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Washington Freedom seeking investors

John and Maureen Hendricks have financed the Washington Freedom for a decade and helped provide a platform for women's pro soccer in the United States. But the Hendricks, who founded Discovery Communications, are now seeking to sell a portion of the club or find new partners ahead of the 2011 WPS season.

Club officials say they are making progress but have yet to reach a deal. No deadline has been set.

In a related matter, the club has begun a "Fight for Freedom" campaign through its Web site and a Facebook page in order "to demonstrate strong fan and corporate partner following."

While the ownership remains unsettled, the Freedom has delayed negotiations involving player contracts. The most important deal involves star striker Abby Wambach. The team holds the option on her 2011 contract, and if the Freedom declines to exercise it, she would become a free agent. The Freedom has expressed strong interest in exercising her option, once budgets are finalized for 2011. Washington is also seeking a head coach after Jim Gabarra's resignation this week.

The Freedom, in its second year in WPS after playing in the WUSA (2001-03) and W-League (2004-08), is based at Maryland SoccerPlex in Montgomery County, where it averaged 3,422 spectators for 11 home matches this season. Capacity is around 6,000. Washington also announced a crowd of 8,261 as part of a doubleheader with D.C. United at RFK Stadium early in the season.

United investor Will Chang is also seeking partners for his MLS club.

By Steve Goff  | September 29, 2010; 7:14 PM ET
Categories:  Freedom, Women  | Tags:  Washington Freedom  
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Comments

This is not a good sign. The league will probably fold by the end of next season.

Posted by: CACuzcatlan | September 29, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

How much money are they seeking?

Posted by: Tony-Tony-Tony | September 29, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

This is not good news at all. Now I'm really debating on renewing my season tickets!!! Hope they find investors soon.....

Posted by: Freedom2009 | September 29, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

It was fun while it lasted.

World Cup next year!

Posted by: OWNTF | September 29, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Just a nitpick: the Freedom didn't join the W-League until 2006 and weren't full members until 2007. They did play some W-League teams in 2004 and 2005, but only by special arrangement.

Posted by: kevinwparker | September 29, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

OT:

http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/harkes-says-he-would-be-interested-dc-job

Heh-heh. Heh-heh. Hah. Ha ha hah. Hee-hee. Ha ha ha ha ha ha hah. Stop. Please, make it stop....

"Ex-DC great would consider manager's post if conditions right"

Oh man...please stop. Ha hah ha ha ha hah!

Posted by: fischy | September 29, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Harkes said that a new coach should understand what the tradition is about and how to get the best out of the current players. Sounds like he's mimicking Payne to get the job. Also, the current players have given their best. Unfortunately, it's only good enough for last place.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | September 29, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Seriously?

The WPS/WUSA/W-League just dilutes a product that is already niche at best in the US.

Let it go and have all the former WPS/WUSA/W-League investors put their money into MLS, which is actually becoming successful in most markets.

Posted by: alecw81 | September 29, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

OT

United considering new stadium site.

Also happens to be planned site of stimulus-funded super high (rocket) speed public transit, so it's win-win.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/29/AR2010092907492.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: OWNTF | September 29, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Let it go and have all the former WPS/WUSA/W-League investors put their money into MLS, which is actually becoming successful in most markets.

Posted by: alecw81 | September 29, 2010 10:50 PM
========================

Yeah, let's give up on supporting world-class women's teams in favor of second-rate men's teams.

Posted by: kevinwparker | September 29, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Predictable theatrics in the middle of a Guatemalan monsoon in the Municipal-Crew CCL match.

Posted by: benonthehill | September 30, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

I got a few extra K. I'd even sell of my old Toyota. Does that get me a piece?

Posted by: delantero | September 30, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Goff, with Jakovic gone, how is Pena looking? Is he better from his injury? Or who will we most likely see play in the central defense?

Posted by: BolivianDCFan | September 30, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Just because the WNBA is "World Class Women's Basketball" doesn't mean it's entertaining, same goes for the WPS.

Hell, same goes for MLB and the NBA.

