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Washington Freedom Launch Club Program

August 19, 2004 - Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) - magicJack News Release


WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Thursday, August 19, 2004) - The Washington Freedom, the world's premier women's professional soccer club, is pleased to announce the formation of the Washington Freedom Soccer Club, the only professionally-based female youth soccer club in the United States. The Freedom Soccer Club is a comprehensive program that will offer the female player a wide range of programs and services.

Consisting of a player development structure that begins at the Under-8 girls level all the way to the professional ranks, the club's goal is to create the first professional environment for the development of elite female players and coaches. The Freedom Soccer Club will feature a variety of levels, including the Freedom Reserves and a school of excellence for Under-12 and older. In addition, club academies, camps, clinics, team training, tournaments and adult and youth recreational leagues are part of the Freedom Soccer Club.

Under the technical guidance of Freedom head coach Jim Gabarra and assistant coach Clyde Watson, the Freedom Soccer Club will feature unparalleled resources for youth soccer development. Gabarra, who managed the Freedom to the 2003 WUSA Championship and was a professional player for 14 years, and Watson, one of the most respected coaches in the greater Washington D.C. area and Gabarra's assistant with the Freedom, will provide the training platform for young girls to reach the professional level. In addition, many Freedom players are expected to coach Freedom Soccer Club teams or participate in clinics at the club. Longtime soccer administrator Louise Waxler will manage the Freedom Soccer Club. John Hendricks, the WUSA's Founder and the Chairman of Discovery Communications, is the club's investor and will serve as Freedom Soccer Club chairman.

"The Freedom Soccer Club's goal is to provide the best environment for the development of female players of all levels of skill and ability," said Gabarra. "The club's membership will be the vehicle that helps support women's pro soccer while providing young players the opportunity to become the future of the Washington Freedom. Having youth and adult players wearing the Freedom jersey and feeling invested in the club is an exciting vision. "

"I continue to be very optimistic about the future of women's professional soccer and the Washington Freedom," said Hendricks. "The Washington Freedom Soccer Club is a fantastic way to keep the Freedom involved in the community and work toward a stable and bright future for women's soccer in the DC area."

The Freedom Soccer Club will be based at RFK stadium. Club offices will open September 12 and player registration will begin soon. Prospective players and Freedom fans can go to www.integratedsportsmanagement.com for more information.

In anticipation that women's professional soccer will return when the WUSA relaunches in the future, the Freedom Reserves will continue to play an exhibition schedule in 2005. The Freedom Reserves, which featured many WUSA All-Stars such as Jen Grubb and Abby Wambach, competed in 13 games in 2004 throughout the East Coast and Midwest.

Competing in the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) from 2001-2003, the Washington Freedom are regarded as the world's premier women's professional soccer club. Featuring U.S. national team stars Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach and WUSA All-Stars such as Jennifer Grubb, Carrie Moore and Siri Mullinix, the Freedom won the Founders Cup III, the 2003 WUSA Championship. With the WUSA's announcement that the league was suspending operations in September 2003, the Freedom competed in a series of exhibition events in 2004 under the moniker "Freedom Reserves." The Freedom plans to return to the WUSA when the league relaunches in the future.

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