NEW YORK, N.Y. (Thursday, August 30, 2001) - The Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) today unveiled plans to dramatically strengthen the innovative league's long-term operations.
John S. Hendricks, Chairman of WUSA's Board of Governors, stated: "All of us on the WUSA Board of Governors utilized our time together in Boston during the weekend of our historic first championship game to carefully craft a new 5-Year Business Plan which (1) takes full advantage of our experience in season one including documented fan research; (2) maximizes the league's use of all investor resources including cash funding, television exposure, local team market promotions, and administrative infrastructure support; and (3) incorporates a strategy to develop integrated sponsorship opportunities which deliver all of WUSA's considerable marketing assets to sponsors including commercial avails, player appearances, event signage, event promotional tie-ins, co-branded merchandise and promotional items, and other benefits which associate this wholesome and valuable league undertaking with the products and services of our dedicated sponsors. Since the time of our meeting in Boston, the WUSA Board of Governors has also approved the management structure needed to implement the new five-year Business Plan from a base of operations in Atlanta utilizing the corporate infrastructure and resources of Cox Enterprises."
League Moves Headquarters to Atlanta
In a significant step to take full advantage of investor resources during the League's formative years, WUSA announced that its headquarters and all league-wide functions will be based in Atlanta, drawing upon the considerable corporate infrastructure of Cox Enterprises. Although an office presence will remain in New York to serve WUSA sponsors and their agencies, all administrative functions of the WUSA will be based in Atlanta at offices provided by Cox Enterprises under management contract with the league.
"Atlanta offers us tremendous community support and Cox Enterprises offers us the enthusiastic involvement and support of one of America's great companies. The commitment by Cox to this league has been outstanding and their cornerstone support for the league's central functions is a key ingredient to making the WUSA a long-term enterprise," said Amos Hostetter, member of the WUSA Board of Governors and a founding investor in WUSA.
Founding player Julie Foudy commented, "I have witnessed firsthand what a wonderful organization Cox is and what valuable contributions they make in the communities across the country where they have businesses such as in San Diego and in Atlanta. Our league and our players are very fortunate that Cox stepped up to provide this extra support. The other founding players and I can't wait to be watching as little old ladies one day, looking at what we've helped to create."
Lynn Morgan Named President of WUSA
Concurrent with the approval of the league's headquarters move to Atlanta, the WUSA Board of Governors approved the appointment of Lynn Morgan as President of WUSA. Reporting to WUSA's Board of Governors, Ms. Morgan assumes her position as league chief executive immediately. She will be based in Atlanta where she currently resides.
"Stars shined on and off the field during WUSA's first season. I speak for all WUSA investors and founding players when I say that Lynn Morgan was one of our greatest off-the-field executive stars whose passion, intelligence, and organizational skills were truly inspiring," said Hendricks. "As we transition our league from start-up to long-term business, there was an individual we knew we could count on for extraordinary leadership and that person is Lynn Morgan."
During WUSA's inaugural year, Lynn Morgan served as General Manager of Cox Pro Sports and was responsible for the development and management of the Atlanta Beat and the San Diego Spirit, two of WUSA's eight teams. Commenting on WUSA's move to Atlanta and the appointment of Lynn Morgan as WUSA President, Jim Kennedy, Chairman and CEO of Cox Enterprises stated: "Our company is proud to be a founding investor in WUSA and we are delighted to provide corporate support for the League's new home here in Atlanta. Today we also congratulate Lynn Morgan on her selection by the WUSA Board of Governors as the new President. Her passion for the WUSA is visible to everyone and will contribute greatly to her success."
Lynn Morgan stated: "To participate in creating the long-term success of WUSA will be an everyday honor for me. There are challenges, to be sure, but the incredible spirit of the players combined with the continued enthusiastic support of our investors, sponsors, and fans gives me a great deal of confidence that we will surpass our goals. I thank the WUSA Board of Governors for giving me this very special opportunity."
Tony DiCicco Named Commissioner of WUSA
Tony DiCicco was named to the position of Commissioner of WUSA by the WUSA Board of Governors. Reporting directly to the Board of Governors, DiCicco will be responsible for developing and coordinating the League's relationship with all external organizations including U.S. Soccer, FIFA, NCAA, and international organizations, as well as overseeing the competitive direction of the league.
"As WUSA's ambassador to the world of soccer and sports, Tony DiCicco continues to be the passionate and dedicated leader who is the key architect in building the league and in creating an international groundswell of support for women's professional soccer," said Hendricks.
Founding Player Carla Overbeck stated, "Tony has been with us from the beginning. In a way, he is still our coach, showing us the way to victory as we build this league in an enduring fashion. His tireless work for the league is so appreciated and all the players join me in congratulating Tony in his appointment as Commissioner."
Barbara Allen Continues Advisory Support Through Headquarters Transition Period
"We were fortunate to have the services of Barbara Allen as our chief executive officer during our critical launch year," said Hendricks. "The task was enormous - organize 84 games in 8 markets plus playoffs with a professionalism that insured fan satisfaction - and Barbara delivered on that task," Hendricks commented. "As we move the league headquarters to Atlanta, Barbara will assist in the transition so that we don't miss a beat in our important relationships with venues, sponsors, and fans," said Hendricks.
Barbara Allen commented: "It has been a privilege to work with the dedicated people who have brought a dream to life -- from players to team and league staff to investors. Through determination, dedication, effort and passion, we have brought world class soccer entertainment to our fans. On a personal level, it is inspiring to celebrate women's athletic power while opening new doors of opportunity for young women."
Julie Foudy and Carla Overbeck (members of the WUSA Board of Governors) Comment on the League and Its New Long-Term Business Plan
"Since Carla and I unfortunately had no role on the field during Championship Weekend (wait till next year), we were able to spend long hours with the investors to develop a lasting approach to building the WUSA," said Julie Foudy.
"WUSA continues to be an incredibly collaborative team effort on the part of the Board of Governors and my confidence could not be higher following our Board discussions," Foudy stated.
Founding Player Carla Overbeck stated: "Not everyone has the privilege of participating in an activity that has the promise of producing such a positive and lasting effect on our society. It is this higher calling that has connected the players and the investors in the WUSA. The mutual support and respect between the players, the investors, and teams has been so personally moving to me. I could not be more proud of the league's first year accomplishments, especially the support of the fans. We are committed to building on these successes and I continue to be amazed at the level of investment and passion by all of our investors. This is truly a great cause."