Posted by: alecw81 | September 30, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone seriously think WPS will even be around next year?

Posted by: grognard66 | September 30, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse

@alecw81: Hell, the same goes for MLS--minus the "world class" part (in a lot of soccer fans' minds).

Why not just let MLS go and then we can concentrate on improving the NHL which is actually profitable some places as well.

Or the NFL. The tv "blackout" problem is out of control (keep making HD tv better and offering the Red Zone channel while raising related game day prices during the curennt economic climate, geniuses).

Yep, I'm with you Bro. Let those who have the capital invest it in something more entertaining like the next Jersey Shore...

Posted by: yankiboy | September 30, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

OWNTF ROFL! I just feel like I got Rickrolled. That was very funny.

Posted by: DaninFL | September 30, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

If you don't fight for Freedom, the terrorists win.

Posted by: Reignking | September 30, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

If the Freedom decline Wambach's contract and they are looking to sell the team then maybe someone a lot smarter than me can explain how that would not be--I don't know--STUPID!?!

If you are trying to lure in investors you need some to show them what sort of assets your organization has. I can't think of a bigger carrot that the Abby one. She costs a lot less than Marta (pure speculation, I know). The league has been based around marketing her.

If they let her walk and she goes to Buffalo-Rochester then they will pay her pretty much what she wants (within reason).

And Freedom will be left with some nice players--minus Bompie--who underachieved under the former coach and didn't actually meet their attendance numbers (let's keep it real) after dumping a lot of money into marketing on stations like Sportstalk 980 and 106.7 and other media.

Yeah, I would be stumbling over myself to buy that.

Sign her now. Work the budget around her. They have the option. Who are they going to get to replace her for a significantly lower price that people will care about???

The only reason that I think that league will see another season after Tonya Antonucci left and the Hendricks are looking to sell of part of the Freedom is that Joe Sahlen usually seems to know what he is doing with his money.

But I still wouldn't bet my money that that league will kick a ball in 2012.

I really hope that I am wrong about that.

Posted by: yankiboy | September 30, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I'd love to see Harkes coach, fail, and get fired 3 games in. That would be sweet.

Posted by: Reignking | September 30, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Just because the WNBA is "World Class Women's Basketball" doesn't mean it's entertaining, same goes for the WPS.

Hell, same goes for MLB and the NBA.

Posted by: alecw81 | September 30, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the players in the WNBA are more fundamentally sound, play as a team and are MUCH more fan-friendly than their NBA counterparts. I'd pick a WNBA game over an NBA game any day. And the WPS is just as entertaining. If you don't like it, you can ignore it.

Posted by: stwasm | September 30, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Yanki, I don't think that if the league is still around they will do anything other than have Wambach in upstate NY.

Also, I forgot to say when Steve mentioned in his post, in my opinion Emma Hayes would be a frikkin disaster. I am still shaking my head that they let Clyde Watson walk and brought in Emma Hayes. Why not bring in Greg Ryan too? (Right, universtyandpark?).

Posted by: OWNTF | September 30, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Greg Ryan coaching against the Atlanta Beat? With the Bravehearts and the Hip-Hip guys and the Fighters chanting 'The Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round'?

That's be sweet!

Posted by: bs2004 | September 30, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

WPS is obviously just trying to get a winning franchise in the giant market of Buffalo/Rochester by shortchanging the team in the backwater metro DC area.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | September 30, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I'd rather watch paint dry than watch basketball.

Posted by: Reignking | September 30, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I want the Freedom to know there are many of us who appreciate the team and the staff,and all of the WPS, go to WPS and WNT games here and elsewhere, and want the team to stay in DC.I hope they find an investor soon.How much money does it take to buy a soccer team or part of a soccer team? I hope Freedom does what ever it takes to keep Wambach.I wonder if Leonsis might have some interest in the Freedom. I am a big fan of women's pro soccer and women's college soccer. I have only fleeting interest in men's pro soccer. I agree with 'universitypark' that men's pro soccer is second rate to women's pro soccer and prefer the WPS to MLS anyday. If you bought me a ticket I might go to see an MLS game, but I might not. I'm sure if I went I would appreciate the men's game, but it is not as good as going to a women's pro game No disrespect ment to the male pro players or their fans( I wish them well)-its my opinion.OTOH, I go to all the WPS games and WNT games I can.I am happy to go to any fund raiser event I am able to go to to support the Freedom and WPS.I am not 'made of money' but would pay to see the players and coaches and 'rub shoulders' with them during the season and in the off season. If you don't like women's sports then please, stick with men's sports, and don't be a troll.

