Boston Breakers have history on their side in home openers

(April 3, 2017) – When April 23 arrives, the Breakers will play their 12th home opener in franchise history, more than any other women’s pro soccer team in U.S. history.

“Home openers are my favorite of all games,” Boston Breakers President of Soccer Operations and Development Lee Billiard said. “Leading up to the home opener, you have a mixture of emotions - some nerves, some stress making sure all the final details are dealt with, but mostly excitement.”

The Breakers welcome their New Jersey rivals Sky Blue FC to Jordan Field in Allston, Mass. at 4 p.m. ET on April 23. The teams have a history dating back to 2009.

“There is always a good buzz for the home opener, and this upcoming April 23 opener is one I am really excited for,” Billiard said. “I’m excited for the new players to see what great support they have in Boston, and excited for the fans to see this new look Breakers team.”

This year’s Breakers feature 11 new players, including the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NWSL College Draft, U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Rose Lavelle, along with recent U.S. call-up, defender Megan Oyster, three NCAA National Champions – Oyster (UCLA, 2013), Morgan Andrews (USC, 2016) and New Zealand international Rosie White (UCLA, 2013), Canada Women’s National Team defender Allysha Chapman and forward Adriana Leon, former Breakers midfielders Amanda Da Costa and Tiffany Weimer, Norwegian forward Emilie Haavi, who recently won a Toppserien championship with LSK Kvinner, defender Amanda Frisbie, fresh off winning a Úrvalsdeild championship in Iceland with her team, Stjarnan, and former Harvard star, two-time Ivy League Player of the Year, and current member of the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team, Margaret Purce.

The Breakers return a handful of players from a year ago, and that group includes the senior most member of the team – defender Julie King, who enters her sixth season with the Breakers. April 23, 2017 will mark the third straight home opener at Jordan Field for King.

“The home opener has a special element of excitement and energy to it,” said King, who has started the last three home openers for the Breakers and scored in a 3-2 win over the Houston Dash on April 26. 2015. “It’s something both the players and fans have been anxiously awaiting.”

The Breakers’ home openers have proven to be one of the hottest tickets in town each and every season, no matter the venue. The Breakers have hosted home openers at Nickerson Field (2000-2003), Harvard Stadium (2009-2011, 2014), Dilboy Stadium (2012, 2013), and Jordan Field (2015, 2016).

“We have always had very good attendances at our home openers, and that is what gets the players most excited, seeing the turn out,” Billiard said. “The plan for any sports team is to be formidable at home, to make it a fortress and a place where opposing teams hate coming. That’s no different for us, and with the growing support we have had each year, seeing all of the stands full really gives the players that extra push to win in front of our home crowd.”

The Breakers sold out their home openers in 2001 and 2013, and were just a handful shy of a sellout in both 2002 and 2016. The other seven home openers saw an average of more than 3,500 fans.

“Breakers fans have been so loyal and have provided an incredible playing atmosphere for us every season,” King said. “As this season approaches, I’m getting more and more excited for our home opener and for our fans to cheer on this new squad.”

Attendance at Breakers home openers has gone up in each of the last three seasons. Last season, in addition to packing nearly 4,000 into Jordan Field, the Breakers sold out three games completely and set a franchise home attendance record (NWSL era) on July 31, 2016 when 4,379 packed Jordan Field to see a 1-0 win over the Orlando Pride.

Fans can secure tickets to the 2017 home opener (and all 12 home games this year) by calling 617-945-1704 or by going to breakerstickets.com.

“I would recommend fans get their tickets ASAP,” Billiard said. “If we continue expanding attendances like we have every year, and with this new team, it's going to be a fantastic place to be and hopefully even more sellouts than last year.”

Did you know

The Breakers have outscored their opponents, 20-16, in their home openers … There have been 14 different goal scorers on opening day for the Breakers. The leader is Kelly Smith (3), followed by Kristine Lilly (2), Maren Meinert (2), and Kyah Simon (2). Players adding solo goals at Boston’s home openers are: Julie King, Nkem Ezurike, Heather O’Reilly, Joanna Lohman, Sydney Leroux, Tameka Butt, Katie Schoepfer, Dagny Mellgren, Angela Hucles, and Devvyn Hawkins). One goal was an own goal (Carli Lloyd, Houston, April 26, 2015, a 3-2 Breakers win).

The average attendance at Breakers home openers is 4,470.

Only three of the 11 home openers have ended in a shutout. The Breakers beat Saint Louis Athletica, 2-0, on April 11, 2009, getting a goal apiece from Kelly Smith and Kristine Lilly. The other two were a 1-0 loss to Atlanta on May 5, 2001, and a 3-0 defeat to Seattle Reign FC on April 24, 2016.

Four games have seen the Breakers score three or more goals in home opener victories. They topped the Atlanta Beat, 3-1, on April 20, 2002, got past the Philadelphia Charge, 3-1, on April 26, 2003, beat FC Indiana, 4-1, on May 18, 2012, and came away with a 3-2 win over the Houston Dash on April 26, 2015.

Boston Breakers home openers

May 5, 2001: L 1-0 Atlanta Beat

April 20, 2002: W 3-1 Atlanta Beat

April 26, 2003: W 3-1 Philadelphia Charge

April 11, 2009: W 2-0 Saint Louis Athletica

April 18, 2010: T 1-1 Philadelphia Independence

April 17, 2011: L 2-1 Western New York Flash

May 18, 2012: W 4-1 FC Indiana

April 14, 2013: T 1-1 Washington Spirit

April 20, 2014: L 3-2 Houston Dash

April 26, 2015: W 3-2 Houston Dash

April 24, 2016: L 3-0 Seattle Reign FC