The clock is ticking for the Chicago Red Stars.
On Tuesday, the Red Stars and Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) announced that the Chicago franchise has been granted a Dec. 15 deadline to secure investment toward the league's reserve funding requirement for participation in the 2011 season.
The Red Stars are confident that potential investors who had pulled out because of the Bay Area's and Washington's questionable futures may return now that the Washington franchise and the league itself have stabilized.
"Chicago is pleased with the way WPS is working to ensure long-term sustainability of the league," said Arnim Whisler, Red Stars part-owner and governor, speaking on behalf of Red Stars ownership. "We have been working closely with the other owners on a thoughtful approach to stabilize and grow WPS.
"Our intent is to play next season and put together a winning product in 2011. But we need some additional support from the Chicago investor community before we can make our final commitment to the league."
As things stand now, the WPS will play its 2011 season with teams in Atlanta, Boston, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington and Western New York, with the hope of the Red Stars returning to create a seven-team league.
"While it is disappointing to the league and its many enthusiastic fans, players and partners that FC Gold Pride (the Bay-area club in California) did not find the level of support it aimed for in its market, the continuing WPS teams have fully committed to the 2011 WPS season," said WPS CEO Anne-Marie Eileraas. "These past few weeks have been critical to ensuring the long-term health of the league, and we are pleased to be moving forward today with these six committed teams for the 2011 season. We are hopeful that Chicago will also join those teams for 2011.
"The history of sports has shown that in the early years of any league, teams come and go. We are moving forward to start planning for 2011."
But will those plans include the Red Stars?
The answer will come in less than a month.