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We are the Washington Spirit

Washington Spirit

– FOR RELEASE –

GERMANTOWN, Md. (Dec. 11, 2012) – The Washington, D.C. area’s entry in the new U.S. women’s professional soccer league revealed its identity, home venue and head coach on Tuesday afternoon, the latest step in the exciting return of top-flight women’s pro soccer to the nation’s capital.

Continuing a proud tradition that began with the Washington Freedom of the Women’s United Soccer Association and Women’s Professional Soccer and continued over the past two years with D.C. United Women of the W-League, the new club’s name embodies the passion and dedication of the region’s soccer community and evokes the hopes of a bright new future for the women’s game.

“We sought a name that speaks directly to the history of Washington, D.C. and the patriotism we feel being a part of this great community,” said club general manager Chris Hummer. “One of the core missions of this club is to empower women through sport, and we wanted a name that could be used directly in just about any statement surrounding that topic. We wanted a name that had a lot of Spirit.

“So I’m proud to announce the newest professional sports franchise in the nation’s capital will be known as the Washington Spirit.”

The club’s website is WashingtonSpirit.com and its Twitter handle is @WashSpirit, both of which went live on Tuesday afternoon. Season tickets are already on sale, including “early bird” holiday season specials.

Hummer also announced that Mike Jorden has been named the new club’s head coach, one of several figures from D.C. United Women who will lead the Spirit. Jorden led United Women to a W-League Eastern Conference title (with a regular season record of 11-0-1) and a third-place finish in the league championships last year.

“Mike is an excellent coach on the training field, a strong game tactician, and he’s a great communicator with the players,” said Hummer. “He is also one of the hardest-working coaches off the field. He already bleeds for the club, and I’m confident no one will outwork him off the field – just as I’m confident few will enjoy competing against his team on the field.”

Cindi Harkes is also expected to make the jump to the pro team as one of Jorden’s lead assistants, while former Chelsea FC Reserves coach Mark Parson will head up the club’s W-League team this season and assist with the first team.

Like the WPS Freedom and United Women before them, the Spirit will play their home games in the award-winning Championship Stadium at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Md. The adjacent Discovery Sports Center building also provides locker rooms, meeting rooms, office space, and an indoor facility.

“We could not be more excited to base our operations at the SoccerPlex and want to thank their executive director, Trish Heffelfinger, and everyone there for the amazing support,” said Hummer. “In addition, we’d like to thank John and Maureen Hendricks for all of the effort and resources they have put into professional women’s soccer in this region.

“The SoccerPlex is a perfectly-sized venue for women’s soccer,” he added. “There is also no doubt we’ll have the best playing surface in the league, which we think will help us attract even greater talent than we would otherwise.”

The club will also base its training center at the SoccerPlex, where multiple surfaces across 22 fields will provide ideal facilities for preseason training and match preparations.

“While the name and professional level of this team are new, we are not a new club,” noted Hummer. “We have been operating the past two years with a fully professional mentality, albeit with unpaid players. We played in a great stadium, charged admission, ran all the aspects of a professional game production and fielded great teams with several past, present and future U.S. Women’s National Team stars.

“We’ll have much more news in the coming weeks on coaches, youth academy, sponsors and of course, player signings.”

Filed under: News, Pro

Comments

  1. John says:

    While I will certainly be coming to as many games as possible I am getting frustrated at the lack of information available. If there was a schedule I could judge if single game tickets or season tickets would be better f/ me. Also, it is impossible to value the tickets as there is apparently no way to gauge what level players I’ll be paying to watch. If some players are only going to available after Euro seasons why would I pay as if they’re here all year. Additionally, each signing period comes and extends w/o definitive signings/announcements. The stated free agent period is over w/o any club releasing the results. Frankly, this doesn’t bode well f/ the league’s future and already I feel that there isn’t anymore stability in this effort than preceding ones.

  2. Spike says:

    One of my biggest pet peves about Freedom was they started charing ridiculous sums to park in public lots and then atfer colelcting the money all the lot attendants would go home. When you left it could take an hour to exit because no one was directing traffic or helping. You were just left to your own devices. It stopped being fun to go to games when it takes an hour to get out of the complex.

