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Freedom News and Notes

The Washington Freedom, one of seven teams in Women's Professional Soccer, has finalized its 22-player roster:
GKs: Briana Scurry, Kati Jo Spisak.
Ds: Cat Whitehill, Sonia Bompastor (France), Alex Singer, Becky Sauerbrunn, Christen Karniski.
D-MFs: Jill Gilbeau, Joanna Lohman, Emily Janss, Kristin DeDycker, Madison Keller, Jayme Leigh Cargnoni.
MFs: Lori Lindsey, Allie Long, Homare Sawa (Japan), Sarah Huffman*.
MF-Fs: Rebecca Moros, Parrissa Eyorokon.
Fs: Abby Wambach, Lisa De Vanna (Australia), Claire Zimmeck.
*Out for season with knee injury

Canadian GK Erin McLeod is having visa issues. The club is awaiting the international transfer certificate from Lyon that would allow Bompastor to play in the Sunday opener at Los Angeles. Spisak, Keller, Karniski and DeDycker are developmental players, but eligible for league matches. Sixteen players will suit up for road games, 18 for home games. (MLS had a similar cost-conscious guideline in its early years.)

More Freedom news on the continuation of this thread.....

Yesterday, the Freedom introduced longtime soccer executive Mark Washo, who worked for D.C. United, several years ago, as its new president and general manager. He replaces Joseph Quinn. The timing, indeed, was strange, but from what I can gather in the local soccer community, the Freedom wanted a more experienced soccer person in place for the practical purposes of running a team.

Washo said the job opportunity arose about a week and a half ago and he decided to return to the Washington area from Chicago, where he had worked for the Fire and ran a sports marketing and entertainment business.

What is his top priority?

"It's challenging in that time is short and the season is starting so soon. We have to focus on ticket sales and awareness that the team is back. I think the name recognition is strong, but we need to spread the awareness that we are playing again and that this league is different from WUSA. Sponsorship is another area we have to focus on, clearly. It's a tough economy, a tough market but we have marketable players and a marketable team."

Washo said the team has sold approximately 750 season tickets and that sales for the April 11 home opener against Chicago at Maryland SoccerPlex are around 2,300.

Coach Jim Gabarra said Scurry, with her big-event experience, is scheduled to start in goal in this weekend's season opener against Marta and the Sol.

By Steve Goff  |  March 25, 2009; 2:08 PM ET
Categories:  Freedom  
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Next: RFK Food, Olsen, Freedom and Voting

Comments

Any idea on what the Freedom will get from United for double headers? I'm sure they will be creative and work deals with local teams and all of the Soccerplex traffic, but I'm not sure they'll get the 5,000 person average the league wants. I hope they do, but that complex doesn't draw.

Posted by: sitruc | March 25, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

the teams won't discuss financial details of the doubleheaders

Posted by: Steve Goff | March 25, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

re: what they will get... how about free use of a stadium for home games 3X for the season... and the exposure!!! (read: less expenses to worry about)

they would be happy for that i am sure...

considering the first time they tried to launch the league they didn't want MLS's help at all!

i can't see them as presenting anything but a gracious and appreciative front.

they should be happy United is talking to them... it could be far chillier a relationship based on the previous regime which is no longer in place (sans one)

let's wish them luck and praise the effort United is putting forth as an olive branch... everything from co-located ticket sales and beyond... at least this time there is not venom being spewed.

Posted by: seusscaboose | March 25, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Has any women's league ever been successful on its own? That would exclude the NBA subsidizing the WNBA.

Posted by: therealfootball | March 25, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

@therealfootball: Women's tennis. Maybe LPGA, but I don't know nuthin' about golf.

Gabarra sounding suspiciously like Ryan. I can only hope (ha ha, Hope) that he let both keepers know about this well in advance. Besides, Scurry has more name recognition than Spisak.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 25, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

The Pres/GM switch (and subsequent comments) signal a profound disappointment from the Freedom with ticket sales to date. Unfortunately, Washo can't change the economy or the main stadium site anytime soon.

Posted by: evwill | March 25, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Any idea on what the Freedom will get from United for double headers? I'm sure they will be creative and work deals with local teams and all of the Soccerplex traffic, but I'm not sure they'll get the 5,000 person average the league wants. I hope they do, but that complex doesn't draw.

Posted by: sitruc | March 25, 2009 2:18 PM


They announced a few weeks ago that the doubleheader matches will take place at RFK, May 23, June 13 and July 18.

