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Merseyside derby opens FA WSL season
 Women's Football News 20 Feb 2013
Merseyside derby opens FA WSL season - 20 Feb 2013 - Women's Football NewsFollowing the announcement of the FA Women's Super League fixtures for season three, the opening weekend will be one to watch for Merseyside football fans as Liverpool take on Everton in Group Stage One matches of the FA WSL Continental Cup, which will also mark ESPN's first live match of the WSL season. 
The match, which kicks off at 7pm on Saturday 23rd March, promises to be a spectacular start to the season with both teams bringing in new faces to their squad.
Under the management of Matt Beard, Liverpool's new line up includes Fara Williams and Natasha Dowie who have stepped across from Everton, international defender Whitney Engen of USA, Icelandic international Katrin Ómarsdóttir and Gemma Bonner from Chelsea.
Everton will be kicking off the season with new manager at the helm, Andy Spence, and also boast an impressive squad with three England international players including Toni Duggan and Alex Greenwood who recently picked up individual honours at the FA England Awards. In addition the experienced side includes Jill Scott, Danielle Hill, Fern Whelan, Lindsey Johnson and twins Kelly and Vicky Jones who have recently switched from Liverpool.
The Cup tie will be the first competitive match to be played at the impressive Halton Stadium; the new home of Liverpool Ladies which is also home to Rugby League outfit Widnes Vikings.
Liverpool manager Matt Beard commented: "This couldn't be a better start to the season - the first match at our new home ground, against our local rivals Everton, with a totally reshaped squad, live on ESPN! It will be a good test to see how our new squad settle in and how we are progressing as a group. We are really hoping such an exciting fixture will attract a good crowd."
Andy Spence, new Everton manager, added: "Derby games on Merseyside are always exciting affairs so there's no better way to kick off the season. We are really looking forward to it and hopefully there will be a big crowd there to get behind the girls on the night."
The FA WSL Continental Cup now in its third year, is formatted into two groups with teams facing three round-robin group games. The top two teams of each group will progress to the semi finals, where group winners will take home advantage over the runners up of the opposing group, for a place in the final.
With tickets costing only £5 for an adult and £2.50 for children and concessions, the Merseyside derby offers a perfect opportunity to experience top class women's professional football at an affordable price.
In addition, The FA Girls' Football Festival in association with Continental Tyres will be coming to Halton Stadium ahead of the game from 6pm. The FREE event offers girls of all ages and ability the opportunity to experience football in an informal fun environment. A new interactive trailer will house trophies and digital stations, and a range of innovative equipment including target shots, speed cages and batak boards will allow girls to test their skills. There will also be hair braiding and face painting to add to the festival atmosphere.
Following the announcement that the Merseyside derby will be broadcast live on ESPN from 7pm, both sides will be looking forward to showcasing the skills and quality of women's professional football on national television and are urging fans to be part of an exciting opening weekend of FA WSL Continental Cup action.
Laura Hardy, sponsorship manager at Continental Tyres, said: "We are really proud to be in our third year of supporting The FA WSL Continental Cup. It is fantastic that ESPN are broadcasting such an exciting Merseyside derby to kick off The FA WSL season. This is set to be a fantastic family occasion, showcasing top class women's football, as well as bringing girls of all ages and ability the opportunity to experience football through fun and informal interactive games at The FA Girls' Football Festival."

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