Solo to Play for STL in new Women's Pro LeaguePosted: Updated:
SEATTLE - Former University of Washington women's soccer standouts Hope Solo and Tina Frimpong (Ellertson) were both allocated to the St. Louis franchise of the Women's Pro Soccer league Tuesday during a ceremony at the Sports Museum of America in downtown Manhattan.
Solo, who recently led the United States to gold in the 2008 Olympic Games, and Ellertson were among 21 U.S. National Team members who were allocated to the seven teams in the new WPS league, which kicks off its inaugural season next spring.
The announcement was hosted by NBA All-Star and WPS part-owner Steve Nash and presided over by WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci. Each of the seven teams set to begin play in WPS for the 2009 season were allocated three players apiece from the U.S. Women's National Team pool. The allocation followed an extensive process in which the players and teams submitted their preferences to the league and a committee then examined the lists to give its recommendations.
Solo and Ellertson were teammates for two seasons at UW with Solo playing from 1999-2002 and Ellertson competing for the Huskies from 2001-2004. The 2001 Pac-10 Player of the Year and a two-time All-American, Solo led Washington to the 2000 Pac-10 title. Ellertson, meanwhile, was a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year and an All-American in 2004 when she led the Huskies to an NCAA Elite Eight finish.
Both have competed for the U.S. National Team since graduating, with Solo earning a place on the U.S. Olympic squad for Beijing. She started every game in goal for the United States and was one of the heroes in the gold-medal game victory over Brazil, making six saves in a 1-0 victory.
"First of all, it is just so exciting that the league is making a comeback," Washington head coach Lesle Gallimore said. "We went through this excitement once before with Hope when she was drafted by the WUSA and then by the time Tina graduated that league had folded so it's nice for Tina to have the opportunity and it's cool that Hope gets a second go-around. And not only will she be joined in the league by Tina but they'll be on the same team which is great."
Solo and Ellertson will be coached by Brazilian National Team head coach Jorge Barcellos in St. Louis.
"It worked out the way they both wanted it." Gallimore said. "They're in a very soccer-friendly city and will play for a great coach. It's very exciting."
In addition to Solo and Ellertson, two other former Huskies are hoping to get a chance to play professionally when the league holds its general draft of domestic and international players in October. Both Nikki Gamble, who played at UW in 2003 and `04, and Kelli Smith, who was a Husky from 2001-04, competed at recent combines and will hope to hear their names called at the draft.
Below is a breakdown of the seven teams and the three players allocated to each team.
Boston Breakers Angela Hucles
Chicago Red Stars
Sky Blue FC