Breaking News: WPS Discontinues Operations of Los Angeles Sol

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Breaking News: WPS Discontinues Operations of Los Angeles Sol

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (January 28, 2010)After several weeks of negotiations with a potential new ownership group fell through at the last minute, Women’s Professional Soccer discontinued operations of the Los Angeles Sol on Thursday. The rights to the 19 players currently held by the Sol will be dispersed during a special draft for the league’s eight franchises on Thursday, February 4 and will be announced later in the day.

“While it’s regrettable to lose the Los Angeles market as part of our WPS footprint, we are pleased to have two new teams coming into the league in 2010,” said WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci. “The league and our ownership committee worked incredibly hard over the past month to complete the transaction. In the end, we ran out of time and came up short of where we needed to be funding-wise for the Sol in 2010.”

The Los Angeles Sol had been under custody of the league since late November when AEG gave back its ownership stake in the team to the league.

“Ownership changes are part of pro sports, particularly in a young league, and we have made solid progress in growing WPS from where we were last season,” said Antonucci. “We believe Los Angeles is a healthy, viable market for women’s pro soccer and a city where our league can again thrive with an LA franchise in the future.”

The league will now feature an even eight-team, single table format for the 2010 WPS regular season with more details of the 2010 WPS Season to be unveiled next week.

“All the team owners and members of the Board are confident that this setback will be quickly overcome by the exciting developments that the league has in store for the 2010 WPS Season,” said WPS Board Member and Atlanta Beat Chairman T. Fitz Johnson. “This includes two new franchises, the debut of a brand new stadium built specifically for WPS, a longer regular season and an even better product on the field with incoming talent from the college ranks and the many top internationals that have been signed in the off-season.Without question, this season is poised to build on our successful launch year.”

Several of the Los Angeles players, including WPS All-Stars Shannon Boxx and Marta, are signed to multi-year, guaranteed contracts, and are expected to play in WPS for the remainder of their contracts with other WPS teams following the dispersal draft.

The dispersal draft will be held next Thursday with the eight franchises selecting players from the Sol roster over three rounds in the following order:

Round 1
1.    Atlanta Beat
2.    Philadelphia Independence
3.    FC Gold Pride (Bay Area)
4.    Chicago Red Stars
5.    Boston Breakers
6.    Sky Blue FC (NJ/NY)
7.    Washington Freedom
8.    Saint Louis Athletica

Round 2
9.    Saint Louis Athletica
10.    Washington Freedom
11.    Sky Blue FC (NJ/NY)
12.    Boston Breakers
13.    Chicago Red Stars
14.    FC Gold Pride (Bay Area)
15.    Philadelphia Independence
16.    Atlanta Beat

Round 3
17.    Atlanta Beat
18.    Philadelphia Independence
19.    FC Gold Pride (Bay Area)
20.    Chicago Red Stars
21.    Boston Breakers
22.    Sky Blue FC (NJ/NY)
23.    Washington Freedom
24.    Saint Louis Athletica

About Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS)
Headquartered in San Francisco, Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) is the world’s premier soccer league for women with eight teams across the United States featuring the best players from around the world. WPS completed its inaugural season in August 2009 as Sky Blue FC of New Jersey became the first-ever WPS Champions. In 2010, eight teams will each play 24-game schedules from April 10-September 12 including six original WPS teamsBoston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Gold Pride (Bay Area), Saint Louis Athletica, Sky Blue FC (NJ/NY) and Washington Freedomand two expansion teams Atlanta Beat and Philadelphia Independence. The top four finishers in the regular season will qualify for the 2010 WPS Playoffs scheduled for September 19-26. For more information, visit the WPS official website at www.womensprosoccer.com or follow all the news at www.twitter.com/womensprosoccer.

The previous story is a press release by the WPS and is reprinted as part of an agreement between the WPS and the Bleacher Report. What's News is the alternate profile of Bleacher Report writer Todd Civin and is used strictly for press releases of the WPS and it's teams.
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