By John Philip Wyllie
Maribel Dominguez, the captain of Mexico’s women’s national soccer team, will be among the many stars participating in this weekend’s WUSA Festival at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Dominguez, whose seven goals and four assists last season made her a WUSA Rookie of the Year finalist, will be suiting up as a guest player for the Carolina Courage. She and her teammates will take on the San Diego Spirit in the second game of a triple-header scheduled for Sunday at noon.
The four-day festival began on Thursday and will include youth soccer clinics, player appearance/autograph signings and a coaching seminar. It will culminate Sunday with three games.
The first of these will be a charity benefit game (11:00 a.m.) featuring celebrities from the silver screen, television and the music industry. Among the most notable are film star, Owen Wilson (“Starsky & Hutch”, “Behind Enemy Lines”), Anthony La Paglia, star of TV’s “Without a Trace,” and various band members from groups such as Def Leppard, The Cult and The Foo Fighters.
At noon, guest players Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach will join a San Diego Spirit team headed by international stars Shannon MacMillan, Joy Faw-cett and Julie Foudy as they battle guest players Dominguez and Charmaine Hooper (formerly teammates on the Atlanta Beat) and a Carolina Courage roster featuring internationals Tiffany Roberts and Cindy Parlow. The final game of the festival is slated to begin at 2:30. It will pit the players from the Philadelphia Charge (Marinette Pichon, Kelly Smith, Lorrie Fair) against the San Jose Cyber-Rays (Brandi Chastain, Katia, Sissi).
The intent of the festival is to spark interest in reviving the WUSA or women’s professional soccer league. The WUSA operated for three seasons before folding last fall primarily due to a lack of sponsorship.
Following the festival, Dominguez will rejoin her teammates at their Mexico City training camp. Together, they will continue preparations for Mexico’s first Olympic appearance in women’s soccer.
Tickets for Sunday’s triple-header begin at $15 and are available through Ticketmaster and at the Home Depot Center box office.