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CyberRays GM Marlene Bjornsrud on cessation of WUSA operations

September 15, 2003 - Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) - San Jose CyberRays News Release

Here is the complete text of a statement by CyberRays GM Marlene Bjornsrud on the cessation of CyberRays and WUSA operations as of Sept. 15, 2004. The remarks were made at a news conference earlier today:

In July of 2000, I accepted the challenge to build a professional women’s soccer team and organization in the Bay Area. I embraced this role with the full understanding that this was a pioneer journey, something that would have to be built slowly and surely from the ground up. I’ve learned on this pioneer journey three main lessons:

1. Being a pioneer requires the possession of a dream that will not be derailed by anything encountered on the journey. The dream of the CyberRays from Day One was to play world class soccer – which we demonstrated by winning the inaugural season championship – to provide affordable family entertainment, and to assure the community that our players were the kind of role models that they could embrace for their children. Our staff, coaches and players never lost sight of that dream for a single day.

2. A pioneer must be highly motivated to stay true to that dream even when storms blow in. The CyberRays organization has faced an incredible storm in the weak economy that has wreaked havoc on our investors, sponsors and our fans who buy tickets. Though 2003 presented tremendous financial challenges, we stayed highly motivated and creative in staying true to our original dream.

3. The final destination of the journey of a pioneer may be different than what was originally thought. All of us in this organization believed that the WUSA and the CyberRays would be here for generations to come. The reason every one of our players stayed for an hour or more after every game to sign autographs was not just a nice marketing scheme. It was because our players were committed to making sure that every child in the stadium would leave knowing that they, too, can reach their dreams, no matter what the dream would be.

But you already know now that our destination has taken a turn in a direction that none of us ever thought would come. Today the WUSA has announced that our league and its eight teams are suspending operations indefinitely, effective immediately. This decision obviously comes after a great deal of soul-searching on the part of our investors, and it does not come without a high amount of heart-wrenching pain. I, for one, am choosing to see this decision as a detour rather than a dead end. It cannot mean the end of professional women’s soccer in this country and cannot impact how professional women’s sports is viewed. Many women are born to play their sport just like many men are. The absence of opportunity to play that sport as a professional is just not acceptable in the day and age in which we live. So we hold our heads high today, knowing that we have made a positive impact on our community and knowing that, although our organization will become invisible, our dream will live on.

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Women's United Soccer Association Stories from September 15, 2003

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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