CHESTER PA - OCTOBER 06: Li Danyang #14 of China deflects the ball towards Abby Wambach #20 of the United States at PPL Park on October 6 2010 in Chester Pennsylvania. The match ended in a 1-1 tie. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Washington Freedom Do Not Fold, Will Return To WPS

The Womens Professional Soccer team reportedly got some last-minute investors and will play in WPS this season.

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Washington Freedom Will Return To WPS Next Season

It looks like the Washington Freedom will stick around after all. Reports surfaced two weeks ago that the team would fold, but they were among the teams listed on the confirmed Women Professional Soccer participants today in a press release on the league's web site.

So what happened? According to a report by the Marietta Daily Journal, the Freedom got some last-minute investors that allowed them to maintain their organization.

Although Washington Freedom president Mark Washo said that his club was "...in the 90th minute" in finding investors, the club was able to reach its goal, saving Women's Professional Soccer from ceasing operation.

"It is a bunch of dedicated people that really want this to work," Atlanta owner Fitz Johnson said. "I can't say enough about how much work is going into how much people want this league to survive. That's shown by all the results."

Johnson did not disclose the new owners, but did say they would assume full control of the franchise. FC Gold Pride, the other team that was slated to fold, was unable to come up with new investors and will not play this season.

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Washington Freedom Players React To Team Folding

With news that the Washington Freedom franchise and FC Gold Pride are folding up shop there is obvious concern over the future of the WPS to continue it's existence next year. Obviously, players around the league are reacting to the news negatively, as the further erosion of clubs points to a troubling trend that professional women's athletics has difficulty attracting an audience in the United States.

Some reaction from around the WPS:

Hope Solo - Atlanta Beat

Its a sad day for womens athletics and for the beautiful game of soccer. What do we tell the young children with dreams?

To change their dream? Come on America, we're better than this.

Kati Jo Spisak - Washington Freedom

Maybe I'll tryout for the WNBA now...?

Other players such as Cat Whitehill seem uncertain as to whether the teams are folding or not are seem to be reserving comment until they are further informed. Unfortunately, one could see this as a possible indicator that not only do women's sports have issue taking hold in the DMV region, but soccer too seems to be losing a foothold to other hotbeds in the nation.

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Report: Washington Freedom Of WPS To Fold

Washington D.C. may be losing its Women's Professional Soccer team.

According to Jeff Kassouf of The Equalizer, sources have confirmed that the Washington Freedom and the Bay Area's FC Gold Pride will no longer be members of the formerly eight team league.

Sources have confirmed the league will announce publicly Monday that the Washington Freedom and FC Gold Pride have folded. The two teams will cease operations and players will become free agents.

Stars of both clubs like Abby Wambach of the Freedom and the world's best player Marta of Gold Pride will be forced to find new clubs.

The Washington Freedom organization is actually older than the WPS league. The Freedom was founded in 2001 as a part of the WUSA from 2001-2003, then existed without a professional league, playing exhibitions only, until the W-League was founded in 2006, and then rebranded as the current WPS.

The WPS has already lost two clubs this year. The Los Angeles Sol folded prior to the season in January, and St. Louis Athletica shut its doors midway through the 2010 season.

With the league losing two of its premier members and contracting down to just six teams, one has to wonder if the WPS will be able to survive much longer.

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