WEST PALM BEACH (CN) - A South Florida soccer team claims Women's Soccer kicked it out of the professional league unfairly, after the team "literally saved that league from extinction, and then became the league's most popular drawing card." The magicJack team says it got the boot as it was on the verge of signing National Team heroes Abby Wambach and Hope Solo for the 2012 season.
Freedom Soccer and Magictalk Soccer Club claim: "the purported termination comes just at the time that the team was preparing to re-sign many of the star players that played for it in its inaugural season in South Florida, including seven members of the United States Women's National Team that was the darling of the 2011 Women's World Cup, including two of the most popular women's players in the world, National Team members Abby Wambach, the team's player/coach in 2011, and Hope Solo, the goalkeeper who recently starred in television's popular prime time television program, 'Dancing with the Stars.'"
Freedom Soccer LLC and its majority owner, magicTalk Soccer Club, sued Women's Soccer aka the Women's Professional Soccer League, in Palm Beach County Court. It wants the league enjoined from excluding Freedom from the 2012 season.
Freedom Soccer and magicTalk operate the Boca Raton-based women's professional soccer team magicJack, which boasts several star players who led the United States to second place in this summer's Women's World Cup.
MagicTalk's CEO Dan Borislow, who invented the magicJack, a device used to place phone calls over the Internet, bought a majority of the failing soccer franchise and renamed it magicJack to promote his brand and affiliated companies.
According to the complaint: "(I)t was only eleven months ago that the team purchased the failing Washington Freedom franchise, and in doing so saved the league and the sport of women's professional soccer in this country, as otherwise the league would have had too few teams, and would not have been sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation, the sport's governing body in this country. In this short period of time, following the expenditure of substantial monetary and other resources, the team turned a once-failing enterprise into a successful franchise, and provided a home for some of the most popular players from the United States Women's National Team - the runner-up in the highly publicized 2011 Women's World Cup.
"Now that the team has successfully completed the 2011 season, and the sport of women's soccer is at its zenith in popularity - on the heels of the 2011 Women's World Cup, and with the 2012 Summer Olympics right around the corner - the league is attempting to exploit the fact that it is now the off-season, and hopes to accomplish an unlawful termination during the off-season, allowing the other teams to sign the team's best players, to their significant advantage. In furtherance of this scheme, this time the league has purported to terminate the team's membership in the league for unspecified reasons, ignoring the parties' clear agreement to complete all contractual dispute resolution procedures prior to effectuating any termination, in an obvious attempt to head off preemptive litigation."
The team says the league's move is "obviously timed to exclude the team from the player signing process" for the 2012 season.
It claims that magicJack's practice of offering well-paid contracts to players bothered the league and the other teams, which are trying to sign its players to lower salaries.