The fate of the FC Gold Pride will likely be determined by Monday, the deadline for the locally owned Women’s Pro Soccer team to set aside the funds required by the league to play next season.
And all indications point to Gold Pride owners Brian and Nancy NeSmith of Los Altos not investing more money into a league struggling to survive.
“If the team doesn’t have a new owner by the 15th of November, the team will fold,” Gold Pride general manager Ilisa Kessler said.
Nancy NeSmith would only say, “We are looking at different investing options.”
Kessler is hopeful a buyer can be found for the team that captured the WPS championship in September.
“Several people have come forward,” she said, “but obviously (there are) no guarantees it will happen.” Kessler would not name the interested parties.
After finishing last in 2009 – the league’s inaugural season – the Gold Pride dominated the WPS this year under coach Albertin Montoya, a Los Altos High graduate.
But the team’s average attendance dropped in a season it moved home games from Santa Clara University to the East Bay (Castro Valley High and Cal State Hayward). The Gold Pride averaged 3,056 fans per game this season, 610 fewer than last year, according to numbers provided by Kessler.
The Gold Pride isn’t the only team in trouble. The Washington Freedom announced last week that it is also seeking new ownership to remain afloat. If the Gold Pride and Freedom fold, the league would be down to five teams.
“During these next two weeks, the league’s board, WPS CEO and owners are working diligently to get a maximum number of teams to return in 2011,” WPS director of communications Robert Penner said Nov. 3. “All proposals and options are being looked at.”
Penner would not divulge how much money each team must have in reserve for next season. He said the payment due Monday “is essentially the deposit and guarantee that the team will commit to the 2011 season.”