Chinese star leaves Atlanta to concentrate on World Cup

January 30, 2003

ATLANTA -- Chinese soccer star Sun Wen left the WUSA's Atlanta Beat on Thursday so she can concentrate on playing for her national team heading into the World Cup.

Wen, who shared FIFA's player of the year award in 2000, scored seven goals and had three assists during two injury plagued seasons with the Beat.

``Unfortunately we only saw glimpses of her greatness, as she fought knee pain throughout her time with the Beat,'' coach Tom Stone said.

Sun will remain with the Chinese national team as it prepares for the World Cup, which is being held in her home country this fall.

Sun was the first pick in the inaugural WUSA draft, but underwent knee surgery before joining the Beat. Sun spent most of the first half of the 2001 recovering and started only five of the 13 games she played.

After managing one goal during the regular season, Sun scored twice in the playoffs, helping the Beat reach the title game.

Sun played in 18 games last season, making 10 starts. She scored four goals as the Beat earned another playoff berth, but they were eliminated in the semifinals.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press