Posted by: 10bestfan | September 30, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

This is not a good sign. The league will probably fold by the end of next season.

Posted by: CACuzcatlan | September 29, 2010 7:21 PM
________________________________________

So you are told that Will Chang is seeking additional investors, and you fear that MLS will be gone by the end of next year. That is an interesting reaction.

Posted by: universityandpark | September 30, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Why not bring in Greg Ryan too? (Right, universtyandpark?).

Posted by: OWNTF | September 30, 2010 9:21 AM
__________________________________________

I'm still backing Carin Gabarra.

Posted by: universityandpark | September 30, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I agree with 'universitypark' that men's pro soccer is second rate to women's pro soccer and prefer the WPS to MLS anyday.

Posted by: 10bestfan | September 30, 2010 10:06 AM
_________________________________________

I never said any such thing, and I never would say any such thing. Perhaps you had someone else in mind?

Posted by: universityandpark | September 30, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

What about the other local WWC winner, formercollegiate coach, and spouse of a local coach, Shannon Higgins-Cirovski. I don't know anything about her beyond what I've read on Wikipedia. Would she be a good fit or not?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | September 30, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

If you don't like women's sports then please, stick with men's sports, and don't be a troll.

Posted by: 10bestfan
-------------------------------------------
So 10bestfan, you really don't want too many people posting in any thread related to the Freedom, huh? What is with all of the sensitivity (and that has nothing to do with gender coz I have only a 50-50 chance of guessing what gender you are if I bothered to try).

Personaly, I happen to enjoy the Freedom the WPS and the "Natettes" (USWNT). Sometimes people can make a comment abut something that they don't care much about and still offer something.

That, in and off itself, doesn't necessarily make them guilty of "trolling".

Posted by: yankiboy | September 30, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I'd pick a WNBA game over an NBA game any day. And the WPS is just as entertaining. If you don't like it, you can ignore it.

Posted by: stwasm
---------------------------------
As a WPS & WNBA fan, I'd like to respectfully ask that that you not invite more people to just flat out ignore them.

I don't think that adding to the ranks of those who just plain ignore really helps either league very much.

The two already have a lot of people who ignore them. they seem to being just fine with that.

So maybe I don't find the WPS or WNBA to be as entertaining as the MLS or NBA. A lot of times I don't find USSF D2 or third division games to be as entertaining as MLS game but I still go to them.

If I can get a body in seat or two invest sometime into checking something the product out then I think that it is apositive, even if they decide that it's not their cup of tea.

But hey, that's just me...

Posted by: yankiboy | September 30, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Sorry 'universitypark' that I got that one wrong....

Posted by: 10bestfan | September 30, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

So 10bestfan, you really don't want too many people posting in any thread related to the Freedom, huh?

Posted by: yankiboy

==============================

Well, I have to say that (being a Freedom and WPS fan) I'm somewhat peeved to see that roughly a third of the comments here predict the imminent demise of the league, and another third insist on talking about DC United topics totally irrelevant to the blog post. The Freedom get little enough mention here as it is - why can't people save their men's soccer comments for one of the myriad men's soccer posts?

Posted by: kevinwparker | September 30, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

kevinwparker, this post did mention mens soccer.

By the way, WPS will quite possibly fold this off-season.

Posted by: Ron16 | September 30, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Kevin, (and I am not trying to be sarcastic--let me state that upfront)

so you want us to discuss the Freedom and the WPS but not mention that the commish walked, two teams folded this year, Jim had to rool out after Clyde and the Freedom's attendance and on the field performances are not what we would hope for them to be.

