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WPS Sky Blue FC Honored at the White House

July 2, 2010 - Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) News Release

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (July 1, 2010) - President Barack Obama welcomed 2009 Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) champions Sky Blue FC to the White House late Thursday afternoon to honor the team's championship run during the WPS Inaugural Season. In conjunction with the event, the league also announced the launch of its "Get Active!" campaign that supports First Lady Michelle Obama's initiative of fighting childhood obesity across the country.

Get Active! supports the cause of eliminating childhood obesity by engaging with local communities and families through the sport of soccer. Through the Get Active! Program, WPS hopes to inspire and educate our youth to live active, healthy lives through participation in sports, and soccer in particular, with at least 60 minutes of exercise every day.

"Our sport is about living a healthy, active lifestyle," said WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci. "And our athletes are great role models and spokespeople to promote this Get Active! initiative of exercise through the sport of soccer. We are proud to support the First Lady's campaign for a healthier youth across America and thank President Obama for recognizing Women's Professional Soccer today at the White House by celebrating 2009 WPS Champions Sky Blue FC."

"This team came together when it counted," said President Obama about Sky Blue FC's last-to-first run during the 2009 season. "No matter what obstacles they faced, no matter what disappointments and distractions they had to deal with, they had each other's backs, and they stayed focused on their ultimate goal. That's what teams do. They work hard. This team loves being an underdog, and in the end, that made all the difference."

The President also commented on the remarkable story of Sky Blue FC captain and two-time WPS All-Star Christie Rampone, who led her team to the title as interim coach and starting defender while playing three months pregnant, and then pointed to all WPS players as incredible athletic role models.

"The women on this team aren't playing for fame or fortune. They are spending countless hours in the gym and on the practice field because they recognize a rare opportunity to do the thing that they love. They believe in using their God-given talent to inspire the next generation to reach a little higher and work a little harder," President Obama said. "And that sense of responsibility also extends off the pitch. I'm pleased that the WPS is creating a program called Get Active! that will sponsor 3-on-3 soccer tournaments, and help young people learn about the importance of living healthy, active lives."

As part of of Get Active! WPS teams will put on a series of 3-on-3 tournaments later this summer that will be held for children from their surrounding communities. Throughout the tournaments, the children will learn the benefits and importance of staying fit and living active, healthy lifestyles. WPS Players will also be on hand to help teach soccer skills and deliver these messages. In conjunction with the 3-on-3 tournaments, the participants will also attend a WPS game.

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