WPL Action Gets Back Underway With All Star Game

The WPL gets back into motion this weekend as the best in the league compete head to head in their All-Star Game.

After an eight-month hiatus we once again have Women's Premier League (WPL) rugby, as the East vs. West All Star game kicks off on Saturday July 28; at the University of Denver's Pioneer Field. The game is scheduled for a 2:30PM MDT kick off.

Each conference has selected its best players based off nominations given by team's coaching staff led by performances turned in last season. It should then come as no surprise, that nineteen of the forty-two players selected came from years' champions and runners-up New York Rugby Club (NYRC) and Glendale Merlins respectively.

On top of the nineteen finalists already involved, there is a showcase of talent on display with nine capped Eagles appearing: Alycia Washington, Jessica Davis, Kaelene Lundstrom, Sarah Chobot, Jennifer Lui, Hannah Stolba, Christiane Pheil, Tia Blythe and Megan Foster. As well as six returning All-Stars from last year's event including: Maggie Olney, Sarah Chobot, Kristen Shalosky, Adrienne Acosta, Tia Blythe and Ali Gillberg.

Gillberg, one of the returning All-Stars, has a unique perspective, not only on this game but on the season as a whole, working as Director of Marketing and Sponsorships for the WPL. While it may seem like a daunting challenge, for Gillberg they are both just extensions of one another, "I think it actually helps motivate my rugby game since I put a lot of time and effort into getting more people involved and excited about the league, so I like to back that up with playing good rugby."

Good rugby will be a theme throughout the 10th season of WPL. Given the ever-growing talent pool that has been developing through the country, various teams have been pushing for the spots in the WPL. The League has reintroduced the promotion and relegation system, Gillberg noted the added pressure will increase the standard of play, "With the reintroduction of promotion and relegation it is more important than ever to stay out of the bottom and avoid being pitted in a challenge match. We have a new rush of teams interested in stepping up and joining our league and the pressure from Divison I is certainly motivating."

While All-Star matches aren't traditionally played before the season commences, it does create some unique opportunities to set the stage for the competition ahead. One such opportunity is the chance to develop connections and pathways with the national side, as last year the All-Star game was the last game the Eagles played before the World Cup. This year, the connection to the Eagles continues as they will be interacting with head coach, Rob Cain. Gillberg mentioning, "We are excited to continue and deepen our relationship as a league with the Eagles and their staff and give the players an opportunity for a big match to warm up for the WPL season that starts up August 18th!"

It promises to be a great game and the perfect way to kick off another exciting season of WPL action.

 East 

Shelby LinNew York Rugby Club
Kristen SianoNew York Rugby Club
Yeja DunnBeantown
Darian LovelaceAtlanta Harlequins
Maggie OlneyDC Furies
Tahlia BrodyNew York Rugby Club
Gio CruzNew York Rugby Club
Bailey JohnsonTwin Cities Amazons
Monique CompitoAtlanta Harlequins
Lauran GloverDC Furies
Emily JonesBeantown
Alexa ScottNew York Rugby Club
Sam Luther Beantown
Misha GreenNew York Rugby Club
Alycia WashingtonNew York Rugby Club
Megan RomAtlanta Harlequins
Jessica DavisBeantown
Ali GillbergTwin Cities Amazons
Andrea VillanovaNew York Rugby Club
Kaelene LundstromTwin Cities Amazons
Jenn SalomonNew York Rugby Club

Head Coach: Rosalind Chou

West

Sarah ChobotGlendale Merlins
Denali GrahamGlendale Merlins
Alli HaleGlendale Merlins
Joanna KitlinskiGlendale Merlins
Jennifer LuiGlendale Merlins
Joanna McElroyGlendale Merlins
Kelsie O'BrienGlendale Merlins
Kristen ShaloskyGlendale Merlins
Hannah StolbaGlendale Merlins
Juliann TordonatoGlendale Merlins
Charli JacobyChicago North Shore
Christiane PheilChicago North Shore
Kadie SanfordChicago North Shore
Brittany SimunacChicago North Shore
Adrienne AcostaOregon Rugby Sports Union
Tia BlytheSan Diego Surfers
Megan FosterSan Diego Surfers
Matelina MaluiaSan Diego Surfers
Dana MeschisiSan Diego Surfers
Kimdinh TranSan Diego Surfers
Brittany O'DellChicago North Shore

Head Coach: Kittery Wagner-Ruiz