WUSA Looks to Reboot

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The Women’s United Soccer Association, the cable-centric soccer circuit that ceased operations after its third season last September, took more steps toward a relaunch Monday, announcing that it would run a pair of soccer festivals in the Los Angeles and Minneapolis areas in June.

The National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn., and the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., will host a series of matches involving a minimum of 100 former WUSA players, as well as clinics, autograph sessions and other community-outreach efforts June 17-20 and 24-27, respectively.

The sites were among more than 15 that expressed interest in hosting the events, including the eight former WUSA markets. A third weekend, June 10-13, is still under consideration, said Joe Cummings, co-chairman of the committee to relaunch the WUSA, on a conference call Monday afternoon.

These festivals will serve as a bridge to keep the WUSA and its clubs’ brands alive as former league officials and players strive to bring the league back for a full season in 2005, according to Tony DeCicco, the league’s commissioner and now co-chairman of the relaunch committee.

DeCicco said John Hendricks, Discovery Communications Inc.’s head and patriarch of the WUSA, has taken an active role in pursuing "a solid base of national sponsors" that will be critical if the league is to reform next year.

DeCicco added that he was "not at liberty" to identify interested parties, but he noted that "final contracts" had not yet been signed.

He said, "TV is being talked about for the festivals. Kerry Tatlock, who was the league’s vice president of television, new-media league, is working on this." He noted that there was nothing to report at this juncture.

Hendricks’ involvement in trying to resuscitate the league aside, it was unclear whether former league investors/operators -- including Time Warner Cable, Comcast Corp, Cox Enterprises Inc. and Cox Communications Inc. -- would return if the WUSA kicks again as a full league.

"Previous investor companies will be approached when the business plan is in place. I can’t tell whether they will want to continue. Some probably will, while others will likely choose not to," DeCicco said.

Cummings -- who was the general manager of the Boston Breakers, the club owned by Amos Hostetter's Pilot House Soccer LLC -- declined to comment when asked specifically about Hostetter’s involvement with the league going forward.

Cummings noted that if the WUSA were to reconvene for a 2005 campaign, an announcement would likely be made before the start of the festivals in June to allow enough time to reorganize and provide proper infrastructure.

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