USL News Release
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
TAMPA, FL – United Soccer Leagues announced today that the Ventura County Fusion and Los Angeles Storm of the Premier Development League will be adding W-League franchises to their clubs for the 2008 campaign, extending their rivalry into the women’s game.
The pair round out the seven-team Western Conference, and will be part of a trio of new teams in the greater Los Angeles area along with the expansion Pali Blues.
“We are thrilled that two of our PDL franchises have made a commitment to the women’s game through the W-League and look forward to what should be an exciting season in Southern California soccer,” said W-League Director of Operations Kristin Lettiere. “As we continue to expand on the west coast, we believe that these three California clubs will serve as a solid foundation for future growth. Each brings a unique identity to the league via their club structure and staff that will make the Western Conference very dynamic.”
In just their first year in the PDL the Ventura County Fusion were playoff contenders in an extremely competitive Southwest Division as the top four teams finished within a two-point spread in the standings. The Fusion, at 9-4-3, narrowly missed the postseason by those two points.
Ventura was also a leader off the field, finishing fifth in the PDL in attendance with an average of 1,176 on the year, joining the Fresno Fuego (3,068) as the leaders in the Western Conference.
"We are exciting to be bringing the highest level of women’s soccer in the US to the Ventura County areas,” said Fusion General Manager Ranbir Shergill. “Our goal was always to expand the Fusion brand and the addition on the W-League is a very exciting move for our soccer loving public and female soccer players. Having a successful fisrt season in the PDL with tremendous community support meant that the W-League was just a natural progression in creating the all-embracing soccer organization. The acquisition brings us closer to completing the top-to-bottom soccer pyramid model that every soccer organization in the US is trying to strive for."
The Los Angeles Storm saw improvement in 2007 as they moved up the table from their inaugural 2006 campaign, finishing fifth at 6-5-5 for the year. The Storm also saw success off the field with their attendance growing over 30 percent from their opening campaign as several games had crowds in excess of 1,000. The club also played host to over 2,200 fans in a friendly with Major League Soccer’s Chivas USA.
The Storm’s new W-League franchise, name to be announced, will serve as the peak of the women’s pyramid for the club’s youth partner Glendora Football Club. Glendora FC is also a member of the Super Y-League via the team’s participation in the Coast Soccer League, which serves as the SYL’s Pacific Southern California Division. The U13 Girls advanced to the SYL North American Finals last November and finished 1-1-1 in a group in which the top two teams advanced to the semifinals. Glendora played the group-winner and eventual North American Champion Cleveland Internationals to a 1-1 draw.
"We wanted a W-League team from the very beginning, but just wanted to make sure the timing was right before launching a second team," said Storm co-owner and General Manager Josh Hodges. "We have built a very strong fan base and foundation with our PDL team over the past two years and I believe that our fans will welcome the addition of a W-League team with open arms, especially since most of the games will be doubleheaders."
"The competitive girls’ level of our youth partner Glendora FC is growing rapidly and it is very realistic to think that we could take players from our youth system and have them compete for us at this level in the near future. Our surrounding communities have a lot of talent. We are excited to provide a platform for these players to compete locally at the highest level US Soccer has to offer women and give our younger players something to aspire to."