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April 18, 2007

Will start play in '08


Kristine Lilly hopes to be part of the new Boston Breakers when the team returns in 2008.
Kristine Lilly hopes to be part of the new Boston Breakers when the team returns in 2008.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The Boston Breakers will be among eight teams in women's professional soccer league set to begin play in April 2008, it was announced Wednesday.

"As an investment group we are dedicated to soccer," Michael Stoller, Breakers' managing partner, said in a press conference Wednesday. "We are making a collective commitment to the team and a commitment to making it work for generations."

The Breakers are among the former WUSA teams which will retain their nickname. Other cities in the league include Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Washington, D.C. Philadelphia will likely be the eighth team.

Former Breakers Angela Hucles and Kristine Lilly were present at the press conference at the Cask 'N Flagon, indicating they hope to remain with the team.

"This is about the persistence of a dedicated group of coaches, players and fans who said this is not how it ends," said Joe Cummings, president of the team and former general manager of the WUSA Breakers. "It's also about achievement, of the athletes playing in the league and athletes who will play in the league in the future. And it's about second chances; our national team is No. 1 in the world and the Breakers will be No. 1 in the league."

Cummings said a coach will be hired by next month and a home field chosen within two months. The Breakers could return to Boston University's Nickerson Field or play at Harvard University.

Pia Sundhage, the WUSA coach of the year with the Breakers in 2003, was Cummings' choice to return but has been hired as an assistant for China's national team. Kate Markgraf, who played as Kate Sobrero with the Breakers, will also remain with the team. Markgraf's husband, Kris, was among the prime movers in reconstituting the league.

"I have been involved in some great moments in soccer and this is one of them," Lilly said. "The next step is not only planning to come back but for the fans to get involved and keep the league going. That's what we need. It was a great atmosphere when we started the league in 2001. We know the fans are here and we want them to keep supporing us."

The Breakers investment group includes Lyman Bullard, a former Harvard soccer team captain; Bill Helman, a partner with Greylock venture capital; Louis Hernandez, chairman and CEO of Open Solutions Inc. in Glastonbury, Conn.; Gary Loveman, chairman, CEO and president of Harrah's Entertainment; and Alex Zecca, a vice president of Tudor Investment Corp.

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