Posted by: stwasm | March 25, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

They're planning on playing in the new stadium. Looks like they won't have a home either.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | March 25, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Has any women's league ever been successful on its own? That would exclude the NBA subsidizing the WNBA.

Posted by: therealfootball

GLOW? LFL?

Posted by: Reignking | March 25, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Only 750 season tickets sold ???

how many YEARS have they had to establish the fan base ???

opinion #1) yes.. someone should have been fired... but it shoulda been when they didnt hit their target 6 months ago leading up to the hoopla!

opinion #2) 750??? That is only 750 more than I sold... and i didnt sell ANY !!!

jeez... i hope that 750 number isnt right.. but i gotta believe it is... so is canning the GM the answer??? Well, i gotta beleive we are lagging in ticket sales behind other organizations then... and i also gotta believe an owner isnt gonna stand for a subpar effort on something so high profile... seriously, who the heck is promoting this??? and do they think the masses will flock to see them ??? ... 2 words... GRASS ROOTS ... ugh... embarrasing!

Posted by: seusscaboose | March 25, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I was (and am) excited by the prospect of the league. I'm a DC United season ticket holder and love the game. Heck, I live in Germantown, so the SoccerPlex is around the corner from my house. So it was a no brainer for me to look into season tickets... but I didn't buy them.

To me, the tickets were proportionally too expensive. If we compare full-season plans for the Freedom (10 games, six on Saturdays) to the DC United half-season plans (10 games, 6-7 on Saturdays) what do we find?

The lowest Freedom package is $150 for upper bleacher seats - comparable to United's lowest package at $190 for lower bowl corner seats. From there, though, the Freedom tickets rise rapidly - $250 for reserved seats from the 30 to the goal line, up to $300 for center section.

When $260 can get you lower-level seats on the midfield line for DC United games, $300 seems a bit much to ask for the same seat(back)s to see the Freedom at the SoccerPlex.

There's also no option for youth tickets - children over the age of 2 need a full-price ticket. That would seem like a major oversight to me since a high percentage of the audience at the friendly against Sky Blue (and one would assume a not insignificant percentage of the league's target audience in general) was families with children.

Now, I know less than zero about the league's costs, their expectations for season tickets sales, or what they need to charge to stay solvent. But from an outsider's perspective I'm concerned that the team appears to have taken the approach of, "Our costs are lower than MLS, but our attendance will be lower as well, so we'll need to squeeze money out of the few season ticket holders we can get - especially the ones with families!".

Posted by: StickmanInDC | March 25, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

therealfootball,
Like MLS, WNBA teams that are in good markets with good financial deals as far as arena renting have been doing relatively well. They are slowly getting away from the NBA.

Posted by: sitruc | March 25, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

It's also important that they realize they're a summer league. The money is in Europe...

Posted by: sitruc | March 25, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

and thanks for the quick response Goff.

Posted by: sitruc | March 25, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Saw a scrimmage video on youtube of the Sol vs the Bay area team. Yikes the team speed in the Womens College Final 4 was much better than what I saw on the video. For the highest level of women's soccer, it has to be said, those women were FAT and SLOW.

Posted by: Ron16 | March 25, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Scurry has big game experience against Marta alright. Sheesh.

I question Freedom's judgment to bypass available highly accomplished defenders in the draft in favor of rostered players who "know the system." Let's see what happens Sunday.

Yeah maybe ticket sales is part of the reason for the FO change, but also having two starters with visa/contract issues the week before your opening game isn't a huge plus either. And the allocation from the national pool of a player who apparently isn't even going to play for the league.

I don't like the vibe so far -- on this team. The league I like.

Milbrett is back.

Posted by: OWNTF | March 25, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Of the 750 season tickets sold, 72 were from the U13, U14, U15 and U16 Super Y teams affiliated with the Freedom. The girls "try out" for the teams and part of the registration fee of the girls that make the team is a season ticket. Then figure that at least one other family member will get a season ticket so that represents at least 140 of the 750 season tickets sold.

Posted by: pedro_burrito | March 25, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

I am not going to any games in Germantown. However, I'm attending all three doubleheaders and I'm looking forward to it. I will be there for the kick-off of every Freedom game.

Steve- Speaking of doubleheaders, has DC United ever had talks with Real Maryland, Charm City FC, Nova Royals, or Crystal Palace USA about playing a doubleheader at RFK?

Posted by: croftonpost | March 25, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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