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June 29, 2010 > Pride travels in groups

Pride travels in groups

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.

FC Gold Pride is making a quick turnaround from its home match with Sky Blue FC (a 2-0 loss on Sunday, June 27) to head down south to Atlanta.

Yes, the Pride are taking on the Atlanta Beat on Saturday, July 3, but the team is all traveling together early in the week because some of the players - Marta, Christine Sinclair, Rachel Buehler and Shannon Boxx as starters; Kelley O'Hara as a reserve - and coach Albertin Montoya will be taking part in the WPS All-Star Game presented by U.S. Coast Guard Reserve on Wednesday, June 30.

This year's WPS All-Star Game will be held at the brand-new, soccer-specific KSU Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga., home of the Atlanta Beat. Pride captain Rachel Buehler is definitely looking forward to it.

"I think the All-Star Game is going to be awesome," said the Pride's captain. "It's such a great opportunity to play with all these amazing players. I'm looking forward to that. It's going to be a lot of fun."

Fans, media, players and coaches voted on the top 22 players to be the starters, in which Marta - and Washington Freedom star Abby Wambach - was named captain. Captains will pick her starting 11 of the 22 players voted on. Reserves were picked by coach Montoya, Philadelphia coach Paul Riley (the other all-star coach) and WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci.

"I hope so," said Buehler about Marta picking her in the starting 11 for her teammate. "It'll be an interesting experience to have that kind of playground style."

Montoya is coaching Marta's squad. O'Hara was placed as a reserve on Wambach's squad. Buehler admits that she won't let up if she gets lined up against her Pride teammate.

"I am not going to let her score," said Buehler jokingly if she goes up against O'Hara in the All-Star match. "(But) I'm going to play like how I always play, hard."

But all-in-all, it's an exhibition and the team is still focused on the task at hand, the regular season and a quest for a championship. That resumes on Saturday, July 3, against the new-look, highly-potent squad of the Atlanta Beat.

Having the team travel together and not lose the opportunity to train for an entire week is something Buehler is grateful for.

"It's great that our whole team is going to be there," said Buehler. "Albertin is one of the coaches, so it allows us to all train together like we would in a normal week and really prepare for a game against the Beat on Saturday (July 3)."

And Montoya agrees with his captain, but also feels just being in the weather will play to the Pride's advantage.
"The best part of (having the team go to Atlanta together) is playing in the humidity for a week," Montoya said. "We'll adjust to that and it won't be as much a shock to our bodies as it can be."

Tune in to Fox Soccer Channel for the 2010 WPS All-Star Game on Wednesday night at 5, and visit the WPS website, www.womensprosoccer.com, for the match tracker of the Pride's game with the Atlanta Beat on Saturday at 4 p.m.

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