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Plot Twist: WPS 2012 Season Suspended, But May Yet Be Saved

Posted on January 31, 2012 by John Wingspread Howell

Thanks to Flash owner Joe Sahlen, the squad may have a chance to repeat in 2012.

Just one day after the news that Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) is suspending its 2012 season, we have learned from a senior official at the Western New York Flash, that Flash owner Joe Sahlen is working behind the scenes with the other franchise owners to save the 2012 season.

After campaigning successfully for a waiver from US Soccer to field only five clubs in 2011, and after holding and aggressively promoting this year’s college draft, WPS has announced their decision to suspend the 2012 season due to the financial cost of former owner Dan Borislow’s lawsuit against the league for suspending his magicJack franchise.

According to WPS Commissioner Jennifer O’Sullivan, the cost of the lawsuit would put more than one club in a precarious position, requiring a new business model. The league’s board decided to suspend play for 2012, revise the business model and re-launch in 2013 with eight teams.

Initially, Western New York Flash announced they would field a team for 2012 and affiliate with the best possible women’s league in the U.S. while waiting for WPS to come back. But today a team official told this reporter that Joe Sahlen, who is credited by many for saving the league for the 2011 season, is working to find a way to proceed with the 2012 season.

Sahlen brought his W-League franchise, the Buffalo Flash, to the WPS for 2011, and ended up leading the league in attendance, in the standings and ultimately winning the league championship. Without a sixth team and the cash that Sahlen brought to the league, it is likely WPS would have folded before the 2011 season, after seeing two of its franchises fold in the off-season.

Now it appears he may be the savior again. However no further details are available at this time. We await an update from Flash and league officials.


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