Washington Freedom

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Washington Freedom
FreedomLogo09.PNG
Full nameWashington Freedom
Nickname(s)Freedom
Founded2001
Dissolved2011 (relocated, became magicJack)
Ground Maryland SoccerPlex
RFK Stadium [1]
Capacity5,126 [2]
56,692

The Washington Freedom was an American professional soccer club based in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Germantown, Maryland, that participated in Women's Professional Soccer. The Freedom was founded in 2001 as a member of the defunct Women's United Soccer Association. Beginning in 2004, the Freedom played its home games at the Maryland SoccerPlex. In 2011, the team relocated to Boca Raton, Florida, and became magicJack.

Washington, D.C. Capital of the United States

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, first President of the United States and Founding Father. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city is also one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.

Germantown, Maryland Census-designated place in Maryland, United States

Germantown is an urbanized census-designated place in Montgomery County, Maryland. With a population of 90,676 as of 2013 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, Germantown is the third most populous place in Maryland, after the city of Baltimore, and the census-designated place of Columbia. Germantown is located approximately 25–30 miles (40–48 km) outside of the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C. and is an important part of the Washington metropolitan area.

Womens Professional Soccer defunct soccer league and highest level of womens soccer in the United States

Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) was the top level professional women's soccer league in the United States. It began play on March 29, 2009. The league was composed of seven teams for its first two seasons and fielded six teams for the 2011 season, with continued plans for future expansion. The WPS was the highest level in the United States soccer pyramid for the women's game.

Contents

History

WUSA (2001–03)

The team played its home games at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington, D.C., where the team offices were also located. The team's "founding players" (players from the national team allocated three to each WUSA team) were Mia Hamm, Siri Mullinix and Michelle French. The team was expected by some to be one of the best in the league but finished seventh out of the eight teams their first season.

Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium multi-purpose stadium in Washington, D.C., United States

Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Washington, D.C. It is located about two miles (3 km) due east of the US Capitol building, near the west bank of the Anacostia River and adjacent to the D.C. Armory. It opened in 1961.

United States womens national soccer team womens national association football team representing the United States

The United States Women's National Soccer Team (USWNT) represents the United States in international women's soccer. The team is the most successful in international women's soccer, winning three Women's World Cup titles, four Olympic women's gold medals, eight CONCACAF Gold Cup wins, and ten Algarve Cups. It medaled in every single World Cup and Olympic tournament in women's soccer history from 1991 to 2015, before being knocked out in the quarterfinal of the 2016 Summer Olympics. The team is governed by United States Soccer Federation and competes in CONCACAF.

Mia Hamm American association football player

Mariel Margaret Hamm-Garciaparra is an American retired professional soccer player, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and two-time FIFA Women's World Cup champion. Hailed as a soccer icon, she played as a forward for the United States women's national soccer team from 1987–2004. Hamm was the face of the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA), the first professional women's soccer league in the United States, where she played for the Washington Freedom from 2001–2003. She played college soccer for the North Carolina Tar Heels women's soccer team and helped the team win four consecutive NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship titles.

However, this finish allowed the Freedom to select Abby Wambach as their first pick in the 2002 WUSA draft. Additional personnel changes, better performance from retained players, and a Mia Hamm improved by off-season knee surgery led to a far better finish, as Washington went undefeated in their last eight matches and finished in third place (only two points out of first). In the postseason, they won their semifinal match against the Philadelphia Charge, 1–0, and went to the Founders Cup, the WUSA championship match, which they lost, 3–2, to the Carolina Courage.

Abby Wambach American association football player

Mary Abigail Wambach is an American retired soccer player, coach, two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women's World Cup champion. A six-time winner of the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award, Wambach was a regular on the U.S. women's national soccer team from 2003 to 2015, earning her first cap in 2001. As a forward, she currently stands as the highest all-time goal scorer for the national team and holds the world record for international goals for both female and male soccer players with 184 goals. Wambach was awarded the 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year, becoming the first American woman to win the award in ten years. She was included on the 2015 Time 100 list as one of the most influential people in the world.

Philadelphia Charge

The Philadelphia Charge was an American women's professional soccer team that played in the Women's United Soccer Association. The team played at Villanova Stadium on the campus of Villanova University near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Carolina Courage

Carolina Courage was a professional soccer team that played in the Women's United Soccer Association. The team played at Fetzer Field on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus in 2001, and then at the soccer-specific SAS Stadium in Cary, North Carolina in 2002 and 2003.

