The idea for the Women’s United Soccer Association ( WUSA) was created by a number of major United States media companies and individual investors in February of 2000. Little did these individuals know what kind of reaction this endeavour would yield within the next year with the creation of the eight teams strategically placed around the country inciting the new found enthusiasm by women of all ages to the sport of soccer. After its launch on April 14, 2001, there was an influx of little girls joining the soccer team and a new appreciation for women athletes throughout the professional athletic organization.
The players were recruited from the 1999 Women’s World Cup Champion U.S. National Team, which included Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, and Tiffany Milbrett, the 2000 Women’s Olympic Teams from various countries, and through the first ever women’s soccer draft held in December of 2000. These players would soon be divided up into eight teams: Atlanta Beat, Bay Area Cyber Rays (later the San Jose Cyber Rays), Boston Breakers, Carolina Courage, New York Power, Philadelphia Charge, San Diego Spirit, and the Washington Freedom.
Though the entire season was riveting the Founder’s Cup was the match everyone tuned in to see. Taking place in Foxboro, Massachusetts, the Bay Area Cyber Rays went head to head with the Atlanta Beat. The Beat was ahead 3-2 in the last moments of the game when substitute Sun Wen beat Atlanta’s goalkeeper Beene from close range to tie 3-3. With 15 minutes in over time due to a misplaced free kick by Nikki Serlenga it soon came down to a shoot out between the two fierce teams Just edging past the Beat, the Cyber Rays won the shoot out 4-2.
The second Founder’s Cup took place August 24, 2002 between the Carolina Courage and the Washington Freedom at Herndon Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. The Carolina Courage had been running hot and cold all season and no one was quiet sure how they would match up against the Freedom in the upcoming Founder’s Cup game. The Freedom was a heavy favourite having been undefeated in their last 10 games but it was Carolina’s Risse who scored the first goal after a gruelling hour and a half of play. The Freedom’s Birgit Prinz was not to be dismayed evening the score but when Carolina’s Danielle Fotopoulus slammed a rebound from Prinz home it gave Carolina a 2-1 lead. 5 minutes later Carolina had scored again holding the lead for the rest of the game. Mia Hamm had scored another amazing goal in the 64th minute but Carolina held fast their lead beating the Freedom 3-2.
With the new season starting on April 5 several spectators are already gearing up for the next exciting Founder’s Cup match, which will take place on the weekend of August 23. A rematch of the Founder’s Cup II between the Washington Freedom and the Carolina Courage will be on April 5 at the Carolina Courage. The league will abide by all Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) rules and regulations allowing two 45-minute halves. In the case of a tie, both teams will receive one point in the league standings. If a tie occurs in the Founder’s Cup or any deciding match, then two 15-minute overtime extensions will be allowed. Any play after the extensions will result in a sudden death shoot out. For more information about the teams and scheduled dates of play, visit www.wusa.com. For information about FIFA rules and regulations, visit www.fifa.com.