Women's professional soccer coming to Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- The 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany captured the attention of not only this country but the entire world of women's soccer. This week brought an exciting conclusion to the world's top tournament in the sport.

Knoxville Soccer LLC, the owner of the Knoxville Force men’s soccer team which is currently playing its inaugural season, is pleased to announce that it is bringing a new women’s soccer team to Knoxville in 2012. The Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) has granted a franchise to the newly organized Knoxville Lady Force (www.knoxvilleladyforce.com) to play its inaugural season in the WPSL’s newly formed Southeast Conference beginning in May of 2012.

The Women's Premier Soccer League has over 60 teams nationally and is the largest women's soccer league in the nation. The WPSL’s main focus is on the development of highly competitive amateur women's soccer teams. WPSL also makes every effort to bring quality soccer to all levels of the community and to promote the stature of female athletes as role models for our youth.

The WPSL was formed in 1998. It is sanctioned by the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) as an affiliate of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), the ruling body of soccer in the United States and FIFA, the world's ruling body for soccer.
The highly competitive national league includes U.S. National Team, university, amateur, international, and former professional soccer players.

The formal WPSL season starts in early May and concludes with playoffs and regional and national championship matches by early August. The Knoxville Lady Force will play alongside of the men’s Knoxville Force at the Regal Soccer Stadium on the campus of the University of Tennessee during its inaugural season.

Jerry Zanelli, WPSL founder and league Commissioner, stated that he is “extremely pleased that the Knoxville Lady Force will be the anchor team for expanding the WPSL into the southeastern United States.” East Tennessee is already a great region for women’s soccer with several colleges and universities in the area fielding strong women’s teams, including the University of Tennessee, Maryville College, Carson Newman, Tennessee Tech University, East Tennessee State University, and others.

Zanelli said that “Many college programs encourage their players to play in our summer league because they believe it helps them prepare for the upcoming season. These players gain tremendous experience playing alongside other dedicated, competitive players, some of whom are former professional soccer players and others whom are aspiring to become professionals on or off the field.” Knoxville Lady Force should draw highly talented local, regional, and international women to play at an advanced level of the sport.

The General Manager for Knoxville Lady Force will be Jason Goss, Vice President of Knoxville Soccer LLC, and a former soccer standout at CAK who was named an all-Knoxville Interscholastic League (KIL) player. Goss graduated with a Bachelor in Business Administration degree from Elon University in North Carolina and dual Masters degrees in Business Administration and Sports Administration from Ohio University. He has worked with the professional Italian soccer team, Ascoli Calcio and Major League Soccer at its headquarters in New York, and also serves as General Manager of Knoxville’s NPSL men’s soccer team, the Knoxville Force.
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Knoxville Lady Force will soon be interviewing candidates for its head coaching position. “We will begin the process of attracting a highly qualified coach for the Lady Force,” said Goss. “We expect to attract outstanding candidates who have tremendous experience coaching high level soccer teams nationally and internationally and plan to announce our selection for coach as soon as possible.”

The team roster formation process will begin soon and player tryouts will start in January, 2012. Experienced players who are interested in being a part of the Knoxville Lady Force should email players@knoxvilleladyforce.com.
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