Women’s Professional Soccer to cancel 2012 season
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • January 30, 2012 @ 1:20pm
According to Charles Boehm of the National Soccer Wire, Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) has chosen to cancel the 2012 season. The league’s defending champions, the Western New York Flash, do not currently have a league to play in for the coming season.
The source caught wind of a league-wide email to players and coaches that stated the 2012 season was not feasible due to the on-going legal battle with former MagicJack team owner Dan Borislow, whose team was terminated at the conclusion of last season.
“Everyone has been trying so hard to keep things going—considering settlement options, discussing union legal action to intervene in the lawsuit, etc.,” reads the WPS’ email according to Boehm, “but we just couldn’t manage to make things work.”
The decision has already hit current and former top women’s players hard.
The Western New York Flash organization has released a statement on the club’s future, both 2012 and beyond:
“In 2012, we intend to field a professional team and play in the highest level of competition in the United States . Our organization will contact U.S.-based leagues to apply for admission for competition in 2012. In cooperation with the appropriate league we would like to organize and be part of an elite/pro division to compete in. Our organization will operate much the same as it did in 2011, as a full professional entity albeit with a significantly shorter season. We are hopeful that the Flash continuing to play in 2012 will serve as a link between the 2011 and proposed 2013 season.”
The team further announced that it has already refunded any season ticket purchases that have already been made.
The bad news regarding the top women’s professional soccer league in the U.S. comes after two months of encouraging developments: the WPS earned another waiver to remain a top-flight league according to U.S. Soccer, the U.S. women’s Olympic team sailed through qualifying and Borislow temporarily dropped his legal suit once a compromise deal had been agreed upon.
At the same time though, the news isn’t that surprising. The fact that many of the league’s marquee players, like forward Abby Wambach and goalie Hope Solo, had not latched onto teams in advance of the 2012 season signaled that the state of the league was tenuous, that Borislow’s legal proceedings (and the accruing expenses) truly did threaten the health of the WPS. The compromise deal with Borislow, which oddly deemed his MagicJack team as “professional” despite not officially being part of the WPS, seemed incredibly bizarre.
Here’s more from the press release on why Women’s Professional Soccer is taking a break:
It is WPS’s intention to take 2012 off to attempt to resolve 2 major problems that confront WPS now:
1) resolve legal disputes between the league and a terminated franchise and
2) make needed adjustments to its business model.
The 5 owners of WPS recognize and understand the difficulty of taking a year off and attempting to restart the league in 2013. It is however, impossible to play a 2012 season while at the same time effectively addressing the problems facing the league.
It’s a pity that one former owner’s rebellious actions have stunted the growth of women’s professional soccer in the United States.