WPS folds after three seasons

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It is a dark day for women's soccer in America. Women's Professional Soccer is no more.

WPS has stopped operations permanently and is dissolving after three seasons, the league announced on Friday.

"We sincerely regret having to take this course of action," said T. Fitz Johnson, owner of the Atlanta Beat and chairman of the WPS board.

The league's folding is the final development in what has been an unsteady number of months. WPS and former franchise magicJack owner Dan Borislow were embroiled in a legal dispute after the league terminated the franchise last October, leaving WPS with only five teams.

Even so, the league was given provisional 2012 sanctioning by U.S. Soccer only to suspend the season in large part to the legal dispute with Borislow. The league announced that the dispute with Borislow was settled on Friday as well, with the two sides coming to a confidential agreement outside of court.

As a result of the league's folding, the majority of players for the U.S. women's national team are without clubs, though some have signed on with teams in the W-League. Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Sydney LeRoux and Megan Rapinoe, for example, are all with the Seattle Sounders women. The league only lasts through mid-July, however, and the national team players involved in the W-League will miss most of the season for the Olympics before returning to the United States from London without teams to call their own.

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What do you think of this development? Sad that WPS is gone? Did you think it was inevitable? What do you think it means for the future of women's soccer in the USA?

Share your thoughts below. 

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47 Responses to WPS folds after three seasons

  1. Dos says:

    This is terrible, terrible . . . this is something that will have a pretty harsh effect on the next world cup team I am thinking.

  2. Aguinaga says:

    Feel really bad for the league, the ladies, and the fans. Wish more fans had gone to the games. Agree with the negative impact on the national team. Sad day indeed.

  3. BSU SC says:

    Unfortunate, but not a surprise.

    It’s amazing how poorly women’s soccer has been managed at the professional level

  4. Tim F. says:

    Why didn’t that Magic Jack owner help save WPS. I thought he liked women’s soccer?

  5. detroit fire says:

    Who wants to firebomb the magicjack offices

  6. 2tone says:

    WHo cares. The W-League is the new WPS anyway. Just ask the Settle Sounders Women how many USWNT players are on that squad. The W-League adn the WLS are the two main women soccer leagues. Have nothing to worry about Women soccer fans. Go out and support those two leagues.

  7. b says:

    Yes this sucks, but womens soccer in the US will be just fine, at the college level, league level, and national team level.

  8. Joe+G says:

    I think you mean “WPSL” rather than “WPS”.

  9. Doug says:

    WPS players have also landed in the WPSL and WPSL Elite, Ives.

    link to wpsl.info

    Is it really that hard to pay attention?

    Surely a league that Brandi Chastain, Sissi and Aly Wagner are playing in should be high enough on the radar screen of an article about WPS.

    link to wpsl.info

  10. Joe+G says:

    Or rather… instead of “WLS”.

  11. Turd Bradley says:

    They should have women’s pro soccer only be 7 v7 and on with smaller goals. The field is too big and every game at any level is such a snoozer. Plus half the goals are just lobbed in over the gks head.

    They can’t honestly think they will get the big tv contracts or tv contracts of any kind that a pro league needs to stay afloat. They should really think about making it more entertaining. I don’t see how this is coming about because in the womens game speed and strength do a lot more for a player than in the men’s game. Look at Wambach can’t play a lick of soccer but is a beast. Same with Syd Leroux awful player but faster than the bejezzes. So would 7 v7 be more entertaining ? Doubtful because the lack of technique would dry it out.

    In conclusion I tried to watch 3 womens world cup games last go around and fell asleep during all of them.

    Turd Bradley

  12. Ando says:

    Im sad but not surprised. The way women soccer can stay visible outside of internationals is to have the W-League work with MLS to have the League sponsor/create more teams and put these teams in double headers with some MLS games and use the women teams as ambassadors for both MLS and US Soccer. It sucks to say this but the Men game has to take priority on the club level. Not because Im chauvinistic but realistic. MLS has to compete with other male American sports plus the EPL and the Champions’ League for attention. So, the WPS would have to deal with that and all other women sports leagues. A partnership with MLS, be it by full monetary support or just by wearing a jersey and playing on the same pitches would at least give women club soccer a chance. The US Women team is safe as along as they are competitive. But, without a stable league, who knows?

  13. 2tone says:

    No it’s called the WLS. Look it up. Forgot about the WPSL as well.

  14. 2tone says:

    Dude. the W-League, WPSL, amd WLS are all providing womens club soccer. Hell most of the USWNT plays in these leagues right now. Womens club soccer is fine.

  15. Eric says:

    First off, congrats on signing your name there at the bottom. It’s almsot like we couldn’t read it at the top of your post.

