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WPS to replace WUSA, play starts 2009

Mia Hamm - © 2007 Paul Martinez /
Mia Hamm

Paul Martinez / PHOTOSPORT.COM

Press Services

BALTIMORE, MD -- Formally announced in September, the new women’s professional soccer league launching in Spring 2009 in which three W-League teams will have shared ownership with pro teams now has a name, Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS). With the unveiling of the league logo and launch of its website, WPS made its official debut at the NSCAA annual convention.

The ownership groups of the Washington Freedom, Jersey Sky Blue and FC Indiana W-League teams are also among the ownership groups of the new pro league. The Freedom, who officially joined the W-League last season and captured the league title in their first year, will be the first women’s pro team with a vertically-integrated club pyramid. The Freedom, who will continue to field a W-League team, are also members of the USL Super-20 League, where they won the inaugural championship in 2006, and the Super Y-League. Jersey Sky Blue, an expansion club last season, will own the new NJ/NY pro team in addition to their W-League side and FC Indiana will be part of the ownership group of the new pro Chicago franchise.

In addition to the common ownership groups, Mass Premier Soccer, which operates the W-League Boston Renegades, PDL Cape Cod Crusaders and USL Super Y-League teams, announced a partnership with the professional Boston Breakers franchise.

“A long and careful process led to the selection of Women’s Professional Soccer and the subsequent WPS acronym,” said Tonya Antonucci, WPS commissioner. “The league and team owners reviewed countless variations of league names and logos and conducted numerous focus groups before ultimately deciding on a brand identity that we strongly believe will resonate with fans for years to come.”

The WPS logo, developed by branding agency Adrenalin, Inc., features a deep navy, red, and gold color scheme while showcasing a familiar silhouette – FIFA World Cup champion, Olympic Gold Medal winner and Hall of Fame player Mia Hamm, renowned as a pioneer for women’s soccer.

“I am extremely honored and humbled to personify the WPS brand, knowing full well that this league will be revered by generations of soccer fans around the world,” said Hamm. “Above all else, this league represents opportunity – not just for female soccer players, but for women everywhere.”

“The name and logo provide a solid foundation for the new league’s brand as the premier women’s soccer league in the world and the global standard by which women’s professional sports are measured,” said Chicago Team President and CEO and WPS Marketing Committee Chairman Peter Wilt. “Adrenalin provided tremendous guidance and creativity while working with the League and a broad base of outside advisors to create a name and look that represents WPS.”

Also today, the league launched its official website at, an interactive source for all information related to the league, WPS teams, prospective players and women’s soccer in general. While online, fans will have access to behind-the-scenes videos on WPS TV, prospective player blogs, event and community calendars, league and team news, job and volunteer opportunities, links to individual team pages, and much more.

In addition to hosting a booth at the NSCAA convention, WPS will hold a Town Hall meeting – moderated by Christine Brennan, USA Today columnist and the most widely read female sports journalist in the United States – on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. ET, one of many opportunities fans and soccer constituents will have to interact with the league in the coming months.

“We are actively seeking ambassadors to help raise awareness and generate widespread excitement about the league. One-on-one interaction with our fan base, such as the Town Hall meeting concept, will be the key to our success,” said Antonucci. “As part of that grassroots effort, we want to engage in a dialogue with our supporters, starting with NSCAA coaches, to determine how WPS can partner with and aid their own local efforts.”

Since the league was formalized four months ago, operations have been underway at the WPS office in San Francisco and the team offices in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Jersey/New York, St. Louis, and Washington D.C.

Staffing has been among top priorities for both the league and its teams. In recent months, WPS has hired Boston Breakers General Manager Joe Cummings as senior consulting chief operating officer, Vicki Veenker of Shearman & Sterling LLP as general counsel, and Aaron Burch as league development/relationships manager. Teams have also been active in hiring staff. Former Women’s National Team Head Coach Tony DiCicco was named as the head coach of the Boston Breakers. The Washington Freedom, meanwhile, appointed Joe Quinn as team president and general manager, Jim Gabarra as head coach, Louise Waxler as director of operations, and Clyde Watson as assistant coach. Likewise, Chicago’s WPS team announced Marcia McDermott, former coach for the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) Carolina Courage, as general manager.

“Momentum is definitely in our favor as we draw closer to the inaugural WPS season in 2009,” said Antonucci. “The next year promises to be an exciting one for women’s soccer, as our nation’s elite athletes compete against the best international stars in the Beijing Olympics with the knowledge that they’ll come home to the opportunity to play professionally. As the players prepare, we’ll be working diligently toward the 2009 kick-off with more league and team news, facility announcements, and community events.”

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