But you want us to avoid discussing the 800 pund elephant in the room (ok, so I admit that I bothec that cliche).

I can understand taking issue with posts that are off topic but do you really want for us to NOT talk about the ecomic realites facing the league?

If we do that discussion of MLS (especially with franchises that can't get a stadium deal done, that also lose a lot of games, who are running out of time on their lease--hint, hint) or almost half the time in second division forums is spent on the economics lately (because that is an economic mess)--

do you really want for us to do something different because the protagonist (and sometimes antagonists) involved are primarily women.

Not to play the Baltimore card again but I am a bit confused. Seriously.

Me discussing the WPS and Washington Freedom and ignoring the economics is like me talking about the USSFD2 and ignoring the obvious and enormous role that economics are going to play in the offseason of that division, and the economic realities that have been in play in that division this season...

As usual, I'm just a bit lost...

Posted by: yankiboy | September 30, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I don't get what you are reacting to "yankiboy". What sensitivity?! Seems like your posts are supportive of WPS or were you being scarstic?-hard to tell with this electronic stuff.Nobody called YOU a troll (unless you think the shoe fits). And what does gender have to do with it? Ever watch Magnusdottir play?.. she's got more cajones than any other soccer player. Maybe you are the one who's sensitive!

Posted by: 10bestfan | September 30, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Hey Kevin, thanks for your comments. We need to find a way to help he Freedom and WPS survive and prosper.

Posted by: 10bestfan | September 30, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

@10bestfan: I was reacting to the fact that I think that we can discuss the team/sport/league without being so "sensitive" to whether or not someone comments that they don't dig it or it isn't their cup of tea.

I think that the fact that someone actually posts something other than "It's girls soccer so who cares" (they used to do that a lot of Ives' blog in the WPS sections last year) can be of some value because at least those of us who like it or something about it can say "Hey, well my take is....I dig it because..." just like what normaly takes place in a sportsblog.

If someone hates the product then they are probably just going to hate. They aren't interested in trying to contribute something to the discussion.

Disinterest--hey, at least you are talking about it at sometime and seem to be open to considering something.

Hating on it--hey, thanks for playing--I can pretty much dismiss your comments after that because you are primarily posting to be annoying.

That's where I am coming from.

The sensitivity comment is because unfortunately when there are comments about soemthing having to do with gender (or race or nationality, blah, blah, blah) sometimes you can't make a comment that is perceived as being critical in anyway.

Which brings me back to what I was asking you about (and still never got an answer on): Do you really think that it is a good idea to not engage someone who doesn't like the product because it doesn't appeal to them at all but might still be willing to try to sincerely contribute to the conversation?

I wasn't being sarcastic with you. I never accused you of calling me a troll. And yes, I am a very sensitve type. Just not when it comes to discussing why I would rather watch Bompie than some (key word) of the midfielders on any given MLS squad.

I enjoy the meet of the minds and the sometimes (mindless--of which I would often include myself in the latter--usually, at least) that takes place on message boards and blogs.

Even if someone doesn't dig it but is trying to (sincerely) contribute why exclude them? Or does everything have to be a fanboy for every thread or post?

Kinda kills the exchange...

Maximun Respect!

Posted by: yankiboy | October 1, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I guess all cult groups (womens soccer fans) have a tendency to turn on themselves. As a fellow cult member, I would only comment that Magnusdottir is no beacon for the womens game, she's proof that thuggery exists and is sometimes rewarded in both the mens and womens games. I don't think she has cajones, I think she plays like a punk.

Posted by: OWNTF | October 1, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

yankiboy: Merely indicating one's personal lack of interest in the topic under discussion does nothing to contribute to the discussion. If everyone who wasn't interested in Scandinavian pro leagues or the Big Ten or [fill in the blank] felt compelled to declare their lack of interest every time Goff included an item about these outposts of the footie world, this blog would collapse under the weight of all those hundreds of gratuitous comments. People who aren't interested in women's soccer should be expected to exercise the same self-restraint as people who aren't particularly interested in what Bedoya is doing at Orebro.

Posted by: universityandpark | October 1, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

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