    Second, I’m sure I’m not the only person who will tell you that they enjoy watching the women’s games. In fact, I prefer watching the women’s games to men’s in a lot of ways. It’s refreshing not having to watch players crowd around a ref every other minute, or watch a player go down like he’s been shot by a sniper every time he gets nudged. Besides all that, I’ve seen the USWNT train, and I currently coach a U16 national team girl and I can tell you from first hand experience, they have better skill than most guys. You should actually watch them play, rather than simply fall asleep, before you criticize their skill.

    Finally, your entire post somehow reminds of the time Sepp Blatter recommended that girls wear skirts during games to increase male viewership.

  16. k says:

    women’s club soccer is not fine; they are playing for free and get no media coverage. MLS needs to step up and create a 12 team WMLS league with direct associations to successful MLS teams and with a similar set of financial rules. 6 west coast teams and 6 east coast teams. use the leverage that successful teams like LA, Seattle, and NY have to get sponsorships and TV contracts. Make it so.

  17. Turd Bradley says:

    Eric-

    If you actually prefer the women’s game over the men’s you clearly don’t have much clue about soccer and are not a fan of the game. Good for you that you coach high school women’s soccer and have a player that you didn’t develop on your squad that happens to be in the u16 national pool.

    If your view point any sense whatsoever we wouldn’t be having this conversation because the women’s game would be totally established all over the world. The fact you think women for one second have more technical ability than men is crazy.

    Please keep coaching women because I am afraid if you coached men we will even be farther away from winning a world cup than we already are.

    Yours in Soccer ,

    Turd Bradley

  18. drew11 says:

    MLS is a business not a charity. Come up with a viable business plan and then start talking about MLS.

  19. treasure22 says:

    MLS cannot financially take on anything.

    Women’s soccer is not commercially viable. What women’s team sport is sucessful?

  20. Shawn says:

    Ives didn’t write the article someone else did. So to answer your own question it must be hard to pay attention.

  21. Joe+G says:

    I looked it up and it appears to be a Midwest-regional 2-level league. WPSL is more of a major right now as one of the WLS teams is competing in WPSL Elite Division. When they start signing players from the USWNT, then they have moved into the big time.

  22. Mojo44 says:

    Well, Eric stated that he prefers some aspects of the women’s game more than the men’s, and on those stated I agree with him. Plus he makes his points like an adult without being a flamer jerk.

  23. b says:

    Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain (whoever you spell that, I don’t care) would be against the women teaming up with MLS because they don’t want the men “riding their coattails”… “MLS, what’s that?”

  24. b says:

    The US womens team is the best in the world and they can’t beat 17 year old boys. Seriously. They lose to teenage boys whenever they play them. It’s okay to like womens soccer. It’s okay to prefer it, there’s no accounting for taste. But to say that the women are better in any way (aside from “US women relative to their int’l competition”) is the height of idiocy.

  25. yankiboy says:

    Let’s not even joke “crazY”, ok?

    Believe me, King Boris ain’t very high on my list of favorite people but let’s not not talk up any rhetoric that is so over the top.

    How about we just boycott Majic Jack instead?

  26. JEG says:

    Women’s pro soccer is just not a big enough of a draw. Sports tickets are purchased mainly by men and the average guy simply doesn’t care about it. Maybe If they partner with the MLS or something they will find way to make money

  27. yankiboy says:

    2tone, to answer your question–I care. This is just another debacle. I do agree with you on supporting the W-League and WPSL. But I gotta say that an individual game ticket for DC United Women is very pricey for a club featuring college players.

    I think I dropped $14 or $15 last summer when I went to a match. I usually don’t have to pay that for NASL or USLPro…

  28. Tolo says:

    Thanks God who needs that sH**t anyway.

  29. yankiboy says:

    TB: As a dude who has been known to enjoy some women’s matches more than a lot of men’s matches that I have seen over the years, I gotta ask you:

    C’mon playah?!?! Really?!?! You mean, in addition to actually liking soccer, now we gotta pass your litmus test about “having a clue about soccer” and “being a fan of the game”???

    Thanks fors making my Friday just a little happier.

    Yours in soccer,

    The Clueless Nonfan

    aka Ole Yanki Yank

  30. Tolo says:

    you sound like an idiot

  31. solles says:

    This is it isn’t it? Unrealistic goals, amateurish management, both WUSA and WPS have been operated in a bubble of un-reality. Hopefully now there will be more momentum behind building the Women’s game under the MLS umbrella, WMLS would at least have a much more stable base to build from even though the ladies won’t probably get everything they want from the deal.

    To me it’s too important to let egos get in the way as they have been doing for a decade now, c’mon WMLS, become a reality.

  32. solles says:

    those are semi pro leagues at best, with little or no support, the WOmens game is NOT “fine” in those hands, this is another example of having your head in the sky and not facing reality.

  33. Sticky says:

    Nice, TRolLo.

