Press release courtesy of Robert Penner, Director of Communications, for Women's Professional Soccer.
Women’s Professional Soccer Announces WPS Inaugural Match Activities
Soccer Legend Mia Hamm to Present Game Ball to Referees Prior to Game
Opening Match to Feature Historic Tweets from Participating Players and WPS Commissioner
SAN FRANCISCO (March 23, 2009) – With a week to go until the kick-off of the WPS Inaugural Match at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA on March 29, Women’s Professional Soccer announced a series of activities, appearances and special events to celebrate the return of women’s soccer to the professional sports landscape. Most notably, soccer legend Mia Hamm will be part of the festivities, while fans in attendance and around the world can also sign up to follow along with the immediate thoughts about the historic game from WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci, as well as select players with the Los Angeles Sol and the Washington Freedom via Twitter – the first-ever live Twitter account by participating players endorsed during a major U.S. sporting event.
“We are looking forward to including some special touches to make this game stand out and commemorate the official launch of Women’s Professional Soccer,” said Antonucci. “It’s important for everyone to come away with a sense of the history, gravitas and excitement of the moment.”
One way for fans to feel part of the history will be to follow along on Twitter by receiving real-time text messages during the game from a Sol and Freedom player and the Commissioner. Fans can find out who the two “tweeting” players will be by signing on to www.twitter.com/womensprosoccer and can sign up to receive the Commissioner’s “tweets” at www.twitter.com/wpscommissioner. The teams will announce their tweeting players later this week. The league is also considering endorsing in-game tweets throughout the season based on feedback from coaches and fans from the WPS Inaugural Match and with certain parameters set forth in advance.
“To give fans the special opportunity to hear right from players about their thoughts in real time via Twitter is a special way to recognize that everyone will have a part in helping to make history with this game: players, fans, viewers and television,” Antonucci added. “We want it to be interactive and fun. We are a grassroots league and we thought this would be a great way to commemorate our first game. We used Twitter to announce the results of our WPS Draft and we’ve built up a large following.”
Other featured moments will include on-field pictures of Mia Hamm alongside the WPS logo that features Hamm’s silhouette and pre-game team photos with historic pennants recognizing March 29, 2009 as the WPS Inaugural Match. A rundown of highlights for the day:
· A parade of nations prior to kick-off with flags from all 10 nations represented in WPS for the Inaugural Season: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, United States.
· The opportunity for fans to follow along with players thoughts about the historic day with real-time tweets right to fans’ cell phones.
· On-field opening remarks from WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci and on-field ball handover from Mia Hamm to the referees.
· The creation of a special WPS Inaugural Match logo to commemorate the game that will be included in team photos and stamped on all official match balls.
· Video welcomes from key sports figures and officials, including among them FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
· National anthem sung by rising stars “The Beach Girlz”.
· The development of a unique website – My WPS Inaugural – where fans in attendance can post their memories and images of the historic day: http://fancorner.womensprosoccer.com/profile/MyWPSInaugural.
· Fox Soccer Channel live pre-game show beginning at 5:30pm EST/2:30pm PT followed by game coverage at 6pm EST/3pm PT.
· The ball used in the historic first goal for WPS will be taken out of play, then signed after the game by the goal scorer, and sent for display to the National Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum in Oneonta, NY.