News of the Los Angeles Sol's unfortunate circumstance rocked the Internet Thursday last week. Columnists and bloggers speculated, Twitter users exchanged tweets and retweeted, posts were made on message boards, general managers appeased worried fans, supporters groups banded together.
Once the dust settled, all eyes turned to the inevitable—the first ever WPS Dispersal Draft.
At 1 PM ET today, the league will hold a draft where the remaining eight teams will pick from the Sol's pool of 20 players through a conference call. This time, nobody's hyping anything up.
Where the mood was celebratory at the college draft a few weeks ago, the mood this time is more somber. In a new league looking for growth and stability, and with its teams being supportive of one another, the Dispersal Draft is a type of event one would akin to having a wisdom tooth pulled.
It is dreaded, but has to be done.
Washington Freedom head coach Jim Gabarra took some time a few hours before the draft to share his thoughts and answer a few questions:
Kat Galsim: What were your initial thoughts when you found out that the Los Angeles Sol would cease operations in the league?
Jim Gabarra: I was hugely disappointed and up until the Dispersal Draft kept hoping that it was a bad dream or there would be some solution to save the franchise. I feel terrible for (general manager) Charlie (Naimo) and all the Sol players.
KG: Losing last year's regular season champion, with a four-time FIFA World Player of the Year, how do you think this would affect the league this season?
JG: It is part of the process of new leagues and I have been part of pro soccer here in the U.S. for the past 28 years and have been on teams and leagues that have folded. It never is a positive but we have a great product and I really believe that we will have a team back in LA.
KG: How do you think this would affect the Washington Freedom as a team, especially after last month's college draft?
JG: We will have the opportunity to add a quality player or two to our roster. It will increase the competition for roster spots and playing time.
KG: Do you still stand by your goal of looking for a defender or a defensive midfielder?
JG: Since we are picking after six teams we will not be in a position of having to be so limited in our positional need.
KG: You have 7th, 10th, and 23rd picks in the Dispersal Draft. Is a week enough time for you to take a look at the Sol players and see who you would like to draft?
JG: We have had enough time to prepare but as with all draft situations you cannot have all the answers until teams actually start picking.
Watch out for a post-draft interview with Gabarra here on the Bleacher Report.
PHOTO CREDIT: Charlotte Mace