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.
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