    • hummersport says:

      We will work with Park Police to expedite exiting. It’s a single lane road/loop around the complex, and in recent times we’ve had them run double-lanes (using both sides of the road) to exit by forcing everyone go the same direction when exiting lots. It is a challenge, but it’s also a “good problem to have” if we have so many fans that this is an issue. We will do our best to keep the fan experience #1 on the list. One thing charging for parking does is encourage people to carpool, so that will be a challenge if we don’t charge (which we don’t want to). Maybe we’ll offer a “HOV LOT” – where you only get in if you have 3 or more people in the car, and cars in that lot get to leave the complex via the shortest route? What do you think?

  3. Amanda says:

    Are there any incentives to buying season tickets like some of the teams have such as a preseason meet the team or a team merchandise discount

    • hummersport says:

      Season tickets are on “sale” at a significant discount over what the regular rate will be. We also will certainly treat season ticket holders in a “preferred” way. We just don’t have specific programs identified at this time. The biggest benefit right now is the sale price, and getting your preferred assigned seat in the VIP secion before it’s gone.

  4. Anthony says:

    Ms. Wyndham,

    No access to public transportation at
    at it’s venue?
    That’s not accurate.

    MARC train provides service to Boyds
    and there is public bus transportation
    in Boyds.

  5. Vanessa Wyndham says:

    How is the team going to address the fact that its venue has no access to public transportation, or is that not a concern of the franchise?

    • hummersport says:

      It absolutely is a concern that public transportation does not reach the whole way to the stadium, but the stadium is to perfect in every other way. A shuttle leaving Rockville Metro every 30 minutes for 2 hours before kickoffs would be ideal, but funding such a thing is not likely unless a bus company would like to sponsor. We HIGHLY encourage the formation of a formal, dues paying members fan group, and would certainly work with them in creative ways to connect SoccerPlex to public transportation via group outings.

      • Still a Braveheart at Heart says:

        Supporters’ group?!! I need no more encouragement — tell me more!

      • Kat says:

        I would be willing to pay dues if it would include transportation from the metro. Since I have no car I am at the mercy of public transportation and the generosity of my friends with cars. I would hate to have to constantly bug them for rides.

        Hopefully this all gets sorted out soon so I can buy my season tickets!

      • Vanessa Wyndham says:

        So how do we go about setting up this group?

      • MarkZ says:

        While this would not be as convenient as a shuttle from Rockville, consider this: Metro to Shady Grove. Take the 100 Express bus ($1.80) to the Germantown Transit Center. Take a taxi to the SoccerPlex (about $8). Getting a taxi back may be challenging. Another alternative is to take the 61 bus from the G’town Transit Ctr to the intersection of 118/117 and then walk 2.5 miles.

        If someone organizes a shuttle it should be to/from the Germantown Transit Center, not the Metro. Perhaps some of the many restaurants near the transit center could help offset the cost of a shuttle (and offer coupons to entice riders to come in to dine before leaving the area). My guess is that there are not enough events to pull this off and not enough would-be shuttle riders. But maybe I am wrong.

        • Bob Cztwin says:

          Even better would be to encourage restaurants adjacent to Metro/Transit Center to offer a “package deal” for a Night Out with Spirits, to include dinner before, drinks after, a ticket to the game and shuttle ride to/from the Soccerplex all for a fixed price. Totally turnkey operation.
          Totally random other thought — get ZipCar to be a sponsor and allocate specific parking spaces on game nights for the ‘plex, that way anyone paying hourly to get to/from lovely Boyd’s MD can either come/go with added convenience (like the parking premium for VW drivers at DC United home matches) or “park” their ZipCar during the match and not have to pay the hourly fee while at the game…knowing an equal number will still be there waiting for them when the game is over.

          Creativity will be key to Spirit’s success ON and OFF the field, so that’s my contribution. Wish I still lived in DC to watch — or ran a rental van company to provide a sponsored solution. But I will have to watch your progress from afar while serving our country overseas….Play on!

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