This is my 200th article for Bleacher Report, and it is unfortunate that it is a somber one. January 28, 2010 will go down as a day that I will never forget. Actually, it's a day that I do not want to remember at all. It's a day that is worthy to be damned if you follow women's soccer in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Sol—the 2009 Women's Professional Soccer regular season champions and runners-up to Sky Blue FC—folded, according to the WPS's Robert Penner.
Not even news that Long Beach State's basketball teams swept Cal State Northridge that same night could assuage the fact the team I had covered for six months is no longer in existence.
With this, the Pali Blues of the W-League (one tier below WPS) become the major women's soccer club in the City of Angels.
Granted, the Blues are one of the best teams in the W-League, if not the best—they are the defending champions, for Marta's sake—but they play in a high school stadium (Pacific Palisades High School's Stadium by the Sea), and the Sol's demise means the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA become the remaining club tenants of the world game. I'm mulling a request for a press credential to write on the Galaxy's home matches.
For fans of the Sol, it makes you wonder what could have been if they had completed the double and defeated Sky Blue FC, then managed by Christie Rampone. Maybe this whole fiasco would have been averted.
I also am up in arms about two things regarding the Anschutz Entertainment Group: 1. They were unable to find another owner, and 2. They chose to troll the new would-be owners of the club by folding the club's operations.
From my perspective, the club could have been saved by its own fans. You see, I have seen non-league football in England for quite some time, and I have seen the benefits of having a club run by the fans through the power of each fan being a club shareholder.
If there were a group of fans willing to invest in ownership of the club by using a little piece of AFC Wimbledon's playbook, the Sol would still be alive, and be even more appealing because the team would be community-owned.
This brings up bad memories of the disastrous three-year experiment that was the WUSA. It seems to me that the lessons from that weren't learned, or that companies like AEG should never have been given the reins to operate a club like this.
Actually, I think if just about every WPS club is community-owned and operated-with its own special board of trustees/executives, it would be a good thing. Now this is just my perspective. Whether or not it will be successful in the long-run has yet to be determined.
I am confident Los Angeles will again have a team competing in the WPS. I would be a fool to tell you this has not made a negative impression on the league, and perhaps women's soccer in general. Those who came to the Sol's home games at the Home Depot Center were not disappointed by what they saw.
It was the best football they could get, at a price they could afford. This team had Marta, the defending FIFA Women's Player of the Year! Now the memories LA Sol fans have become even more priceless. It was a dream come true for those who sang "This is L.A." by The Briggs.
In the end, it was managed by a organization of selfish, cold-hearted business that simply did not have any wish to operate it, nor give it a chance with those who were willing to do so. For that, January 28, 2010 will forever be a day that should be cursed for those who were loyal fans of the Los Angeles Sol.
I will provide an updated version of the preseason power rankings to reflect these changes. As always, the weekly power rankings will continue on as scheduled.