Sounders Insider

Starfire will host USL women's championship

Here's the release from Seattle Sounders Women:

The Seattle Sounders Women have been selected as hosts of the 2011 USL W-League Championship presented by Umbro. The W-League Semifinals and Finals, featuring elite women’s domestic and international stars, will be held July 29-31 at Starfire Sports Campus in Tukwila, Washington, with the finals televised nationally.

“We are thrilled to bring the 2011 W-League Championship presented by Umbro to Washington where the Seattle Sounders Women will host one of USL’s marquee events,” W-League Senior Director Amanda Duffy said. “During their 10-year history the Sounders Women have proven to be an elite-level franchise and they understand how to put on a first class event. With that experience and the professional facilities the Starfire Sports Campus offers, the 2011 Championship will undoubtedly present an optimal experience for the teams and fans alike.”

The 2011 championship will be held in a "final four" format, with two semifinals played on Friday, July 29 at Starfire Sports Complex and the winners meeting for the championship on Sunday, July 31. A consolation game featuring the other two semifinalists will precede the final.

The 17th W-League regular season kicks off on May 14 and continues through July 17. Ten teams will qualify for the postseason, with each conference playing down to a conference champion. The three conference champions will join the Sounders Women at the W-League Championship presented by Umbro.

“The Seattle Sounder’s Women are proud to partner with the W-League in hosting the 2011 W-League Championship presented by Umbro,” Sounders Women Owner Michael Jennings said. “With an outstanding venue in Starfire, a great fan base and the proud history of excellence in women’s soccer out of the Northwest, we feel that our organization can provide the necessary ingredients for a successful event.”

Umbro is serving as presenting sponsor of the W-League Championship for the second consecutive season. The City of Santa Clarita, California hosted the highly successful 2010 W-League Championship, which saw the Buffalo Flash hold off the Vancouver Whitecaps in the final featured on Fox Soccer Channel.

"The Starfire Sports Campus is proud to be hosting the 2011 W-League Championship,” Starfire’s Andrew Croft said. “The high level of soccer these women bring to the game is the same standard that Starfire holds as a facility, making us the perfect venue for such an exciting event. We look forward to witnessing the fast-paced action in a highly competitive championship environment from the luxury of our professionally acclaimed Starfire Sports Stadium.”

The first and longest-standing women’s league in North America, the W-League is USL’s highest level of women’s soccer in the United States and Canada. The 2011 USL W-League campaign will feature 27 teams in three regional conferences playing 10-14 regular season matches. In addition to featuring international and professional stars, elite amateur players have the opportunity to compete on amateur teams in the league while maintaining their collegiate eligibility. The league is recognized throughout the world for providing superior competition for female players, while offering affordable family entertainment for fans across North America.