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Changes aplenty as Madison 56ers head into fifth WPSL season

04/18/2014, 9:45pm CDT
Madison 56ers WPSL logo

The Madison 56ers will have a new home field, a new regional set-up and new opponents during their fifth season in the Women's Premier Soccer League.

The team will play at Warner Park this summer, moving to the complex on the city's east side after calling Breese Stevens Field home for its first four years.

The 56ers are one of only four returning teams in the Midwest Region for 2014, along with the Des Moines Menace, Ohio Galaxies and Fire and Ice SC.

The Kansas City Shock, who joined the Galaxies and Fire and Ice atop the nine-team standings in 2013 with 6-2-0 records, initially also were set to play in the league this summer, but withdrew this week and were promptly replaced by the KC Courage.

They join seven other new sides in the revamped Midwest, which has been split into two six-team divisions.

Madison, which tied the Menace for fourth (5-3-0) last year but missed out on the final spot in the regional playoffs on goal differential (plus-7 to plus-6), is set to open its 10-game Central Division schedule May 31 at home against newcomer Minnesota Twin Stars.

The other new entry in the Central is the Chicago Red Stars Reserves – the club's first team played in the Midwest Region in 2011 and in the WPSL Elite Division in 2012 before the National Women's Soccer League started last year.

The Galaxies, who won the regular-season Midwest title last year on goal differential over the Shock and Illinois side Fire and Ice SC, are the only returning team in the six-team Great Lakes Division.

The newcomers are the Cincinnati Lady Saints, Columbus Eagles (Ohio), Indianapolis' FC Pride and Detroit's Motor City FC, while FC Indiana also returns to the WPSL – they played in the Midwest from 2005 to '07 and 2011 and were part of the Elite Division in 2012, winning two league titles in that span.

The top two finishers from the Central and Great Lakes divisions will meet in the Midwest playoffs on July 19, with the regional championship July 20.


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