Looking Forward to the Women’s Professional Soccer League

by CoachZ on January 22, 2009



About WPS

WPS is the highest level women’s professional soccer league in North America. Formed in September 2007 as the result of the efforts of the Women’s Soccer Initiative, Inc., WPS, which will begin play in April 2009 consists of seven teams across the country.

The markets for the 2009 season are Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey/New York, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. WPS expects to expand to Atlanta and Philadelphia in 2010 and continues to explore additional potential franchises for 2010 and beyond. The WPS team planned for Dallas is now slated to begin play in 2010 as the League continues to work on securing a facility, with the intention that the Team will start play in the League’s second season. More markets will be announced as they are added to the League.

Franchises are individually owned and operated by a group of investors in each market. These include AEG-L.A. Women’s Soccer LLC, Bay Area Women’s Soccer LLC, Boston Women’s Soccer LLC, Chicago Professional Women’s Soccer LLC, Hendricks Investment Holdings LLC (Washington D.C.), St. Louis United Soccer LLC and Sky Blue Women’s Soccer, Inc. (New Jersey/New York).

In addition, two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash and former Yahoo! President and COO Jeff Mallett are investors and part owners in the league.

Among the firms retained by WPS to provide professional services are:

The inaugural WPS season will kick off in April 2009. At the conclusion of the regular season, a pair of semifinal playoff matches will be held with winners advancing to the WPS Championship Match. A mid-season or post-season All-Star Game will also be staged.

Further updates on the WPS schedule and competition format will be available soon.

WPS History

September 2003: Following the suspension of operations of the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA), the WUSA Reorganization Committee is formed to determine the best method to re-launch a women’s professional soccer league in the United States.

July 2004: The WUSA Reorganization Committee, the Women’s Sports Foundation, and business executives Bob Greenberg and Chris Markgraf (both of whom go on to create WSII with Julie Foudy and Tonya Antonucci), hold a Summit in New York City to identify and examine the lessons learned from the WUSA’s failure and to determine the best path forward toward the launch of a viable new league.

November 2004: As a result of the Summit, the not-for-profit Women’s Soccer Initiative, Inc. (WSII) is formed with the support of the WUSA Players Association to promote and support all aspects of women’s soccer in the United States chiefly by encouraging and enabling the creation of a world-class professional women’s soccer league

February 2005: The U.S. Soccer Federation and U.S. Soccer Foundation each provide operational grants to WSII to assist in supporting WSII’s efforts to develop a viable business model and bring back women’s professional soccer.

Feb. 27, 2007: WSII CEO Tonya Antonucci announces that AEG; John Hendricks of Freedom Soccer LLC; Jeff Cooper of St. Louis United Soccer LLC; Soccer Initiative, LLC; Jack Hanks and Brent Coralli of the Dallas Franchise Group and WGLSI, LLC have signed letters of intent to become charter members of the new women’s professional league.

April 18, 2007: WSII CEO Tonya Antonucci announces that Sky Blue Soccer and Boston Women’s Soccer LLC have agreed to join the previously announced groups as charter members of the new women’s professional league.

Sept. 4, 2007: A new North American women’s professional soccer league, under the temporary working title of Women’s Soccer LLC, is formally established in the United States by seven investor groups, with play beginning in the spring of 2009. Initial teams will be based in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Jersey/New York, St. Louis, and Washington D.C. Tonya Antonucci is named the league’s commissioner. Soccer United Marketing (SUM), the commercial arm of MLS, is named the league’s representative for national sponsorship sales and licensing.

Oct. 15, 2008: The League sets up temporary offices in downtown San Francisco, Calif. and hires Aaron Burch as League Relationships/Development Manager.

Jan. 17, 2008: The League’s brand name, logo and website are launched at the National Soccer Coaches Association Convention in Baltimore, Md. Joe Cummings is named Senior COO Consultant and Vicki Veenker is named General Counsel.

Feb. 5, 2008: Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash and former Yahoo! President and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Mallett become investors and part owners of the league.

Feb. 15, 2008: WPS receives provisional Division 1 status at U.S. Soccer’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). The league will receive full Division 1 status just prior to its inaugural season at the 2009 U.S. Soccer AGM in Orlando, Fla.

Feb. 28, 2008: The League moves into its permanent offices at 1000 Brannan St., San Francisco, Calif.

May 27, 2008: Philadelphia investors sign a letter of intent with the League regarding an expansion team for the 2010 season.

July 8, 2008: Women’s Professional Soccer announces the post-Olympics timeline for National Team player allocation, drafts and team tryouts.

Aug. 11, 2008: Atlanta investors sign a letter of intent with the League regarding an expansion team for the 2010 sseason.

Sept. 3, 2008: A group of Bay Area investors join the League for the 2009 inaugural season. The League also announces that the team planned for Dallas is now slated to begin play in 2010 pending the securing of a stadium.

Sept. 16, 2008: In an announcement co-hosted by WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci and WPS Part-Owner and two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash in New York City, members of the U.S. Women’s National Team player pool are allocated to WPS teams.

Sept. 24, 2008: Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) announced the results of its WPS Initial International Draft, officially assigning the WPS-playing rights of those selected by the individual teams.

Oct. 6, 2008: Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) and Fox Soccer Channel announced a multi-year partnership to televise a live national Sunday night WPS game of the week on America’s premier soccer network beginning in 2009, the inaugural season for WPS.

Oct. 6, 2008: The WPS General Draft was conducted and consisted of four rounds of selections of international and domestic players for all seven WPS teams.

Dec. 15, 2008: Global sportlifestyle brand PUMA and Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) announced an exclusive partnership making PUMA an official founding partner of WPS and an official sponsor of all WPS franchises.

Dec. 16, 2008: Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) today announced its opening game and slate of home openers for the inaugural 2009 WPS Season. Headlining the list of games is the “WPS Inaugural Match” featuring the Los Angeles Sol against the Washington Freedom at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.

From “About WPS”: http://fancorner.womensprosoccer.com

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