2016 NWSL Champions WNY Flash Leaving for North Carolina
Sources are reporting that the Rochester/Buffalo based NWSL WNY Flash will be packing up and heading to North Carolina. The defending champions will be leaving a home that has managed to survive the evolution of many women's leagues over the years. Not only did they survive, they won championships in all four of the leagues! While the Flash's stadium used for matches is located in Rochester, the teams operations and training facility were recently permanently moved to Sahlen's Sports Park in Elma. What will this mean for the area?
According to ESPNW, the Flash are being sold to Stephen Malik who currently owns North Carolina FC, a men's team in the North American Soccer League. Malik has voiced interest in not only taking his NASL team into the MLS, but also acquire a women's team. Soccer website FourFourTwo, also reports that Malik trademarked "Carolina Courage" back in September.
I think this is a "all signs point to yes" case. It looks like WNY will be saying goodbye to one of their most successful sports team in the past years. This also makes you wonder what this means for Sahlen's Sports Park and their programs with the players on the Flash? Will this have an effect on the sports complex?
UPDATE: It's happening. Made official on January 9th on the NC Courage Twitter account.
Here is the official statement from the Sahlen Family.
If you're a season ticket holder, you will be refunded. As far as the Flash brand goes, here is their statement.