The Australian international has brought her flair to the Breakers Reserves this seasonSACRAMENTO, CA (07/29/10) -
In 2008 when she was a junior at Central Connecticut State University, Leah Blayney
was part of a SoccerPlus CT side that would eventually send nine of their 11 regular starters to Women's Professional Soccer (WPS)
. Two years later, she is stating her own case to the talent judges of the soccer world, and on her own team.
This Saturday at UT-Dallas in Richardson, TX, the leading overall scorer in the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL)
will lead her Boston Aztec Breakers Reserves (10-1-1) teammates against a familiar type of challenge. The semi-pro affiliate of WPS Boston will take on the F.C. Milwaukee Nationals (10-1-0) - a team chock full of collegiate stars - in the first National Semifinal at 5:00 PM (CST).
Boston had their hands full with their "sister" team in Aztec U-23 at the end of the regular season and in the East Conference Semifinal as well, where it took them until the 119th minute of extra-time to win the match. In the East Final, the Breakers Reserves also faced a tough test from a young, athletic & talented college-based team in defending WPSL Champion Long Island and again, the Northeast Division winners would prevail in the final seconds of extra-time.
If anything, such tests could provide to be very useful for the Australian international and her veteran side. Blayney proved to be a scorer earlier this season, and now, the three-time All-Northeast Conference First Team selection and the 2009 NEC MVP has brought an international flair to her teams' offense.
The league got an opportunity to ask Leah a few questions prior to this weekend's action. Stay tuned as we'll announce our 2010 All-East Teams first thing Friday morning:Q: After being one of the "gang" (so to say) with the impressive 2008 SoccerPlus CT side to being one of the best in the WPSL this season, what have been the key elements to your burgeoning soccer career?A:
I believe that the combination of my experiences both at Central Connecticut State University as well as with SoccerPlus CT of late have contributed greatly to my success this season. Both Mick D'Arcy (CCSU) and Chris Bart-Williams (SoccerPlus CT) have provided me with both excellent playing environments as well as the constant challenge of becoming better. My family have also always been very supportive. They've always believed and have given me confidence.Q: From netting goals at a historic rate earlier in this season to truly wearing the "#10" jersey, which do you prefer? Being a Wayne Rooney-type of player or one with more of an omnipresent role, like Uruguay's Diego Forlan?A:
Yes. I started out as a forward with the Aztecs. Lately, I have been going between midfield and forward roles of which I'm thoroughly enjoying. Playing more as a midfielder, I now have great teammates not only behind but in front of me as well. We are playing fantastic as a team overall, so that has to be my first preference.Q: Speaking of soccer players & influences, who are your most favorite players to watch & learn from on both the men's & women's sides?A:
I really enjoy watching a variety of players. The likes of Marta and Messi have to rate right up there. Recently, I've learned from Leslie Osborne of the Boston Breakers. She is a fantastic leader and role model.Q: What has been the biggest adjustment to make from the college game to the semi-pro/professional levels?A:
[Laughs] Probably not having to rush from class to practice or a test to a game! Another big difference is having to take more responsibility for your own fitness levels and time management.Q: F.C. Milwaukee has a lot of similarities with the Breakers Reserves "sister" team - Aztec U-23. They're a regional collegiate all-star team who know each other well. Do you think the experience of facing them will help your teams' preparations for this weekend's National Semifinal?A:
We prepare for each team with respect, as all teams have different strengths and weaknesses. Our U-23's were a very good side. If the two teams are anything alike, we can expect a strong performance to also come from F.C. Milwaukee. Saturday's game should be a good match-up!WPSL NATIONAL SEMIFINALSBoston Aztec Breakers Reserves (10-1-1, East Champion) vs. F.C. Milwaukee Nationals (10-1-0, Midwest Champion)
Date/Time: Saturday, July 31 @ 5:00 PM (CST)
Venue: University of Texas-Dallas
Address: 800 West Campbell Road, Richardson, TX 75080Ajax America (8-3-1, Pacific Champion) vs. Oklahoma Alliance F.C. (8-1-0, South Champion)
Date/Time: Saturday, July 31 @ 7:00 PM (CST)
Venue: University of Texas-DallasWPSL NATIONAL CONSOLATION
Date/Time: Sunday, August 1 @ 10:30 AM (CST)
Venue: University of Texas-Dallas
Address: 800 West Campbell Road, Richardson, TX 75080WPSL NATIONAL FINALSemifinal #1 WINNER vs. Semifinal #2 WINNER
Date/Time: Sunday, August 1 @ 1:00 PM (CST)
Venue: University of Texas-DallasAbout the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL):
The WPSL is a 50-plus team national league with five conferences starting in 2010 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.
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