BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- What a difference a year makes for Chicago Red Stars goalkeeper Jillian Loyden.
Last season, the Vineland, N.J., native played second fiddle to U.S. Women's National Team starting goalkeeper and former Saint Louis Athletica starter Hope Solo. Loyden had a few opportunities in the net during the inaugural 2009 Women's Professional Soccer campaign, including a shutout against the Red Stars. But she was not a part of the regular week-to-week spotlight.
"I think it was the best environment possible to learn, grow and develop as a goalkeeper," Loyden said. "It helped me transition a bit better having that experience under my belt, although I think I am still adjusting and still have a lot of work to do."
Everything changed this season with the Red Stars, and now Loyden is representing the team at this Wednesday's 2010 WPS All-Star Game presented by U.S. Coast Guard Reserve.
"I was definitely shocked and surprised," Loyden said of her inclusion. "There are so many talented players in this league, and to be chosen is an honor. It should be a lot of fun to play with my Red Stars teammates and my teammates of the past."
Loyden, midfielder Karen Carney and forward Cristiane represent the Red Stars for the WPS All-Star Game, which takes place at 7 p.m. CT Wednesday, June 30, at KSU Soccer Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga. The match is televised on Fox Soccer Channel, and preview coverage starts at 6:30 p.m.
Read more at ChicagoRedStars.com.