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Beat Defender out for Remainder of Season

June 21, 2011 - Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) - Atlanta Beat News Release

KENNESAW, GA - Atlanta Beat defender Keeley Dowling suffered a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear Sunday night against the Boston Breakers when she landed awkwardly after a playing a long ball at KSU Soccer Stadium.

"It was an everyday pass," said Dowling. "When I kicked the ball with my right foot, it came down under me and pretty much just buckled beneath me. I knew at that moment that something wasn't right."

Dowling has started all 11 matches this season and has logged 945 minutes at her center back position. Now in her third WPS season, she brings a great deal of experience to the Beat's defensive unit.

"I am obviously going to have to reshuffle things," said head coach James Galanis. "The players have become so comfortable playing with each other, and they were starting to do well. The loss of Keeley is legitimately a set-back. The defense that Keeley brings to the table is gone, and now all of a sudden our backline has only one experienced defender."

Dowling will soon undergo surgery to repair the torn ACL. She has a long road to recovery ahead of her. However she remains optimistic and thinks of her team.

"The positive is that I fall in the category of only three percent of people who tear their ACL without injuring anything else. Hopefully that will help me with a quick recovery," she says.

"I think that generally speaking, our team is constantly developing and evolving, and each player is embracing the game and getting better. Specifically as a backline, we were definitely gelling more and more in each game. When you lose a player anywhere on the field, it's going to affect the team. Obviously it's a bummer for me but the team is not missing much of a beat. There are still six games left, and we can still make a run for playoffs. I am confident in the way everyone is playing now, and I think they will be great."

Coach Galanis will have only one training session at home before traveling to New Jersey on Tuesday, June 21 for their midweek match-up against Sky Blue FC (NY/NJ) on Wednesday, June 22. "We've got a couple of options, and we're going to get them on the training field to take a look at what the best combination is," says the coach. "We'll be trying out a new backline on Wednesday against New Jersey."

With a large void to fill, Galanis speaks of Dowling's personality as both a player and a role model. "Keeley has been an amazing leader for us on and off the field," he says. "On the field, she is calm and composed in pressure situations. Off the field, she is a respected experienced player that all our young players look up to. She is always positive, and we are definitely going to miss her in games and in the locker room."

Dowling signed with the Beat as a free agent on January 11, 2011, following two strong seasons with Sky Blue. She started 18 of 19 games with the New Jersey club in 2009 and 18 of 20 in 2010.

About the Atlanta Beat The Atlanta Beat joined Women's Professional Soccer as one of two expansion clubs in the 2010 season. Atlanta entrepreneur T. Fitz Johnson secured the rights to the Atlanta team in September 2008 before the club officially became a WPS franchise on June 18, 2009. The Beat play all WPS home games in Kennesaw Georgia at KSU Soccer Stadium, the world's only women's soccer specific stadium of this magnitude. Atlanta's new team takes on the same name as the market's former Women's United Soccer Association club which was the only WUSA team to reach the playoffs in every season. The Beat's colors are Ferrari Red, Championship Gold, and Black.

Women's Professional Soccer Women's Professional Soccer is the world's best soccer league for women, featuring stars from the U.S. National team and around the globe. In 2011, WPS will feature a six-team league playing 18-games each from April through August for the chance to qualify for the WPS Playoffs. The top team in the regular season will earn the right to host the WPS Championship presented by Citi as the top seed on August 27. The six teams include Atlanta Beat, Boston Breakers, Philadelphia Independence, Sky Blue FC (New Jersey), magicJack (Florida) and Western New York Flash.

About WellStar WellStar Health System is the official jersey sponsor and Healthcare provider for the Atlanta Beat of Women's Professional Soccer. WellStar, a not-for-profit health system, includes Cobb, Douglas, Kennestone, Paulding and Windy Hill hospitals; WellStar Physicians Group; Urgent Care Centers; Health Place; Homecare; Hospice; Atherton Place; Paulding Nursing Center; and WellStar Foundation. For more information, call 770-956-STAR or visit

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