Rain ready for primetime
In their third season, the Portland Rain women's soccer team is getting ready for West Coast playoff action, which is likely to begin in three weeks. First, though, there's four regular season matches to take care of in the Women's Premier Soccer League's Northwest Division.
The Portland Rain’s weekend sweep of Spokane put it in position to clinch a spot in the Women's Premier Soccer League playoffs this weekend when it meets the club's Under-23 team in a pair of games.
Portland beat Spokane, 2-1 on Friday and 4-2 on Saturday, to remain comfortably ahead of the Bend-based Oregon Rush within the Northwest Division title in the league, which is billed as the largest women’s soccer league in the world.
The Rain are 7-0-1 heading into the weekend games at Strasser Field at Delta Park. The U23 squad is 1-7-0.
The Oregon Rush is 5-3-0.
Nicole Wilcox scored her 15th goal in Saturday’s win and continues to lead the WPSL in scoring. She is also among the top 10 in assists with four.
Wilcox and club owner John Madding talked about the team's success, the league's success and the challenge of playing California teams in the WPSL playoffs. The club has a fund-raising event set for July 17 at Grand Central Bowl as part of its financial preparations for the Western Region playoffs, which involve as many as three games in three days. With three wins, the team would qualify for a national tournament.
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The Boston Aztecs won last year’s tournament, the third time in the past five years a team from Boston or New York has won the title.
The league has crowned a national champion since 1998.
Former University of Portland standout Cori Alexander was voted the league’s Most Valuable Goaltender last season while playing for the California Storm.
Oregonsports Journal focused on women's soccer in its Oct. 29, 2009, issue and discovered the Women’s Professional Soccer league had inspired players into the high school ranks to dream of a pro career.