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Washington Freedom officials respond to report that the WPS club is going to fold soon

Last night, an online report said that two Women's Professional Soccer clubs, the Washington Freedom and Gold Pride, would fold, as early as today. In response, the Freedom issued a statement:

"The Washington Freedom continues to have conversations with prospective investors and strategic partners. As previously reported, we are seeking investors and/or partners as part of a plan to align the team's costs with its revenues so play can continue in 2011 and beyond. We have been engaged in these conversations since early summer. Contrary to reports, Freedom does not plan an announcement about its participation in the 2011 WPS season until it has had an opportunity to consider all proposals. We appreciate the ongoing support of our fans, sponsors and supporters and remain optimistic about the future of Freedom and WPS."

So they're still in business, but the lack of new investors is troubling. Freedom President Mark Washo told the Insider: "Discussions have been dragging longer than we've all anticipated. At a point, talk has to turn into action, clearly. But we are still holding out hope for a few lingering opportunities. We're approaching the 90th [minute], hoping for extra time."

The Freedom is owned by John and Maureen Hendricks, strong supporters of women's soccer -- and soccer, in general -- for more than a decade. The Hendricks, who founded Discovery Communications, helped finance the construction and expansion of the Maryland SoccerPlex and operated the Freedom in the Women's United Soccer Association from 2001 to 2003. Between the demise of that league and the launch of WPS last year, the Freedom played in the lower-tier W-League. However, amid low attendance and mounting losses, the Hendricks have been seeking a buyer or investors to sustain the club.

By Steve Goff  | November 1, 2010; 2:51 PM ET
Categories:  Freedom, Women  | Tags:  Washington Freedom  
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Next: CONCACAF Champions League draw, D.C. United honors, WPS update, Americans abroad

Comments

Sounds like it is all over but the shouting.

Goodbye, WPS.

Posted by: Ron16 | November 1, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

SHOCKED I tell you! This country barely follows real (cough I mean men's) soccer.

Posted by: GFisher1 | November 1, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I blame Fenty.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 1, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

The Washington DC area is supposed to be such a hotbed for soccer in this country. However, DC now has two professional franchises that are unable to find investors. This doesn't look bad; it looks horrible. If both franchises end up leaving town then it will have severe consequences for soccer in this area for quite a long time.

Posted by: hateisnotafamilyvalue | November 1, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

If the Freedom and/or league folds it won't have an impact on soccer in the DC area because nobody cared about women's professional soccer in the first place. I'm not saying that to bash women's soccer, I'm saying it because it's a fact.

Posted by: sdb11281usa | November 1, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Yeah they should self-demote themselves down to the W-League where they won't have to worry about player salaries.

Posted by: onenetnut | November 1, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

If the Freedom and/or league folds it won't have an impact on soccer in the DC area because nobody cared about women's professional soccer in the first place. I'm not saying that to bash women's soccer, I'm saying it because it's a fact.

Posted by: sdb11281usa | November 1, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Baloney. My comment included both teams not just the Freedom. If just the Freedom leave then I agree with you. However, if both leave then I believe very strongly that it will be viewed as a collective problem with the area. If both leagues continue to survive while both teams in our area leave due to lack of investment then the DC area has a problem.

Not willing to invest in men's professional soccer, not willing to invest in women's professional soccer, and not willing to invest in a soccer stadium; this all adds up to a huge problem. Don't think for a moment that the economy will be viewed as the problem either. Every area is dealing with a bad economy yet other areas have found investment for their situations while DC hasn't and the recession is weaker here than most areas. If either league comes back it is likely to be the WPS. Garber will not come back here any time soon if United moves. Take it to the bank.

Posted by: hateisnotafamilyvalue | November 1, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

@sdb11281usa: You are WRONG. My momma didn't raise a "nobody". I cared.

Don't worry--my ego isn't that fragile that I need your validation. I already knew I was somebody before you declared me a "nobody".

In all seriousness, though.

Some other people cared--and they cared passionately. A few of them posted here people or other place. A lot of others who never posted anthing still cared.

If the Hendricks can't make it work then it appears that there just isn't enough people who do care to make it work financially.

I like the Mystics, too )which is a lot easier since they actually ergh uhm, WIN games)...

Take away the Polins, Leonsis, Sheila Jackson and company and they wiuld have folded a longt time ago and they have been know to draw an average of 11k and some change per game over the course of a season.

If the coroner declares the Freedom dead, again. It won't be a big surprise but it will still hurt. The marketplace seems to have spoken, loud and clear. The WPS is on life support.

So yeah, I care and my soccer "quality of life" will suffer.

It is quite possible that Palace Baltimore and Real Maryland will soon be following them and DC United moving.

I seriously hope not but things look bad. Real bad.

Posted by: yankiboy | November 1, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Yankiboy,

Good point. I forgot about Crystal Palace and Real Maryland. I've heard that Crystal Palace is on life support. Can you imagine if the Freedom, United, Palace, and Real all leave. Say good night Gracie!

Posted by: hateisnotafamilyvalue | November 1, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

If both franchises end up leaving town then it will have severe consequences for soccer in this area for quite a long time.

Posted by: hateisnotafamilyvalue | November 1, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

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

Severe consequences for professional soccer, maybe. Of little consequence for amateur soccer though, in my view.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 1, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Severe consequences for professional soccer, maybe. Of little consequence for amateur soccer though, in my view.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 1, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. I was referring to professional soccer.

Posted by: hateisnotafamilyvalue | November 1, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

It would really suck if the Terps left too.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 1, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Very sad for the Freedom and for WPS. But if the Freedom and the Gold Pride fold, with respect I think it does not speak to the DC area, nor does it speak to professional soccer generally, but to the problems of professional women's soccer. MLS, by contrast, seems to be thriving, regardless of our problems coming up with a workable stadium solution here in the DC area specifically.

Thanks so much to the Hendricks family for sticking with the Freedom for so long. Would they like to invest with WIll Chang, now?

Posted by: DCUSince96 | November 1, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Pity--the Freedom put on a good show in a great setting, and the few who go tend to have a great time. The soccer's often at the highest level the women's game has ever reached, never mind that it features mostly twenty-something, world-class female athletes in peak condition. I'm puzzled why it doesn't have more appeal, except that the marketing doesn't cut it.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | November 1, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

DCU96,

The poster stated that it was contingent on both the Freedom and United leaving for lack of investment. If that does happen you can bet your ass that reflects poorly on the DC area. What a depressing state this area is in for professional soccer fans right now. Deep sigh :(

Posted by: croftonpost | November 1, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

"I'm puzzled why it doesn't have more appeal, except that the marketing doesn't cut it."

Unfortunately the old saying 'you have to spend money to make money' could not be more true than with the WPS.

You can't possibly have quality marketing when you get rid of the leagues marketing department and have individual that are now responsible for their own marketing using INTERNS instead of proven marketing professionals.

Posted by: cwimmer77 | November 2, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

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