New sports franchises in Jacksonville and Tampa Bay highlight the upcoming Summer 2011 scheduleSACRAMENTO, CA (02/09/11) -
At the Annual General Meeting held in Las Vegas, NV this past weekend, the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL)
announced the further expansion of the Sunshine Conference to a seven-team, single-division format. New sports franchises based out of Jacksonville, Pensacola and Tampa Bay should bring an even higher level of competition to the Florida-based conference, which will see the Sanford-based FSA Freedom defending their 2010 title against fellow returnees Brandon F.C, Palm Beach United and the South Florida Strikers.
"Our growth in the state of Florida has been unprecedented over the past three years," said WPSL Commissioner Jerry Zanelli. "With seven high-level women's soccer teams now based out of the Sunshine State, the future truly looks bright for our sport in the region."
The new Jacksonville organization is owned by Luis Torres, while the Tampa Bay United Hellenic will be led by George Fotopoulos. During his 21 years as a coach, Torres has led teams such as the U-17 Ponte Vedra Storm to the 2009 Florida State Cup Championships, Region III Championships and was a National Finalist as well as assisting with the Puerto Rican Women's National Team. The Milwaukee, WI native has his United States Soccer Federation (USSF) "C" License in addition to having earned the NSCAA Advanced National & Goalkeeping Diplomas.
Fotopoulos brings a wealth of experience to the WPSL, as he was the head women's soccer coach at the University of Tampa for two years (1998-2000) before taking the head coaching job at Louisiana State University where he made an immediate impact, turning the 4-15-1 program around to a 15-6-0 winning side in his first season there. The USSF "A" Licensed Coach was the head coach of the of the LSU women's soccer team from 2000-2004 before playing the key role in the successful Tampa Bay Hellenic organization.
The USSF National Goalkeeping Licensed Coach is currently the Girls' Director of Coaching at HC United and coaches youth soccer. Along with his wife in former U.S. Women's National Team Member & World Cup gold medallist Danielle Fotopoulos, he runs youth soccer camps and can be hired for individual training. Visit http://www.fotopsoccer.com for more information. They have three children: Alexia, Will and Michael.
In other Sunshine Conference news, long-time Palm Beach Head Coach Brad Partridge will step down as the team's mentor, but continue in his role as Sunshine Conference Commissioner. Assistant Coach Steve Burgess will take over as Head Coach for the Summer 2011 season. Steve is the girls' head coach at American Heritage - Delray H.S., a team that has dominated the state for many years and is also the Director Of Coaching at the Delray Beach Athletic Club soccer program.
"I have truly enjoyed my time with Palm Beach United's WPSL Team," said Partridge, who has been instrumental in expanding the WPSL in the Southeast and has served as Sunshine Conference Commissioner the past two seasons. "I could not have asked for a better organization or a better group of players."2011 WPSL SUNSHINE CONFERENCE
Brandon F.C. (Tampa, FL)
Florida Sol F.C. (Jacksonville, FL) *
Gulf Coast Texans (Pensacola, FL) *
Palm Beach United
South Florida Strikers (Miami, FL)
Tampa Bay United Hellenic *
* signifies new teamAbout the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL):
The WPSL is a 60-plus team national league for the Summer 2011 season competing in five conferences and is the largest women's soccer league in the world. The league is sanctioned by the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA)
as an affiliate of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF)
. The WPSL's mission is to provide the highest level of soccer in our effort to: bring affordable & quality family entertainment to the community; display positive role models for our youth; while, being a stepping stone for aspiring professional & international-level players.
For more information, visit our official website at http://www.wpsl.info, phone us at 1-800-854-0913 or contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also keep up with our league on our social media networking sites on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter!!
Eurosport & SOCCER.COM is a Proud Partner of the WPSL, who feature a wide selection of top-of-the-line soccer merchandise. For more information, visit their official website by clicking HERE. Molten is the Official Championship Ball of the 2011 WPSL Final Four. Visit their official website at http://www.moltenusa.com for more information on their full line of products.