Source: Defending NWSL champs moving to N.C. in 2017

The Western New York Flash soccer team has a new owner and will move to North Carolina before the 2017 National Women's Soccer League season, a league source confirmed to ESPN.

As first reported by FourFourTwo, the sale to North Carolina FC owner Stephen Malik will be announced "in the coming days," with players already being informed of the move this week.

Malik announced last month that he wanted to move his Cary-based North American Soccer League team into MLS, while also pursuing a women's team to play in the NWSL.

He has now reportedly acquired the women's defending champions and plans to move them out of Rochester, New York. A source said coach Paul Riley is being "strongly considered" to remain in charge of the team.

The Flash were criticized in July for playing a league game at a baseball stadium that was too small for FIFA's requirements, after their home stadium was booked for a concert.

FourFourTwo also reported that Malik had previously acquired the trademark to Carolina Courage, a team that previously played in the Women's United Soccer Association.

Cary's WakeMed Soccer Park has previously hosted the women's College Cup, although the NCAA moved the 2016 event because of the controversial House Bill 2.

ESPN FC's Jeff Carlisle contributed to this report.

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