Late last year we brought you news of the imminent demise of Women’s Professional Soccer in the Unites States. The cause was the loss of several teams in the league, which according to US Soccer rules, meant they would no longer have Division 1 status. The hope was they would find new teams to bring their numbers back up but after canceling the 2012 season, their hopes were never realized. It’s now been officially anounced, Women’s Professional Soccer is no more.
“We sincerely regret having to take this course of action,” said T. Fitz Johnson, owner of the Atlanta Beat and chairman of the board of governors.
The Women’s United Soccer Association spun out of the 1999 World Cup win but lasted just three seasons and eventually evolved into W.P.S. in 2009. Back in December of last year, Jennifer O’Sullivan, the league’s commissioner, said, “We are determined to provide the platform for the development of the next generation of national team players. There’s too much here to walk away from.”
“The 2012 WPS season was scrapped amid a legal dispute with an ousted owner. League officials had clashed with Dan Borislow of the South Florida franchise all last season and tried to terminate the club in October,” according to the Associated Press. “The WPS said Friday it had reached a confidential out-of-court settlement with Borislow, who sued the league last summer. Now U.S. stars such as Abby Wambach and Hope Solo will have to find other ways to stay sharp after the Olympics.”
Wambach spoke to the press about the news at the U.S. Olympic team’s training camp:
Our mission from the national team’s perspective is still the same. For us, it’s about working for that gold medal. Of course, we’re all saddened by the news of the WPS, but as the 2012 season was already suspended, we made it our goal to do everything we could within our power to help the future professional league in the United States. We can only control what we can control to give professional women’s soccer a chance here in the United States in the future, and right now that means preparing as hard as we can for the Olympics.
While many feel like this is it for the W.P.S., some are still holding out hope post-Olypmics. Atlanta Beat player Carli Lloyd said, “I don’t think the pay can be as glamorous as it has been in the [WPS]. Maybe partnering with [Major League Soccer] would be beneficial, like the WNBA does with the NBA.”
The news hasn’t been posted on the official website for the W.P.S. as of yet but fans have been able to express their anger and sadness on their Facebook page. 1550 ESPN Deportes Raleigh called it a “Sad day for women’s soccer.”
(via Sports Illustrated)