Midfielder Jenna Carosio and the Fighting Illini travel to face the Saint Louis Athletica on Saturday.
March 11, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Fighting Illini soccer team officially begins its spring season on Saturday, traveling to face the Saint Louis Athletica of Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) at 3 p.m. The game will take place at The Anheuser-Busch Soccer Park in Fenton, Mo.
"Anytime you can play competition of this caliber it's a developmental opportunity for our players to get the chance to compete against players competing at the next level," Illini head coach Janet Rayfield said. "This will be a test for us physically, technically, tactically and even psychologically. Through these sorts of tests we will get better, which is always the ultimate goal, but especially in the spring season. The spring is about players developing, and this game will be a great step in that process."
The Athletica roster features some of the top soccer players in the world, including a number of U.S. National Team players in goalkeeper Hope Solo, midfielder Lindsay Tarpley, midfielder Shannon Boxx, defender Lori Chalupny and midfielder Tina DiMartino. Saint Louis has a strong international presence as well, with Daniela (Brazil), Aya Miyama (Japan) and Madelaine Edlund (Sweden) among the players on its roster. Former Illini defender Mary Therese McDonnell (2004-07) is also one of 26 players on the Athletica preseason roster.
For the Illini, it will be their first of five games this spring as they begin preparations for the 2010 season. Next up on the spring schedule is another WPS team, as Illinois will host the Chicago Red Stars for the second straight year. The Illini and Red Stars will play on Saturday, April 3 at 2 p.m. at the Illinois Soccer Stadium, with former Illini Ella Masar and Jackie Santacaterina among the players on the Red Stars roster.