magicTalk SC owner Dan Borislow talks about his team and his future plans
Dan Borislow called Our Game Magazine Saturday morning from the invention he named his Women’s Professional Soccer team after – magicTalk. Borislow, who owns a majority share of the team formerly known as the Washington Freedom, talked about the team, plans for a major tournament, Marta, and more.
Borislow grew up in Philadelphia. He played baseball and later played college soccer at Widener University. He said he wanted to purchase a WPS team two years ago, but he said the timing wasn’t right. “I was considering it, but I was too busy.” But this year he stepped in and helped a league that lost two teams in the offseason – the Chicago Red Stars and the 2010 champions FC Gold Pride. The expansion WNY Flash brought WPS up to six teams, but the Washington Freedom were in need of an investor to save the team and essentially save WPS. Borislow said the timing was right this time around for two reasons.
“One is I have two product launches in my business and I saw the league most likely would’ve gone under with five teams, and women wouldn’t have had the opportunity to play in the future because (WPS) wouldn’t be there,” he said. “Two, I felt the opportunity to get great value for my company and to promote its brand name.”
When asked if he believed he saved WPS by purchasing a majority share in the team, Borislow said: “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I definitely think we saved the league. Not only that, what I’m willing to invest and some ideas that I have will put the league on the map.”
Borislow said he plans to have the team play some of its games in the Washington area and some in Florida. He said he’s still working on locations in Florida. He also a few other big plans.
“We’re still looking to hopefully sign Marta. I don’t know why she wouldn’t play in WPS,” he said. “The best place for her far and away is our team. We have two million Brazilians in South Florida alone and even more in Orlando. Hopefully between Puma and ourselves, we can land her.”
Marta is expected to finish out the season with Santos FC in Brazil. She’s in the middle of a three-month loan to the club. The end of her loan would coincide with the WPS preseason, but Borislow has no concerns if Marta were to miss some it not all of the WPS preseason, if she signs with magicTalk SC.
“When you get quality players like Marta, preseason isn’t as important. She can step right on the field and play,” said Borislow, who wouldn’t say whether or not he’s currently in talks with Marta’s agent. “I don’t want to press her and her agent. They know who they can call. They know there’s a super opportunity here for them. With or without her, we have the best team that could ever be compiled. With her, we’re a legendary team.”
Borislow’s other big plan – “I’m thinking about having a $1 million winner-take-all-tournament with four international teams.” Borislow said the tournament would include magicTalk SC, four international teams, and a club team from Europe, which would play in some sort of a playoff tournament in Europe in order to compete in this winner-take-all-tournament. He said the money the team wins would primarily go to the players.
“For men, they have all these international tournaments. I think this is a great way to publicize how great our league is,” Borislow said. “It could trump the Olympics as far as spectators, possibly even the World Cup.”
Talking more about his team, Borislow said he has a full roster and plans to make announcements within the next few days about player signings. He’s just waiting on the league to approve them. The roster already includes Abby Wambach, Christie Rampone, Ella Masar, and Lindsay Tarpley, and Borislow said that Shannon Boxx is “rumored” to be coming to the team. He also said the team will add two more internationals.
“We have an excellent forward from Australia,” Borislow said. “There’s a Canadian we’d like to get after the World Cup.”
Borislow has had significant success both on and off the soccer field. The inventor of the magicJack, a small device that plugs into your computer and allows users to make phone calls for free from any landline phone, Borislow said his new products are magicTalk, which allows people to make calls from their computers (similar to Skype and Google Voice), and magicJack Plus. In 2009, magicTalk sales topped $100 million.
“It does the same thing magicJack does, but you can use it without a computer,” Borislow said said of magicJack Plus. “It’s sick. I’m amazed at the voice quality.”
In his home state of Florida, Borislow coaches youth soccer, his 13-year-old daughter Kylie’s team, magicJack Hot Shots. The team won the 2008 Gothia Cup in Sweden, one of the biggest youth soccer tournaments in the world.
“It was the first time an American team won it in that age division,” Borislow said. “There were 55,000 kids there.”
In addition to Kylie, who Borislow said is one of the 10 best soccer players in the country for her age, Borislow and his wife, Michelle, have a 14-year-old son, Dan. He plays high school football, soccer, and lacrosse. When Borislow announced that he was buying a WPS team, it wasn’t only his children who were excited.
“I think all youth soccer in Florida is pretty excited,” he said.
The Florida connection to magicTalk SC runs even deeper. After selecting Meghan Klingenberg and Christen Press with the numbers three and four picks, respectively, in the 2011 WPS Draft, Borislow went local. The team selected Florida State midfielder Amanda DaCosta and University of Florida keeper Katie Fraine from Titusville, Florida.
“I want to work with these Florida schools,” said Borislow. “I want to have local college coaches know that it’s good for them (to have a WPS team is in Florida).” magicTalk SC also picked George Mason midfielder Omolyn Davis, who was born in Jamaica. “We have a huge Jamaican community in South Florida. Half of the kids on my youth team are Jamaican.”
What Borislow’s looking forward to is seeing how the team’s top two draft picks – Klingenberg and Press – work with his veteran players.
“A young forward … look how fortunate she’ll be working with Abby,” Borislow said of Press. “And (Klingenberg) is a workhorse. ”
Regarding the look of the uniforms, those will remain more or less the same. The only difference, the jersey will have magicTalk SC splashed across the front. The first game of the 2011 WPS season for magicTalk SC is scheduled for Saturday, April 16, against the Philadelphia Independence at Widener University. The team will be led by Head Coach Mike Lyons and General Manager Briana Scurry, both of whom represented magicTalk SC at the 2011 WPS Draft.