WUSA American Stars vs. WUSA World Stars
June 19, 2003
SAS Soccer Park
The WUSA’s defending champion Carolina Courage hosted the match at SAS Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina. SAS (known today as WakeMed Soccer Park) was one of the finest soccer specific venues in the league and fans of the WUSA’s successor leagues, WPS and the NWSL, have long hoped that a new women’s professional club might take up residence there someday. The wait continues…
2003 was a World Cup year and the format of the match was intended to mirror the upcoming tournament, hosted by the United States in September. A squad of the WUSA’s American Stars, coached by Jim Gabarra of the Washington Freedom, faced a team of WUSA World Stars, coached by Tom Stone of the Atlanta Beat.
This was also the first time that the WUSA staged an All-Star Game in season. The match was shoehorned awkwardly into the league schedule on a Thursday night. Regular season play resumed around the country just two nights later. Accordingly the rules were relaxed to allow unlimited substitution and re-entry and the halves were shortened to 40 minutes each. A standing room-only crowd of 7,068 packed SAS Soccer Park for the exhibition.
Maren Meinert of the Boston Breakers scored two goals and assisted on a third by her Breakers teammate Dagny Mellgren to lead the World All-Stars to a 3-2 victory and earn All-Star Game MVP honors. Two months later, Meinert, 30, would also win 2003 league MVP honors in her final professional season before retirement.
The WUSA folded on September 15, 2003, on the eve of the Women’s World Cup tournament that this game was intended to preview.
In 2009, a re-booted version of the Boston Breakers held a tribute night for the now-retired Maren Meinert and presented this video montage of her WUSA highlights:
Soccer America match report.