Willis Gets Shot at Women's Professional Soccer

Jan. 29, 2009 -

University of Redlands women's soccer senior midfielder Becky Willis (Escondido, CA) earned the right to try out for the Boston Breakers, a Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) franchise, according to announcement by Head Coach Suzette Soboti.

Tryouts are set to occur on Monday, Feb. 9 and Tuesday, Feb. 10 at Harvard Stadium in Cambridge, MA. Players attending the tryout may be selected for the team's preseason camp, which will start on Feb. 28.

Willis enjoyed a remarkable career as a student-athlete at Redlands. Throughout her storied Bulldog tenure, she garnered two National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/ adidas® All-American honors, three NSCAA/adidas® All-Region laurels and three First-Team All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) nods, including the 2008 SCIAC Player of the Year award. This past season, Willis tied the program mark for assists in a season with eight and led the team to its first-ever at-large bid into the NCAA Championships.

"This opportunity is great for the exposure of the University of Redlands as a premier Division III institution," Soboti said. "It's every girl's dream to have this opportunity, and being that this is the first year of the league, many are having the chance to move on to the next level that didn't have it before. The goal is to help bring the girls to the next level, whether it be as a player, coach or otherwise, and hopefully Becky's experience in Boston motivates those on the team that want to play professionally."

While the competition is fierce in trying out for the Breakers, Soboti said that the experience there could open up other opportunities should she not make the training camp roster.

"If she goes to the Boston Breakers tryout and doesn't make the cut, she could possibly get on other WPS teams," Soboti said. "The soccer community is very small, and if the coach there thinks she has potential, she may get a similar opportunity with another franchise."

A handful of undergraduate Redlands student-athletes will try out for the Ventura County Fusion, a semi-pro team, this summer. The Fusion recently produced a player that got drafted by the Breakers in the inaugural WPS draft.

The WPS is in its first year following a five-year period without a women's professional soccer league in the United States. In 2003, the Women"s United Soccer Association (WUSA) folded after three seasons.

Contact: Brian SavardĀ (909) 748-8438 (Phone)

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