RED STARS GRANTED DEC. 15 DEADLINE TO SEEK ADDITIONAL INVESTORS
Chicago working hard to return for 2011 WPS campaign in 7-team league
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Red Stars and Women's Professional Soccer announce that Chicago has been granted a December 15 deadline to secure investment toward the league's reserve funding requirement for participation in 2011.
The Red Stars stated earlier this month in the team's 2011 capitalization plan that potential investors pulled out following the news of the Bay Area's and Washington's questionable futures. Now that Washington and WPS are stabilized, the Red Stars believe they can obtain additional investment to secure the organization's return for a third season in 2011.
"Chicago is pleased with the way WPS is working to ensure long-term sustainability of the league," said Red Stars Part-Owner and Governor Arnim Whisler, speaking on behalf of Red Stars ownership. "We have been working closely with the other owners on a thoughtful approach to stabilize and grow WPS. Our intent is to play next season and put together a winning product in 2011. But we need some additional support from the Chicago investor community before we can make our final commitment to the league."
WPS will play its 2011 season with teams in Atlanta, Boston, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington and Western New York, with the hopes of the Red Stars returning to create a seven-team league.
"While it is disappointing to the league and its many enthusiastic fans, players and partners that FC Gold Pride did not find the level of support it aimed for in its market, the continuing WPS teams have fully committed to the 2011 WPS season," said WPS CEO Anne-Marie Eileraas. "These past few weeks have been critical to ensuring the long-term health of the league, and we are pleased to be moving forward today with these six committed teams for the 2011 season. We are hopeful that Chicago will also join those teams for 2011. We are looking forward to a great summer of Women's Professional Soccer next year with those teams in light of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, which will give fans around the world the opportunity to see the exciting play of many WPS players on the sport's biggest stage."
Free agency officially opens at 12:01 a.m. ET on Wednesday, November 17, with players from FC Gold Pride now all becoming free agents. An overview of the season schedule, league calendar, 2011 WPS Playoff format and the 2011 WPS Draft will be announced in December.
"The history of sports has shown that in the early years of any league, teams come and go," Eileraas said. "We are moving forward to start planning for 2011. We'll have a terrific season next year with at least six committed teams and will continue to have the best soccer talent in the world playing throughout the spring and summer, culminating with an exciting WPS Playoffs like we've had the past two years."
"Over the past few months, we have made tough decisions to create a more efficient and sustainable business," said Thomas Hofstetter, member of the WPS Board of Governors and President, Sky Blue FC. "These changes have enabled us to build a solid foundation for growth over the coming years."
Also on Tuesday, in lieu of the formal Expansion Draft, the Western New York franchise will have one day to claim up to six unprotected players from the Expansion Draft list announced by WPS on October 20. Upon approval of the selected players in accordance with the previous draft mechanics determined by the league, Western New York will announce its picks in a separate release later this week. The players will be selected and approved prior to the opening of free agency.
About the Chicago Red Stars:
The Chicago Red Stars are members of Women's Professional Soccer and play their home games at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. The Red Stars are preparing for their third WPS season in 2011. For more information, log on to www.ChicagoRedStars.com or call 1-708-496-9500.