Women's Professional Soccer folds

Updated: May 18, 2012, 6:08 PM ET
By Beau Dure | espnW.com

The Women's Professional Soccer league has folded after three seasons.

The league had canceled the 2012 season in January, at the time hoping to return next year. But the remaining five owners announced in a statement Friday that all operations were suspended permanently.

"We sincerely regret having to take this course of action," said T. Fitz Johnson, Atlanta Beat owner and chairman of the WPS.

"We are proud of what WPS has accomplished, having attracted the highest quality players in the world to play in the best women's league, as well as the progress women's soccer has enjoyed over the past three years," Thomas Hofstetter, CEO and president of Sky Blue FC, said.

WPS staved off extinction twice after the 2011 season. U.S. Soccer was reluctant to give the league Division I sanctioning after it dropped to five teams in November, but relented after the league pointed to a surge of interest in expansion prospects.

In January, the league appeared to have settled a legal dispute with Dan Borislow over the termination of his South Florida team, magicJack.

But that deal fell apart, and the league announced in late January that it would not play in 2012.

The legal skirmish continued, with Borislow's motion for a temporary injunction and reinstatement of his team morphing into an attempt to enforce the January agreement he claimed to be binding.

Each side filed accusatory motions, affidavits and discovery demands. On March 9, Judge Meenu Sasser granted half of Borislow's discovery requests.

On Friday, WPS and Borislow announced all matters and claims giving rise to the lawsuit filed in Palm Beach County, Fla., have been settled by a mutual confidential agreement outside of court.

Jennifer O'Sullivan, who was hired as CEO in September, and chief financial officer Kristina Hentschel were the last two WPS employees. They departed earlier this month.

Beau Dure

Contributor, espnW.com
Beau Dure is a writer based in Northern Virginia who worked 10 years for USA Today and has written about soccer for ESPN.com, FoxSoccer.com and Knight Ridder Tribune News Service. He specializes in soccer, Olympic sports and mixed martial arts.

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