[WPS] How badly run is Women’s Professional Soccer's magicJack? The league has taken the extraordinary step of docking the South Florida club a point in the standings and taking away a future draft pick -- if the club is around -- for not meeting league standards. The news that magicJack -- with seven U.S. Women's World Cup players -- lost its perfect record followed reports that it also lost its coach, who departed with three wins in three games.
The club has been a mystery since its launch. It has not maintained a web site and did nothing to market itself in preseason. It has drawn crowds of 1,224, 1,008 and 952 for its first three home games at the tiny soccer stadium on the campus of Florida Atlantic University.
At the opener, fans had to sit on the grass because bleachers had been taken away to be used at FAU's spring football game. The FAU stadium has a capacity of only 1,500 -- less than the U.S. Soccer-mandated minimum of 5,000.
MagicJack has yet to put up proper sign boards -- not an insignificant thing if WPS wants to keep its sponsors happy. The club also got in hot water with WPS for failing to allow players and staff to talk with the media after its second home game, on May 1.
MagicJack had been fined and docked a fourth-round selection in the 2012 WPS draft for not meeting league standards, but when it continued it ignore the requirements -- which included providing game footage to the league for other teams to scout -- WPS took the next step and took away a point, leaving magicJack with eight points.
The next step might be stripping magicJack of its right to host playoff games -- a step the league will be more than happy to do if magicJack wins the regular-season title. It will want to avoid at all costs the embarrassment of playing its championship game at FAU.
Dan Borislow, founder of broadband telephone company magicJack, bought the Washington Freedom and moved it to South Florida.
Borislow has taken a hands-on approach to running magicJack. That role expanded this week when he confirmed that Coach Mike Lyons was no longer in charge -- despite those three wins in three games.
“Right now, we are collectively managing the team between the coaches and a few senior players," he told the women's soccer blog All White Kit. "We will leave it in the family throughout the season. We have that type of character within our players that we will not miss a beat.”
For all the problems WPS has had with Borislow, there is this truth. If he had not bought the club, WPS, which has lost four clubs in its first two seasons, would have likely folded.
With increasingly small crowds around the league -- 1,879, 1,704 and 952 for the three games on Mother's Day -- WPS's future indeed looks grim.
After three full seasons, WUSA folded on the eve of the 2003 Women's World Cup. Whether WPS lasts until the start of the 2011 Women's World Cup is a matter of conjecture.