Washington Freedom players and coaches pose with the Founders Cup at RFK Stadium after winning the 2003 WUSA championship Washington Freedom 2003.jpg
Washington Freedom players and coaches pose with the Founders Cup at RFK Stadium after winning the 2003 WUSA championship

In 2003, the Freedom were just good enough to make the playoffs, clinching the fourth and final spot with two games to go. However, they would go on to beat the regular season champion Boston Breakers in the semifinals, 0–0 (3–1 penalty kick shootout), and then defeated the Atlanta Beat in the Founders Cup, 2–1, in overtime. It was the last Golden Goal in a FIFA-sanctioned first-division league before the practice was changed.

The Boston Breakers was a professional soccer team that played in the Women's United Soccer Association. The team played at Nickerson Field on the campus of Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Atlanta Beat (WUSA) defunct Womens United Soccer Association franchise

The Atlanta Beat was a professional soccer team that played in the Women's United Soccer Association. The team played at Bobby Dodd Stadium on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology in their first year of operation before moving to Herndon Stadium, on the campus of Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia.

FIFA international governing body of association football

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association is an organization which describes itself as an international governing body of association football, fútsal, beach soccer, and eFootball. FIFA is responsible for the organization of football's major international tournaments, notably the World Cup which commenced in 1930 and the Women's World Cup which commenced in 1991.

Exhibition years (2004–05)

After the WUSA folded, the Freedom maintained an existence as the Washington Freedom Soccer Club, moving their home stadium to the Maryland Soccerplex and putting together a team called the Washington Freedom Reserves, which consisted of half-a-dozen players from the WUSA days along with young local players. In 2004, they played assorted exhibition matches against college and W-League teams and participated in the WUSA Festivals.

In 2005, the roster was significantly upgraded by adding former WUSA players like Tiffany Roberts, Kylie Bivens, and Emily Janss, as well as players Ali Krieger and Joanna Lohman from the U-21 National Team. The team also brought in former star soccer players Sun Wen and Brandi Chastain as guest players for one game each. In a season of exhibition matches, almost all against W-League teams, the Freedom compiled a 7–2–2 record.

Tiffany Roberts American soccer coach and player

Tiffany Marie Roberts Sahaydak, née Tiffany Marie Roberts, is an American soccer coach, former defender, and Olympic gold medalist. She was also a member of the 1999 U.S. national team that won the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup. She became the 16th player in U.S. history to play over 100 matches for her country and was a founding member of the WUSA, the first women's professional soccer league in the United States. She is currently head coach of the women's soccer team at the University of Central Florida.

Kylie Elizabeth Bivens is an American soccer player and a member of the United States women's national soccer team. She represented the United States at the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup finals.

Emily Janss is an American soccer defender who last played for Washington Freedom of Women's Professional Soccer. She is currently an assistant coach at Loyola University Maryland.

W-League (2006–08)

The team became an associate member of the W-League in 2006 and played an exhibition season based on home-and-home series against east coast W-League teams. Then, on December 7, 2006, Washington announced that they had acquired a full W-League franchise.

In 2007, playing games that mattered for the first time since 2003, the Freedom compiled a 12–1–1 record, defeated the regular season champion Ottawa Fury in the Eastern Conference championship game, then went on to beat the Atlanta Silverbacks, 3–1, in the W-League championship match.

In 2008, the Freedom went 11–1–2 in the regular season, winning the Northeast Division, then defeated the Atlanta Silverbacks, 2–1, to capture the Eastern Conference championship, but then fell to the eventual W-League champion Pali Blues, 2–0, in the W-League semifinals.

Women's Professional Soccer: The first season (2009)

When the Women's Professional Soccer league formed in 2008, the Freedom became one of the original seven teams that started play in 2009. [3]

The coaching staff went to considerable lengths to retain as many players with past Freedom experience as possible. [4] The initial WPS player allocation, announced on September 16, 2008, assigned US Women's National Team players Abby Wambach, Cat Whitehill and Ali Krieger to the Freedom. [5] Wambach had played for the Freedom in 2002 and 2003, while Krieger played for the Washington Freedom Reserves in 2004 and 2005, and for the W-League team in 2007.

In the 2008 WPS International Draft, conducted on September 24, 2008, the Freedom selected Japanese striker Homare Sawa, French players Sonia Bompastor and Louisa Necib and Australian forward Lisa De Vanna. [6] Following the draft, the Freedom named Erin McLeod and Lene Mykjåland as post-draft discovery players. [7]

Following that was the 2008 WPS General Draft on October 6, 2008, and all of the players selected by the Freedom were from the Freedom's 2008 W-League roster: Sarah Huffman, Becky Sauerbrunn, Lori Lindsey and Emily Janss. [8] Lindsey had been on the Freedom roster since the final WUSA season in 2003, and Janss had been with the team since 2005.

