Earlier this month we learned that FC Gold Pride and the Washington Freedom had failed to make escrow payments, to secure a 2011 season. The deadline was extended to mid-November, so that hopefully new investors would step up and save the teams from folding. Only one team made it though.
WPS released a statement that said the Washington Freedom were able to secure one more season as an investor came through for them, but FCGP has ceased operations. The league will move on with 6 teams (Atlanta, Washington, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Boston, and the expansion team of Western New York). All FCGP players have become free agents.
After the FCGP and Washington news broke out, we also learned that Chicago was searching for new investors. Their deadline has been extended to mid-December, and if they don’t make it, the league will move on with six teams. Of course it’s better to have 7 teams, but as of now, the league exists only on the east coast.
“While it is disappointing to the league and its many enthusiastic fans, players, and partners that FC Gold Pride did not find the level of support it aimed for in its market, the continuing WPS teams have fully committed to the 2011 WPS season,” said WPS CEO Anne-Marie Eileraas. “These past few weeks have been critical to ensuring the long-term health of the league, and we are pleased to be moving forward today with these six committed teams for the 2011 Season. We are hopeful that Chicago will also join those teams for 2011. We are looking forward to a great summer of WPS soccer next year with those teams in light of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will give fans around the world the opportunity to see the exciting play of many WPS players on the sport’s biggest stage.”
Western New York will have one day to pick six free agents on the expansion draft list of unprotected players on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, the rest of the league will will begin to contact players once free agency opens at 12:01 am ET.