  34. Modibo says:

    +1

  35. b says:

    Back when they were coming off the high of a World Cup win and MLS was in trouble, the women refused to partner with MLS because they didn’t want the men riding their coattails.
    Now that the MLS is established and successful and the WPS is dead, MLS should partner with them? Why exactly? Screw em, they had their chance and decided to go it alone, what goes around comes around.

  36. jones says:

    Wait, didn’t this happen many months ago?? They said they were suspending the season with the possibility of coming back in 2013 (which was doubtful). I had pretty much assumed they were done for good, so I don’t really understand the reason for this announcement other than the news that the Borislow dispute has been settled.

    Bummed for all of the quality female footballers who won’t get to do this for a living. It will for sure impact the quality of the national team (I mean, have you seen the midfield in the past few years?? Horrible…)

  37. TomG says:

    The women’s leagues have been horribly run. The games get great ratings on ESPN b/c ESPN has excellent production value. That’s what is needed, especially in the women’s game. In the men’s game, the quality of the play stands on its own, but what makes the women’s game cool is the quality of play COMBINED with the distinct femininity of the players. With poor production value, the femininity is completely lost. The women are like dots on the screen and might as well be just a semi-pro men’s game. These ladies are beautiful and that makes the beautiful game that much cooler, but if you can’t see their beauty and their facial expressions and their joy and intensity, then the experience isn’t nearly as enjoyable.

    The women’s game desperately needs to start a league with good production value on their broadcast, otherwise it is doomed from the start.

  38. drew11 says:

    I guess you missed the multiple league failures. Semi-pro is the proper level for women’s soccer at this point. Really the only womens soccer players worthy of a salary are the national teamers. Everything else is just charity because there is no financial justification for it.

  39. drew11 says:

    Networks are voraciously hungry for sports programming. If there was a profitable market for womens pro soccer there would be a league now. The problem isn’t production values. The problem is males and adult women don’t care to watch womens pro soccer on TV. The game is only attractive to young girls. You can’t build a pro league on that demographic. Semi-pro is the way to go. Forget TV.

  40. Giggsy says:

    i don’t want MLS wasting a single dime on women’s soccer. women’s soccer is a money pit and MLS needs to focus on increasing spending for the actual MLS.

    if MLS teams want to have women’s teams as part of their youth academies … that is awesome.

    if they want to have women’s senior amateur team … also fine.

    but if they waste a single dime on the pit that is “professional” women’s soccer they might as well just flush that money down the toilet.

  41. BSU SC says:

    I think they should build off of the current W-league and structure it more like USL-Pro. MLS does not make huge profits and infact was losing money for years until recently. The WNBA has modeled itself after the NBA and still fails to have much success. The focus should be on building a solid minor league foundation and hope to evolve into a major women’s league at some point in the future. It’s clear that they can not do it from scratch.

  42. DCLee says:

    Zing! +2

  43. DCLee says:

    Tough news but hopefully in the end a better plan will be made to help sustain a good womens league that gives players an opportunity to play after college!

  44. rick rock says:

    1000% agree. Sorry for women’s soccer but womens soccer is a money pit. The problem is women’s team sports, any womens team sport doesn’t have the fans to sustain it. Wnba is bankrolled and supported by the NBA and with little benefit really other then simply existing. women’s soccer doesn’t benefit mls.

    individual womens sports like tennis or golf can get a star or two even nascar or gymanstics or skating but teams sports don’t have the following to support it by men or women and they all fail and mls shouldn’t be deluded into thinking that’s gonna change soon.

  45. rick rock says:

    and the wnba losses are covered by the NBA. mls is in no position to do such a thing and is really decades away if everything goes great.

  46. rick rock says:

    not that simple. first MLS can’t afford to support a financially money losing league other then the money losing teams it already has. Second it’s not simple as just use a stadium. if the stadium is running someone has to pay to staff it and that means mls. And again they can’t afford that. The problem is simple. Not enough people want to watch womens soccer teams in the U.S. to sustain it and there’s nobody willing to burn their own money to eat any losses. sad but it’s where they are. And i don’t see the outlook for women’s team sports changing anytime soon.

  47. Coachrich says:

    USWNT players don’t have to worry about money as under their USSF CBA they get about $85K minimum. If they play for a domestic club team, they get their CBA $ less whatever the domestic club team pays them. Because of their USSF CBA it doesn’t cost domestic teams much if any to have a USWNT player on their team.

    After the Olympics, USWNT players will return to the domestic leagues. OTOH CANWNT (almost 1/2 of the team plays in Europe) and other non USA players will go overseas pro leagues where they can make some money.

    IMO the best players will go where the money and action is. Semi pro/am and amateur in N/A without a livable wage will not attract the foreign players like the WPS did. Even then the WPS didn’t attract some of the best players from Europe.