The 2009 WPS Draft took place on January 16, 2009. The Freedom drafted Allie Long, Alex Singer, Jill Gilbeau, Parrissa Eyorokon, Briana Scurry, Rebecca Moros, Sarah Senty, Kati Jo Spisak, Claire Zimmeck, and Christen Karniski. [9] Additionally, the Freedom received the rights to Joanna Lohman in a trade with Saint Louis Athletica. [10] All of the players except for Long, Eyorokon, and Scurry had previous experience playing for the Freedom's W-League team.

Two players were added to the roster after tryouts and training camp: Kristin DeDycker and Madison Keller. [11] Keller had experience with the Freedom going back to 2004, while DeDycker (née Warren) had played for the Atlanta Beat in the WUSA.

McLeod was intended to be the starting goalkeeper, but visa issues kept her unavailable through the first five matches of the regular season, [12] and the Freedom had mixed success with Briana Scurry and Kati Jo Spisak in goal. Following her arrival, though, the Freedom won three out of the next six matches while only losing once.

Abby Wambach, meanwhile, was recovering from a broken leg and didn't feel fully recovered until late in the season, when she returned from national team duty having scored her 100th international goal. [13] She then went on a tear, scoring five goals and two assists in the team's final four games. The Freedom won three of those four matches and thereby clinched third place in the standings and a home playoff match. But despite looking strong going into the playoff match, and coming off a solid 3–1 victory over their opponents, Sky Blue FC, they put on a listless performance and were eliminated from the playoffs, 2–1. [14]

Women's Professional Soccer: season two (2010)

Unlike most of the other WPS teams, the Freedom made only limited changes in the offseason. [15] The marquee signing was of young forward Lene Mykjåland from the Norwegian national team, [16] followed by picking up Nikki Marshall, Beverly Goebel, Kristi Eveland, and Caitlin Miskel in the 2010 college draft. [17] The team then signed Christie Welsh, who had helped lead the 2007 Freedom to the W-League championship before being drafted by the WPS Los Angeles Sol and then traded to the St. Louis Athletica. [18] Brittany Bock was acquired in the dispersal draft to place former Los Angeles Sol players. [19] Marisa Abegg and Meagan McCray were brought in after going unsigned by their former WPS team, FC Gold Pride. [20] After the St. Louis Athletica folded, the Freedom signed their 2010 second-round draft pick Ashlyn Harris, [21] who went on to become the starting goalkeeper after Erin McLeod tore her ACL in a match on July 24. [22] On August 5, the Freedom traded their rights to Nigerian defender Faith Ikidi to the Chicago Red Stars for English national team defender Anita Asante. [23]

Players did not return for several reasons. Lori Lindsey and Sarah Senty were picked up in the expansion draft by the Philadelphia Independence, one of the two new WPS teams for 2010. Lindsey had originally joined the team in 2003 during its last year in the WUSA, while Senty joined the W-League team in 2007. Ali Krieger signed a two-year contract with FFC Frankfurt, keeping her there into 2012. [24] Other players with extended Freedom experience not re-signed included Emily Janss (since 2005), Joanna Lohman (2005), Kati Jo Spisak (2007), and Christen Karniski (2008). Additionally, Alex Singer, who joined the W-League team in 2007, was cut on August 5 to make room for Anita Asante. [25]

The Freedom started their season solidly in April and May, with a 4–2–1 record good enough for second place. However, in July and August they went on a ten-game winless streak ending with five losses in a row that put them out of playoff position and put head coach Gabarra's job in jeopardy. Longtime assistant coach Clyde Watson resigned and former Chicago Red Stars head coach Emma Hayes was hired as a consultant. [26] The team rebounded to finish the regular season 4–1–2, good enough for the fourth and final playoff position. That led to a road match against the Philadelphia Independence, which the Freedom lost on a goal from Amy Rodriguez in the waning seconds of overtime, wasting a superb performance from rookie backup goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. [27]

Following the season, Gabarra announced his resignation, citing "irreconcilable differences" between himself and team management. [28]

Women's Professional Soccer: purchase, relocation, and termination (2011)

Financial troubles that had stirred in the background during the middle of the previous season came to the front during the offseason, with the longtime team owners finally deciding to back out after ten years of supporting the club. With multiple teams having trouble making offseason payments, the league was under threat of folding.

Dan Borislow, owner of the phone service MagicJack, bought the Freedom in 2011. He changed the team name to Magicjack and moved the team to Boca Raton, Florida. He quickly came into conflict with the players and owners of other teams and the league terminated the franchise on October 25, 2011, accusing Borislow of misconduct. The WPS subsequently cancelled the 2012 season and the WPS ceased to exist. [29]

Players

Most recent squad

As of August 8, 2010. [30] This was the final roster to play under the Washington Freedom name.

