Women’s Professional Soccer’s Saint Louis Athletica To Fold (Updated)
Update: Women’s Professional Soccer is said to be releasing a statement later today which will confirm Saint Louis Athletica will fold.
According to Tom Timmerman with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Women’s Professional Soccer entry Saint Louis Athletica will fold.
Per Tom’s reporting:
Athletica players have just been told in a meeting at the Soccer Park that the team is shutting down in the wake of the team’s financial problems. AC St. Louis appears to have survived, though that’s not definite yet. No word yet as to whether the Athletica will play this weekend’s game at Atlanta or not.
Tom has posted numerous updates in blog and article form over the last week. None of the material I have read from him has contradicted anything I had heard on-or-off-record. While the USSF was making every effort to get the Athletica through the season, they were having little luck finding investors. AC St. Louis, on the other hand, was finding investment prospects.
Saint Louis Athletica finished second last season, and if they fold, both the first and second place teams in the inaugural season of Women’s Professional Soccer will have folded. Los Angeles Sol ceased operations in January after Anshultz Entertainment Group declined to continue running the team.
Saint Louis has a number of prominent national team and international players: goalkeeper Hope Solo, midfielders Shannon Boxx, Lori Chalupny, Lindsey Tarpley, and Aya Miyama; forward Eniola Aluko.
Early this morning, I published an opinion piece at Set Piece Analysts regarding the situation in St. Louis. For more information regarding the conflict between AC St. Louis and Saint Louis Athletica (created by the ownership structure and its financial problems), please read Athletica, Women’s Professional Soccer Reminded: Shared Ownership With Men’s Clubs Finds Women’s Teams Overlooked.
Update: Tom Timmerman, again leading the way on this story, posted a statement from Jeff Cooper.
“The termination of Saint Louis Athletica is a painful outcome from the funding shortfalls and ultimate default by the investors who had the obligation to fund and operate the team on a day-to-day basis. I’ve given this matter my complete attention since returning to a more active role in the last few weeks, and numerous parties have spent a lot of hours during that time exploring what options or solutions might be available. Despite best efforts, nothing was found that would answer the immediate needs of the franchise. With more time, it is possible the answer to the financial challenges Athletica faced would have been met, but unfortunately we do not have the benefit of extra time. The investors who defaulted on a contract to fund Athletica through this season and beyond broke a promise to a league, team, players and a community, and that is what is most troubling about today’s development. I am grateful for everyone’s support of Athletica and am particularly appreciative of our players who represented the sport and our community with such class and spirit.
Despite the disappointing outcome with Saint Louis Athletica, we continue to work hard on securing the long-term future of AC St. Louis.”