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Sports Then and Now

That Red Meteor in the Sky Over Chicago was the Red Stars Falling: Chicago’s Red Stars to Suspend Play WPS Play in 2011 0

Posted on December 15, 2010 by John Wingspread Howell

The ownership of Chicago Red Stars have issued a letter to their fans announcing they will suspend play for the 2011 season, while looking for additional investors to resume competition the following season.

The announcement comes as no surprise since the Red Stars were unable to meet financial requirements on November 15th and were given an additional month to post the required escrow to guarantee their payroll in order to remain in the league.

Unlike previous clubs to cease WPS competition: Los Angeles, St. Louis and the Bay Area’s FC Gold Pride, the Red Stars will keep their organization intact and expressed their intention to hold some activities in the Chicago market as a way of maintaining contact with the fans.

The owners’ statement expressed ambivalence about giving up, but said they owe it to their players to give them opportunities to play in the league for other clubs before the free agent signing deadline, and to other clubs to finalize their schedules.

Although Chicago did not represent well in the standings in either year of their existence, they have a stable of talent that other WPS clubs will be quick to sign, including Spanish international Veronica Bouquete, midfielders Casey Nogueira, Ella Masar, Megan Rapinoe, and defenders Natalie Spilger and Whitney Engen, among others.

The Red Stars enjoyed a faithful and passionate fan base but were unable to build their following and in fact saw attendance decrease from year one (2009) to year two (2010). Sources inside the organization indicated that an average attendance of 5,000 was the minimum needed to keep the club afloat. That mark was missed by more than 1,000.

If the club is to return for 2012 they will have to find a better venue. Toyota Park is too large and too far from the suburban demographic that was the core of their supporters. It is no doubt also more expensive than a smaller venue would be. They will also have to find a major corporate sponsor to help carry them for a few years until they have the ability to increase fan support and attendance. A key factor in their lack of growth was their budgetary limitations that precluded mass market advertising. A major corporate sponsor could have provided that.

St. Louis Athletica Earns a Draw in the Windy City 1

Posted on April 18, 2010 by Lauren Salter
USWNT vs Iceland

The St. Louis Athletica earned a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Red Stars Saturday at Toyota Park in the Windy City.

The Athletica opened the scoring in the third minute thanks to a goal by midfielder captain Lori Chalupny. After a cross from Tina Dimartino was punched away by Chicago goalkeeper Jillian Loyden, the ball fell to Chalupny, who knocked it in for her first goal of the season.

The edge that the Athletica carried during the first half lasted until a second-half substitution by Chicago coach Emma Hayes brought Casey Nogueira onto the field.

In the 58th minute, a shot off the crossbar by a Red Star bounced straight down. The Red Stars continued to press the attack, and it ended in Chicago’s Katie Chapman passing the ball from right to left to Nogueira.

Nogueria took a touch to free space before firing the ball into the upper right corner past Athletica goalkeeper Hope Solo. Read the rest of this entry →

WPS Chicago Red Star Ella Masar Wins First International Cap 2

Posted on January 16, 2010 by John Wingspread Howell

Chicago Red Star and Illini alum Ella Masar earned her first national cap with the U.S. National Team on October 29 in Augsburg, Germany.

Chicago Red Star and Illini alum Ella Masar earned her first national cap with the U.S. National Team on October 29 in Augsburg, Germany.

The following is a post from Ella Masar’s blog at the Illini Women’s Soccer site.

Chicago Red Star and Illini alum Ella Masar earned her first national cap with the U.S. National Team on October 29 in Augsburg, Germany, subbing into the U.S.-Germany match in the 73rd minute for Amy Rodriguez. The U.S. won 1-0 in a battle of the top two teams in the world. Below, Ella shares her thoughts and experiences on playing for the U.S.

My First Cap

The silence is something I will never forget.

It is something that will be stored in my mind more than any other. More than walking into the locker room and seeing for the first time Masar on the back of a red, white and blue Jersey. More than coming out of the tunnel to hearing boos to a sold-out arena. Even more than Pia Sundage patting me on the back asking me if I was ready, me simply smiling, and telling her thank you. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
      August 7, 2021 | 6:59 pm

      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

      Read more »

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