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Freedom Updates

After spending time at Maryland SoccerPlex today with Washington Freedom Coach Jim Gabarra and club president/GM Joseph Quinn for a future print-edition/web story, I can tell you that.....

*Temporary stands are being assembled behind the permanent sideline bleachers across from the team benches, creating an additional 2,700 seats and expanding capacity to almost 6,000. Plans for permanent upgrades behind one of the goals have been stalled by economic factors. Seat bottoms are being added to the bleachers in the reserve seating section behind the benches, additional restrooms are being installed and a six-foot-high fence will enclose the stadium grounds. This is also good news for D.C. United, should the club turn to the SoccerPlex to host U.S. Open Cup matches this year.

*Forward Abby Wambach (broken leg) and defender Cat Whitehill (knee) are on schedule to be ready for the WPS opener March 29 at Los Angeles.

*The Freedom plans to approach German club Frankfurt in April about a possible summer loan deal for USA midfielder-defender Ali Kreiger, whom Washington was allocated last fall. Australian forward Lisa De Vanna has yet to sign but will come to training camp, which begins next week. Two foreign draft picks, French midfielder Louisa Necib and Norwegian forward Lene Mykjaland, are not likely to play for Washington this year because of contract issues with their current clubs. USA goalkeeper Briana Scurry has agreed to terms and Canadian goalie Erin McLeod is close to signing.

*"We are closing in on the final deal" for doubleheaders with United at RFK Stadium, Quinn said. United officials said last week that there would probably be two or three doubleheaders. The teams have three home games on the same date -- May 23, July 18 and Aug. 8.

*Gabarra is in the process of creating agreements with foreign clubs for the purpose of loaning out players during the offseason. WPS players are on seven-month contracts.

*The club has sold 700 season tickets and is targeting 5,000+ spectators for home matches.

By Steve Goff  |  February 23, 2009; 2:33 PM ET
Categories:  Women  
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5,000 is certainly doable. Team Doc will account for 0.1% of that total, although not for every game.

I figure OWNTF and his clan will pick up another 50 tickets or so per game...

Posted by: joedoc1 | February 23, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

700 season tix?
with all those youth leagues in the area?
with all those WAGS teams?
with all the development that United has done to seed this area?
with all the development WUSA has done?

700? .... and they are hoping to pull 5K per night? that is hoping 80% of your crowd is "walk up" ... seriously?

are they hoping for 4K walk ups from the SoccerPlex tourney's?

I realize economic times are tough... but come on... how long have they had to sell tix?

Seriously... i would love to see them suceed... but 700?

i realize many might not care... but for those of us who do... does that raise any alarms?

have they altered their sales strategy at all?

it is not like they are trying to sell out a 20K stadium... they have like 4K seats or something... and they have the tourney's @ the 'Plex ...

come to think of it.. it isnt the walk up crowd that concerns me... it is the lack of season tix sales that concerns me... where is the base of fans?

the more i think about it, the more i think 20% is a good number ... i just hope every player at the co-located tourney's is getting a free ticket to enter the game and mom & dad gotta pay...

at least that way they get something...

jezz... i wonder how it feels to fall that far...

the burn rate of $$$ that they were going through was tremendous back in the day... now it seems they have controlled that... i suppose...

i just hope they have the sense to work with the local experts (read DCU) this time... it seems like no one in the League did during the last go around...

the more i think about it, the more i think that an all-star ACC team could take out about 75% of the teams in the League on any given night ...

i suppose 700 of us will see...


i retain the right to change my view ...

let's hope Brianna still has something left in the tank ...

at least they resigned Janss...

Posted by: seusscaboose | February 23, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: DadRyan | February 23, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm...not sure about this. They want 85% of their attendance to be walk up? That's asking for a lot!

Posted by: ZidVicious | February 23, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

They've been a little aggressive in their pricing, and also I don't think they've made a concerted sales effort targeted at the local girls teams. Freedom's a tougher sell than DC United anyway even for the female players . . . . and there's something about RFK that appeals to the adolescent in all of us . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | February 23, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone have a link to the Post article from a few months ago on ACL injuries in girls? I can;t find it via Google or the superficial Washington Post search engine.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 23, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

was based on a book called warrior girls

see also this site, which links to results of a study that a local club has been doing on ACL prevention with Injury Prevention Research Laboratory

Posted by: OWNTF | February 23, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 23, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

The extra bathrooms is desperately needed for big events. That might make the place a more appealing destination for pro soccer fans. However, I doubt the Freedom will be needing the additional seating. I fear they are being unduly optimistic. As for DC United USOC games there, I'm not sure they've had a sell-out there yet. I'm sure they didn't last year. So, I don't know they will need the extra seating, unless they plan to host the USOC final there... It would be great of DCU or the Freedom could turn out 5,000 fans there, but consider me a doubting Thomas on this one.

Posted by: fischy | February 23, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they expect hordes of fans from Damascus and Frederick who complain that RFK is too far and too dangerous :-)

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 23, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

One of the "700" here. The Soccerplex is over an hour one-way from our house, there are no concessions and restroom amenities are, uh, "challenged". Nevertheless, my wife and I got 2 season tickets because the Freedom is important to my 16 year old daughter (as is DCU and her all time favorite Facundo Erpen), so we trek. My wife and I believe it is important for girls to see women active in competitive sports, both as role models and to validate the competitive nature in all of us. (My daughter's favorite thing is to set picks in basketball.) I hope more folks come, but the Soccerplex really is like driving to Frederick. Just another reason for a SSS in PG County or wherever.

Posted by: griffin1108 | February 23, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

let's hope Brianna still has something left in the tank ...

Posted by: seusscaboose | February 23, 2009 3:00 PM

If McLeod is healthy, Scurry will likely be riding the bench anyway.

As always, I wonder how Soccerplex will look on those FSC telecasts, assuming that the cameras and commnetators are behind the player benches, looking across at the temporary seating. Will there be the same problem as with MLS telecasts; namely, that most people will want to sit on the same side as the cameras, making the place look empty?

And I am not surprised that they have sold relatively few season tickets, if a lot of their fans will be coming as members of relatively large groups (families with young children, youth teams, etc.). The more people in a group, the harder it is to find dates of home matches that work for all or most members of said group. They would be inclined to buy tickets for the handful of matches that do work for them.

Posted by: universityandpark | February 24, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

The seats across from the benches are mostly unreserved seats, so that will be where the people will be who bought tickets day of the game. I think a lot of season tickets probably were bought for that section as well, since they were the cheapest option. I think most of the youth teams who buy group tickets will be there too, so hopefully a stadium that looks empty won't be an issue! I also think McLeod will be the starter, but Scurry and Spisak are both good options for backups

Posted by: soccerfan80 | February 24, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

There were concessions at the Soccerplex for the Freedom's W-League games - in fact they had delicious, fresh-grilled hamburgers.

And the Freedom Fighters (the supporters club) will be manning the bleachers opposite the cameras. And, as others have noted, that's where the walk-ups will be.

Posted by: kevinwparker | February 26, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

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