- covering the world of women's sport
Top Headlines
Women's Pro Sports
Women's Collegiate
Women's Fitness
Athlete Profiles
National Teams
Photo Galleries
SI  Watch
Sports History
The Gift Shop

WSPW Press Kit
Submit Story


WPS future doubtful after Magicjack spat

Wambach martinez photosport
Abby Wambach in Washington Freedom garb.

Paul Martinez / PHOTOSPORT

By Paul Martinez
Staff Writer

Boca Raton, Fla. (October 28, 2011) – The storied women's soccer franchise once known as the Washington Freedom was humanely put down by the WPS league office October 25.

     From the start of the season, disputes escalated between the league and the team's outspoken owner over seemingly minor points like stadium seating capacity, lack of sponsors' signage, and lack of website and marketing. The owner was notoriously hard on his players, precipitating a formal complaint by the player's union.

     Despite having to labor under the name of a ludicrous infomercial product, they performed well in 2011, finishing third on the strengths of US National Team members Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, Lindsay Tarpley and Megan Rapinoe. But the financial and philosophical rift between the league and Magic Jack owner Dan Borislow turned irreconciliable in August when he sued the league.

     Though the court action was quickly dropped, the underlying personality conflict remained and he league pulled the franchise's license at the end of the season, stating that Borislow abused his players and failed to make financial commitments.

     It made for a sad finale for one of the most storied franchises in women's soccer. One of the original WUSA squads, it won the terminal Founder's Cup in 2003 with Mia Hamm. After that league folded, the franchise survived, playing a couple years as an informal squad. In 2006, the team joined and played the next three years in the USL W- League.

     With the formation of the WPS, the Freedom became one of the founding members, but the original owners put the team on the market at the end of 2009, citing financial need. Dan Borislow took over, moving the team to Boca Raton and renaming it after his company's flagship product. But the contentious owner and the league never saw eye to eye and saw it better to move on, with or without Borislow's financial input.

     The league faces 2012 with five members, only one of which began the league at its 2009 launch. The Boston Breakers are in search of a serious financial infusion. WPS requires teams to have a $2.5 million budget. If the Boston Breakers fold as many think, the last of the original WUSA franchises will be gone. Worse, the league will be down to four franchises, though a Connecticut team is rumored to be joining.

 Photo Gallery
WambachAbby Wambach

contact | privacy policy | jobs
©2007 Sports PhotoWorld Magazine