Kayla Sharples of the Red Stars says that a possible ownership change will be "exciting." (Photo by Jeff Vorva)
Red Stars near sale to group led by Laura Ricketts
By Jeff Vorva
The Ricketts family is ready to buy the Chicago Red Stars.
The family, which owns the Chicago Cubs and has a minority share in the Chicago Sky, will purchase the Red Stars, pending approval from the National Women’s Soccer League, for $35.5 million according to multiple reports.
The current ownership, led by Arnim Whisler, is stained by investigations from 2021 and 2022 that management did nothing when former coach Rory Dames was accused of verbal abuse to players.
Laura Ricketts and a group of female investors are hoping to change things around.
“Building a championship culture begins with treating our players with the respect they deserve as women and athletes,” Ricketts said in a news release. “We look forward to completing this transaction so that we can begin this new chapter for the team and the fans.”
There has been no talk about whether the new group wants to stay at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview or leave.
Red Stars defender Kayla Sharples said the team was interested in how this plays out.
“I think the news is exciting,” she said. “Obviously, we’re still waiting on the final say, but the mood has been positive. I think overall, we just need more investment. More resources on and off the pitch, I think, will be key.
“I think this year has been a little bit hard, but the fans have showed up, and we can feel that energy, and that really motivates us on our home field. But continuing to boost [the number of fans] would, I think, do the city well and also this team. Overall, the investment will be… I just can’t even speak to how impactful that will be for us.
The Red Stars (5-10-1) lost to Orlando, 5-0, on August 20 to fall into last place in the 12-team league and have given up a league worst 38 goals. They have a slim chance of making the playoffs, but will likely stay home for the first time since 2014.
Sharples is hoping the team can turn that around in the next six games and doesn’t want the new ownership news to be a distraction.
“We’re not trying to get too ahead of ourselves,” she said. “We’re still really focused on the season and taking a one game at a time, so we’re not trying to look too far ahead. We still have a lot to prove in the season to show that we’re a group that is fearless, that will fight, that’s hard-working.
“That’s something that we want to showcase to whatever new group, when they come in, so that they believe in us. I think building that relationship starts now, by showing it on the field.”
The rest of the new Red Stars owners are Angela E.L. Barnes, Traci P. Beck, MD, Debra Cafaro, Laura Desmond, Sidney Dillard, Megan Murphy, Jennifer Pritzker, Hilary Rosen, Jessica Droste Yagan.
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