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No.PositionPlayer
0 Flag of the United States.svg GK Meagan McCray*
1 Flag of the United States.svg GK Briana Scurry
3 Flag of the United States.svg DF Jill Gilbeau
4 Flag of the United States.svg DF Cat Whitehill
5 Flag of the United States.svg DF Brittany Bock
6 Flag of the United States.svg MF Beverly Goebel*
7 Flag of Norway.svg FW Lene Mykjåland
8 Flag of France.svg MF Sonia Bompastor
9 Flag of the United States.svg MF Allie Long
10 Flag of Japan.svg MF Homare Sawa
11 Flag of Australia (converted).svg FW Lisa De Vanna
12 Flag of the United States.svg MF Caitlin Miskel*
No.PositionPlayer
13 Flag of the United States.svg MF Christie Welsh
14 Flag of the United States.svg MF Sarah Huffman
15 Flag of England.svg DF Anita Asante
17 Flag of the United States.svg DF Nikki Marshall
18 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg GK Erin McLeod
19 Flag of the United States.svg MF Rebecca Moros
20 Flag of the United States.svg FW Abby Wambach
22 Flag of the United States.svg DF Becky Sauerbrunn
23 Flag of the United States.svg DF Kristi Eveland
24 Flag of the United States.svg GK Ashlyn Harris
25 Flag of the United States.svg MF Brittany Klein
27 Flag of the United States.svg DF Marisa Abegg*

Notable former players

This list includes players who participated in any games played by the top-level Washington Freedom team, whether competitive (WUSA, W-League, WPS) or friendly (WUSA Festivals in 2004, exhibition matches in 2004 and 2005, Hall of Fame game in 2007, etc.).

Hall of Freedom

In 2009, the Washington Freedom introduced the "Hall of Freedom", an honor bestowed upon former players and personnel "in recognition of exceptional achievements, dedication and service to the club." [32] Current members of the Hall of Freedom are:

Most recent coaching staff

As of April 20, 2009. [33]
PositionNameNationality
Head coach Jim Gabarra Flag of the United States.svg  American
Assistant coach Clyde Watson Flag of Guyana.svg  Guyanese
Goalkeeper coach Nicci Wright Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canadian

Year-by-year

YearDivisionLeagueReg. SeasonPlayoffs
20011WUSA7thDid not qualify
20021WUSA3rdFounders Cup Final (2nd Place)
20031WUSA4thChampions
20061USL W-Leagueexhibition season
20071USL W-League1st, NortheastChampions
20081USL W-League1st, NortheastNational Semifinals (3rd Place)
20091WPS3rdFirst round (4th Place)
20101WPS4thFirst round (4th Place)

Annual Performance record

YearLeagueWLTPtsGFGAHomeAway
2001WUSA61232126353–6–13–6–2
2002WUSA11553840296–2–35–3–2
2003WUSA9843140316–2–23–6–2
2007W-League12113748106–1–06–0–1
2008W-League1112353275–1–16–0–1
2009 WPS8752932325–2–33–5–2
2010 WPS8973133337–2–31–7–4

Honors

Competition history

The Washington Freedom was one of the eight professional soccer teams that played in the Women's United Soccer Association from 2001 to 2003. The team won the WUSA Founders Cup III in their final year, shortly before the league announced on September 15, 2003, that it was suspending operations. Unique among the WUSA teams, though, the Freedom maintained a continued existence, playing exhibition seasons in 2004 and 2005, then joining the USL W-League in 2006 and winning the W-League Championship in 2007. The Freedom became a part of Women's Professional Soccer that launched in April 2009 and participated in that league in 2009 and 2010. The team was then sold, moved to Florida, and renamed MagicJack.

Despite the addition of a professional team, the Freedom maintained an elite amateur team, which played in the W-League in 2009 and 2010, finishing second in the league in 2009.

Head coaches

Stadia

While in the WUSA, the Washington Freedom played their home games in RFK Stadium in Washington DC. Since the WUSA ended, the Washington Freedom has played most of their home matches at the Soccerplex in Maryland. They have, however, continued to play some games at RFK as doubleheaders with DC United. These include games as the Freedom Reserves in 2004, [34] while in the W-League, [35] and since joining the WPS. [36] They played three doubleheaders in 2009 [36] and one doubleheader in 2010. [37]

See also

Related Research Articles

Jim Gabarra is a retired American soccer forward who coached the Washington Spirit National Women's Soccer League team, and previously coached Sky Blue FC and the Washington Freedom women's soccer teams. He played professionally in the American Soccer League, United Soccer League, American Indoor Soccer Association, Major Indoor Soccer League and Western Soccer Alliance.

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References

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