By Charles Boehm
Dan Borislow has become something akin to a man of mystery for soccer fans since he purchased a controlling interest in the Washington Freedom of Women’s Professional Soccer from John and Maureen Hendricks last November.
A telecommunications magnate known primarily for his company’s magicTalk and magicJack products, which enable computer-based phone calls via the internet, Borislow’s acquisition of the Freedom effectively saved both the club and the entire league from ruin amid a savage offseason during which several clubs shut down due to major financial losses.
The Philadelphia-born businessman expressed his intention to sign Brazilian superstar Marta (though she subsequently joined WPS expansion side Western New York Flash) and partially relocate the Freedom from its home at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md., an hour outside of Washington, to south Florida.
And that’s about all he said. Borislow cut ties with most of the Freedom front office and has kept nearly silent in the ensuing months, granting only a few brief interviews with media and providing little in the way of official communications from the club. This has infuriated the team’s season ticket holders and other D.C.-area fans, who’ve been given no information about the future of the club they have supported through a variety of incarnations over the past decade.
Several intrepid reporters tracked down occasional details, such as the fact that no arrangements have been made with the SoccerPlex regarding office space, home matches or any other events for the Freedom.
Earlier this year league officials revealed that the club was expected to play a few home games in the D.C. area and would be known as “magicJack’s Washington Freedom,” and the team’s gear still carried the Freedom logo and color scheme when Puma unveiled its 2011 WPS uniforms in January.
Potomac Soccer Wire was fortunate enough to catch up with Borislow in Richmond, Va. last Sunday, where his “other team,” the Palm Beach MagicJacks 96/97 side which features his daughter Kylie, won top honors in Under-14 competition at the Jefferson Cup youth tournament.
As the name indicates, Borislow is involved in Palm Beach MagicJacks as a sponsor and coach as well as a parent, and the team is stacked with young talent. For Jefferson Cup and other tournaments, MagicJacks have brought in guest players from as far away as California – a practice permitted by the nation’s leading youth associations, but one which nonetheless attracts controversy within the youth soccer community.
Borislow seems to be a man of few words and our interview with him was brief, but he did share a few important tidbits of information about the Freedom, which looks to be exiting the D.C. region entirely in favor of a permanent home at Florida Atlantic University. He attributes much of the decision-making process regarding the club to Puma and “all the parties involved” and expects a full rebranding to be completed in time for his team’s WPS season opener on April 16.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: In a subsequent conversation via email, Borislow amended some of what he said in this video.
“Actually I think we only had one guest player on the team,” he said on Sunday night. “The [California-based guest] players have been on our roster for a while except for one. I am sure every team has at least one guest player.
“The fact that we do not practice together makes it much more difficult. It is the type of players we choose who work so hard and help one another.”