Team History: Founded in 2008 by a group led by the NeSmith family, the Gold Pride became the last team to be named as a participant in the inaugural season of WPS, replacing the Dallas team that failed to organize in time to make it on the pitch in 2009. Though they will represent the entire Bay Area, they are headquartered in Santa Clara.
The Coach: Albertin Montoya was a first round draft pick of the San Jose Clash and has experience as an assistant coach with some college teams and the now-defunct San Jose CyberRays. His assistant coach, who is known by the nickname Sissi, is from Brazil and was one of the best female players in the world around the turn of the century.
The Players: The Gold Pride has more international flavor than most other founding teams. In addition to their three Brazilian stars, they also have forwards Christine Sinclair (Canada) and Eriko Arakawa (Japan), who has the best hair in the league. Rounding out the roster are two Americans, keeper Nicole Barnhart and legend Brandi Chastain.
The Venue: The Gold Pride will play at Santa Clara University’s Buck Shaw Stadium, the same field where the San Jose Earthquakes of MLS ply their trade. It is a small venue (roughly 10,000 capacity), but I think the diehard Bay Area fans will fill it near capacity at every match. With fan favorites like Chastain on the pitch, supporters will show up.
The Prediction: This appears to be a very attacking team that could easily put up multiple goals a game. In order to finish near the top of the table though, they will need to remain dedicated on defense. With so much international talent and one of the best keepers in the US in goal, I believe Gold Pride fans will have a lot to be proud of in 2009.