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WPS champ Gold Pride joins the exodus

11/16/2010

Shannon Boxx is looking for a new home. FC Gold Pride, which the imposing midfielder from the South Bay helped to Women's Professional Soccer's title in September, disbanded Tuesday after failing to find the investment required to continue.

The Bay Area-based team follows the L.A. Sol and Saint Louis Athletica into oblivion. The Sol folded last January and Saint Louis' demise arrived seven weeks into the 2010 season. Boxx was on both clubs' rosters when they disbanded.

An effort by a group of investors to purchase part or all of Gold Pride and move the club to Orange County fell through. The group is one of two in Southern California seeking a WPS franchise for 2011.

Gold Pride, which played in Santa Clara in 2009 and in Hayward last year, put together the most impressive collection of talent the women's game has seen and posted a 16-3-5 record, finishing 17 points ahead of second-place Boston. The club routed Philadelphia, 4-0, in the title game.

The roster starred Brazilian superstar Marta -- the two-time WPS MVP -- Canadian striker Christine Sinclair and Boxx (Redondo Beach/South Torrance HS), plus WPS Rookie of the Year Ali Riley (Pacific Palisades/Harvard-Westlake School). Other local players were forward Kiki Bosio (Mission Viejo/Santa Margarita Catholic HS and Capistrano Valley HS), defender Kandace Wilson (Los Angeles/Walnut HS and Cal State Fullerton) and midfielder Rosie Tantillo (USC).

The club's players will become free agents Tuesday night; Boxx, Sinclair and U.S. national-teamers Rachel Buehler and Nicole Barnhart already were free agents.

The Washington Freedom, the lone survivor from the 2001-03 Women's United Soccer Association, is among six clubs confirmed for the 2011 season. The Freedom had been in danger of folding but located financing. The Chicago Red Stars are seeking investors and have been given a Dec. 15 deadline to post its 2011 bond, believed to be about $2 million.

As it stands, WPS will be an East Coast league in 2011 with clubs in Atlanta, Boston, New Jersey (2009 champ Sky Blue FC), Philadelphia, Washington and a Western New York expansion club set to play in Buffalo and Rochester.