people concerned with bringing the inaugural NWSL title to their city. Lee Billiard is the General Manager of the Boston Breakers and is responsible for trying to get not only fans to fill Dilboy Stadium in Somerville, MA, but to help (with the aid of Lisa Cole and the Boston Breakers squad) bring a championship back to the city that is known as Title Town.
Soccer Banter: What are you first thoughts on the allocation?
Lee Billiard: We are delighted to welcome our allocated players to Boston. It was always going to be a tough job for US Soccer allocating players, matching team requirements and player preferences. but for us to come out of it with a great mixture of experience, youth, and an abundance of talent is fantastic for our organization.
SB: Two players (Heather Mitts & Heather O’Reilly) that have already worn the Breakers blue...What should supporters expect from “The Heathers”?
LB: It’s great to welcome "The Heathers" back to the Breakers; both have a great following nationally and in New England. The fact they have played here previously, know our organization and the city will be beneficial in terms of them settling quickly. Additionally, they can also educate our new players on Breakers history, passion, and of course this fantastic city. Their talent speaks for itself on the field. On top of that, both are excellent role models and ambassadors for the sport off field, which fits perfectly with what the Boston Breakers organization represents.
LB: Goals, goals and some more goals! I am sure there are already a lot of defenders worrying about playing the Boston Breakers and defending Sydney. I think we also have a new team mascot in her much loved dog "Boss"
SB: Boston was allocated some youthful players in the two Canadians (Rhian Wilkinson & Adriana Leon) and two Mexicans (Anisa Guajardo & Cecilia Santiago). With some very experienced heads this seems like a good recipe for success for the Breakers?
LB: Obviously great to have that mixture. Talented youthful players who have talented experienced players to turn to and learn from throughout the season are very important.
SB: Obviously both you and Lisa Cole now have to work hard to build around these players. What’s your outlook for this season?
LB: Lisa is a fantastic coach. She knows what she wants in a player and knows how to build a competitive roster. We will work hard to get the players Lisa needs in order to be competitive and win a championship.
LB: We have an amazing fan base, we say our supporters have always been the best in the league and that is exactly what they are! Every game will be a great atmosphere with a tremendous amount of talent on the field. We obviously want to remain top of the tree for season ticket sales and I ask Breakers fans to show their support and make 2013 a special year by purchasing tickets. We hope to sell out every game this season and give our players the best environment/atmosphere to play in. I am confident our players will do their part on the field and I hope our amazing fans will continue to do their part supporting us.
SB: With the allocation process complete, who do you see as your competitors for the inaugural NWSL championship?
LB: Everyone!! Portland is obviously off to a flyer after the allocation, but if you look at all the other organizations and the players allocated, every team will be strong. This is going to be the best league in the world in terms of the quality on show. EVERY game there will be two teams packed with talent, battling it out week after week. As a fan I am excited to watch these players perform live asI have a tremendous amount of respect for what they do and the ability they show and work so hard for.
SB: Can you bring yet another title to TITLE TOWN?
LB: That's the plan - get your tickets to watch it all happen!
SB: How do supporters get their tickets for the Breakers NWSL campaign?
LB: You can purchase Boston Breakers 2013 NWSL full or half season memberships by calling 781- 619-9337 or online at www.breakerstickets.com. Every game was a sell out in 2012, so to avoid disappointment get your 2013 tickets now before they are sold out!