WPS Folds After 3 Year Stint and Lots of Problems
The WPS officially announced on Friday they have played their last game and the league has folded. The league had been rumored to be in trouble for the past two years after several teams folded in 2011. It’s the second professional women’s soccer league to fold. The WUSA ran from 2000-2003 before folding.
“We sincerely regret having to take this course of action,” said T. Fitz Johnson, chairman of the WPS Board of Governors and owner of the Atlanta Beat, one of five teams that remained at the end. The statement came in a release posted on the league’s Facebook page.
“We are proud of what WPS has accomplished, having attracted the highest quality players in the world to play in the best women’s league, as well as the progress women’s soccer has enjoyed over the past three years,” CEO and president of the New Jersey-based Sky Blue club Thomas Hofstetter said. “We are extremely grateful to our sponsors, the talented players and dedicated fans that made this league so special.”
The WPS owners also announced it had reached a private settlement with Dan Borislow.
In 2011, new Washington Freedom owner Dan Borislow promptly announced he would move his team to South Florida and change their name to magicJack, the company he founded.
Borislow immediately started challenging the WPS rules, some of them being US Soccer standards and other FIFA standards. Eventually the WPS dropped magicJack and Borislow. A law suit was filed by Borislow and a major media mess followed with accusations from both parties including players who even said Borislow asked them to call him “daddy.”
After dropping the South Florida team it left the WPS with only 5 teams. US Soccer said they would not sanction the group and then changed their mind once the WPS owners stated they had enough support to get to 8 teams by 2013. But after the lawsuit by Borislow, the league withdrew for the 2012 season and stated they would come back for the 2013 season. The announcement on Friday puts an end to that plan.
No matter the issues involved with magicJack, the WPS had deeper seated problems than Borislow. For some time those who followed the league said the salaries were too high for the gate they were taking and spending habits were also too high, often spending more like MLS teams than D2 or D3 professional men’s teams in the US, who often had attendance figures that were much closer to WPS.
The WPS was the home to many of the world’s top women players. Many of those have gone on to play in other leagues with some going to Europe.
Most US-based players are currently now playing one of two pro/am leagues, the WPSL Elite League and the W League.