The National Women’s Soccer League says the Boston Breakers will cease operations in advance of the 2018 season.
The league announced the move Sunday.
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There had been widespread rumors that an investor or group of investors might step forward to save the team. Fans who bought tickets for the upcoming season will be given full refunds, the league said.
The league now embarks on its sixth season with nine teams. Earlier this year, FC Kansas City also folded but its players went to a new team in Salt Lake City associated with the Major League Soccer team Real Salt Lake.
The league will hold a dispersal draft on Tuesday to move Breakers’ players to new teams. A weighted draw for the draft will be held on Monday. Players are allowed to opt out of the draft.
While roster size for the league’s other clubs remains at a minimum of 18 and a maximum of 20, contracted Breakers players, including national team allocated players, and 2018 draft picks who are picked up by other teams won’t be counted toward rosters or salary caps.
“In the best interest for the long-term viability of the NWSL, we will operate with nine clubs in 2018 to ensure a stronger league where all parties involved are aligned and committed to the core mission of continued growth and development as we move into our sixth season.” NWSL Managing Director Amanda Duffy said in a statement.
The National Women’s Soccer League is down to nine teams on Thursday with the reported folding of the Boston Breakers.
As of post time, the club’s web site remains up, with a “season tickets for sale” splash page.
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A Boston Breakers existed in WUSA from 2001-03, and this iteration began in 2008. An NWSL original, the Breakers have not made the playoffs since the league was rebranded in 2012.
Meghan Klingenberg, Sydney Leroux, and Heather O’Reilly have all played for the Breakers, who carry USWNT star Rose Lavelle and 44-times capped Canada forward Adriana Leon on the roster.
The current Breakers, including those drafted last week, will be reportedly dispersed in a draft sometime soon.
FC Kansas City left the league in the offseason, replaced by Utah Royals FC.
With the top pick in the National Women’s Soccer League college draft on Thursday, the Boston Breakers selected Rose Lavelle out of Wisconsin.
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The Breakers also had the No. 3 pick, which they used to get midfielder Morgan Andrews out of USC. The Trojans won the NCAA title this past season.
Lavelle, an attacking midfielder, played in 84 games over her college career, with 22 goals and 29 assists. She was called into the U.S. women’s national team January camp, but does not yet have a cap with the team.
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Andrews had 10 goals for USC this season, tying her for most goals on the team.
The North Carolina Courage had the No. 2 pick, selecting BYU forward Ashley Hatch. The Courage were the Western New York Flash until this week, when the team announced it had been sold and moved to Cary, North Carolina.
New chapter, new characters; It’s an over-simplified description of the United States women’s national team make-up for Olympic qualifying, but it feels apt.
Gone are Abby Wambach, Christie Rampone and Lauren Holiday; Sydney Leroux will sit this one out while she handles maternity for the first time.
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In? Seventeen-year-old Mallory Pugh, Portland defender Emily Sonnett, Boston Breakers striker Stephanie McCaffrey and Western New York Flash duo Jaelene Hinkle (right) and Samantha Mewis (left) as young stars on the squad.
Qualifying runs from Feb. 10-21 in Texas.
U.S. Women’s National Team Olympic Qualifying Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (7): Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash)
FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)
Ten minutes into the Portland Thorns’ Wednesday match in Boston, the worst case scenario came into focus as one of the country’s biggest soccer stars lay on the Dilboy Stadium turf. U.S. international Alex Morgan, starting at forward for Portland, went to ground after a collision with Breakers’ defender Jazmyne Avant, resulting in an apparent left knee injury.
Stretchered from the field, Morgan appeared to be undergoing stability test used to diagnose a potential ligament injury. She was eventually replaced by Tiffany Weimer having played only 10 minutes of Portland’s match in Somerville, Mass.
Morgan entered Wednesday’s match leading her team in both goals (eight) and assists (fifth), leading the new National Women’s Soccer League in both shots (82 in 17 games) and shots on goal (44). Her contributions have helped the Thorns to second in the standings, the team four points back of league-leading Kansas City with three regular seasons games remaining.
Challenging for a ball along the Thorns’ left, Morgan extended her leg for a ball before a collision with Avant, who began the season with the Thorns. Never getting up, Morgan was carried to the sideline on a stretcher before being wheeled to the Thorns bench for further examination.
Morgan was seen at halftime walking under her own power, albeit with a large brace extending over the entirety of her left leg. Sources later told OregonLive.com’s Geoffrey Arnold that there was no apparent damage to Morgan’s anterior or medial collateral ligaments. Portland later confirmed Morgan will undergo further examination on Thursday.
Portland’s next game is Saturday in Rochester against Abby Wambach and the Western New York Flash.