The Sahlen family, which owned and operated the Western New York Flash for the last eight years, released a statement Monday which acknowledged that Western New York is not the right market for the future of NWSL. The statement was released at the same time an event was going on in North Carolina announcing the relocation of the franchise to Cary as the North Carolina Courage.
The Flash were highly successful as an on-field product winning championships in four different leagues plus the 2013 NWSL Shield. The glory days were the summer of 2011 when Marta, Christine Sinclair, and rookie Alex Morgan helped the club dominate WPS in what would be that league’s final season. The results on the field though could not attract enough fans or sponsor dollars to make the team viable in the long-term even with significant gains in both areas during 2016.
The WNY Flash Academy will continue to operate.
The entire statement from the Sahlen family is below:
“Unfortunately, it has become apparent that the Western New York market is not the right fit for the NWSL and the future direction of the league. We know that the North Carolina market will provide what the players deserve and we are excited to see the team continue to compete at the highest level. The NWSL has been an incredible platform for the top women’s soccer players to perform in and we are proud to have been a founding member. We wish the NWSL and our other fellow ownership groups – as well as US Soccer – the best of luck and would like to thank them for the past four years.
Our dedication and support of the game will remain strong at the grass roots level through the WNY Flash Academy and Sahlen’s Sports Park. We are wholly committed to our Academy and we look forward to developing future collegiate and NWSL-caliber players.
Thank you to all of our former and current players for their efforts on and off the field and who always wore the Flash brand with pride.
We are eternally grateful for all of our front office staff over the past seven years who worked to make this vision into a reality. All current employees have been offered opportunities within our entities and we hope they continue to work with us for many years to come.
Lastly, we want to thank the Western New York area for welcoming us into their community for the past seven years and helping us celebrate five trophies throughout four different leagues in Professional Women’s Soccer. It has been an incredible journey and we will cherish these memories for a lifetime.”