Once North America’s top flight for women’s soccer, the USL W-League is in the middle of an awful offseason of lost franchises. The Ottawa Sun reports that Canadian-based clubs Toronto Lady Lynx and London Gryphons will not field teams in the league in 2015, citing high costs and low revenues.
The W-League already lost two marquee franchises over the past month: LA Blues and Ottawa Fury FC. Ottawa won the W-league championship in 2012 and LA formerly known as Pali Blues, were four-time champions of the W-League and a breeding ground for future professional and international talent, such as Alex Morgan, Lauren Holiday, Tobin Heath, Kelley O’Hara, Whitney Engen, Christen Press, Mele French, Liz Bogus, Amy LePeilbet, Ali Riley, Ashlyn Harris and Karen Bardsley.
“It looks like the 2015 W-League alignment will be announced in early January, and we are going to withhold all comments until then,” a USL spokesman told the Sun. The USL recently held its annual general meeting, during which the future season is typically mapped out.
In November, longtime Blues manager Charlie Naimo told The Equalizer last month that the financial realities of operating the W-League team became too much for owner Ali Mansouri. “The reality is there’s a big disconnect in this country with on-field success and off-field success,” Naimo said.
Quotes out of Ottawa echoed that sentiment.
“There’s a great disparity between what you see on the field in terms of the quality of the female players we’ve been bringing to Ottawa every summer, and what happens off the field,” Fury owner and president John Pugh said.
With no known expansion to date for 2015, the USL W-League is left with 21 teams. The all-Canadian Central Conference is left with only three teams: K-W United FC, Laval Comets and Quebec Dynamo ARSQ.
The W-League is currently without a full-time commissioner after Amanda Duffy left for USL-PRO side Louisville City FC. Longtime USL businessman Chris Economides is currently handling the role of league director under the oversight of USL president Tim Holt.
In 2012, the Vancouver Whitecaps Women ceased operations after the 2012 season. The Whitecaps won the W-League title in 2004 and 2006. The Victoria Highlanders, based near Vancouver, also folded
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