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Calgary Sun: Calgary May Add W-League & Ledgerwoo

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Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Calgary may add W-League


With the prospect of new ownership for the soccer team formerly known as the Calgary Storm comes the possibility of a professional women's soccer side.

Two groups, possibly as many as four, are interested in purchasing the club, which former owner Michael Vandale walked away from earlier this month.

Team Calgary director of operations Andrea Willems said yesterday new ownership could start up a team of female pros.

"It could end up happening and I think it would be good for the city because Edmonton is going to have a women's team and Vancouver already has one," said Willems.

But before that happens, new ownership has to take over the team, which is currently being managed by the United Soccer Leagues, the group that operates the A-League and W-League for women.

Willems said two groups have a serious interest in the team and are in the process of putting together business plans which will be presented to USL officials.

"The USL would rather proceed more slowly than quickly ... there's always a chance a deal could be done fairly quickly but the USL is looking for long-term stability," Willems said.

USL chief operating officer David Askinas did not return phone calls yesterday.

Askinas was in town recently and met with board members from the Calgary Soccer Federation (CSF) and the Calgary Women's Soccer Association.

Efem Yildirim, CSF vice-president, said W-League teams play six home and six away games and the operational cost is between $75,000 and $100,000.

"From a Calgary Women's Soccer Association standpoint, we certainly wouldn't want to be an investor but we certainly want to work with whoever -- if there is an ownership interest in Calgary -- and help get people to the games."

As for the men, they continue to struggle on the field.

Team Calgary has a 4-12-2 record and is currently gearing up for a three-game road trip on the West Coast starting Thursday in Vancouver and ending Sunday in Portland.

Coach Tommy Wheeldon said the players' morale is fairly high, considering the mounting losses and the fact they weren't paid for the month of June until the league took over and gave them their paycheques.

"The kids could have walked but they didn't," said Wheeldon, who had his salary chopped when Vandale left.

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HEADING FOR GERMANY: Team Calgary midfielder Nikolas Ledgerwood has signed on with 1860 Munich of the German Bundesliga.

The 18-year-old from Lethbridge will play with a youth side and practise with the reserve team as he hones his skills until he moves up to the big squad.

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