Red Stars suspend season due to lack of investors

 
Daily Herald News Services
Updated 12/13/2010 3:43 PM
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  • Things were looking up for the Chicago Red Stars in 2010 when Brazilian forward Cristiane agreed to return for a second season. Now the club has suspended its operations.

    Things were looking up for the Chicago Red Stars in 2010 when Brazilian forward Cristiane agreed to return for a second season. Now the club has suspended its operations. Courtesy Red Stars

After two seasons of play in Women's Professional Soccer, Chicago Red Stars officials announce Monday the team is planning would suspend operations and not play for the 2011 season.

They remain hopeful, however, of rejoining the league in 2012 if financial commitments can be secured.

"This has been a very difficult and complex decision," said Arnim Whisler, Red Stars part-owner and governor. "We love this team, our players, staff and fans. Everything was trending well for our breakthrough 2011 season, but the abrupt loss of the Bay Area team scared away some of our planned investors, and we simply could not recover in time."

WPS announced in mid-November that the Red Stars were granted a Dec. 15 deadline to secure investment toward the league's reserve funding requirement for participation in 2011. With that deadline approaching in two days and insufficient investment commitment to reach the organization's goal, the team decided to go on hiatus.

"We will work with our players to help them find teams quickly while the free market is in full swing," Whisler said. "If we find our way through this quickly, we hope they'll all want to come home to Chicago in 2012."

Though the team would not compete in WPS league play for 2011, the Red Stars organization is committed to maintaining a viable role in the Chicagoland area. The upcoming Holiday Drop 'N' Shop soccer clinic from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20, at Schaumburg Sports Center will go on as planned. And the team intends to pursue other soccer-related activities in 2011.

"We are building a special environment in Chicago for women's soccer, and we hope our fans will stick with us during this transition year," Whisler said. "Chicago believes in WPS and will continue to help the league to build its brand of top-flight women's soccer.

Red Stars fans who purchased 2011 season and flex tickets will be fully reimbursed and contacted by the team staff to process the refund.