Women's Professional Soccer League Folds After 3 Seasons
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - After suspending the 2012 season this past January hoping to return next year, it was announced that the Women's Professional Soccer league has officially folded after three seasons.
"We sincerely regret having to take this course of action," T. Fitz Johnson, owner of the Atlanta Beat and chairman of the board of governors, said in a statement Friday.
The WPS debuted with seven teams in 2009. Franchises in Los Angeles, St. Louis, Chicago and the Bay Area folded, and teams were added in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Western New York.
The 2012 WPS season was cancelled due to a legal dispute with ousted owner Dan Borislow of the South Florida franchise, where he sued the league last summer and tried to terminate his own club in October. The WPS recently announced it had reached a confidential out-of-court settlement with Borislow.
Borislow purchased the former Washington Freedom before last season and moved the club to South Florida, where the team was renamed the magicJack. Throughout the season, the club could not meet league standards and the WPS accused him of violations ranging from "unprofessional and disparaging treatment of his players to failure to pay his bills."
Currently, many previous WPS players have signed with teams in the semi-pro WPSL and W-League. Most notably, Husky alums Hope Solo (previous club: magicJack), Kate Deines (Atlanta Beat) and Veronica Perez (Athletica) have joined the Sounders Women this season.
Although the popularity of women's soccer began to rise after the United State's 1999 World Cup victory and the Women's World Cup thriller last summer, it wasn't enough to save the WPS. However, this year's London Olympics can attract another big audience for women's soccer.
TopDrawerSoccer.com also weighs in on the news in its 91st Minute blog.
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