soccer

Women’s soccer league: Now for something completely different

“Third time’s a charm?” doesn’t really fit the new women’s soccer league announced today. The League with No Name is too drastically different from the overly ambitious WUSA and its scaled-down successor, WPS.

This league revs up the cost containment of WPS, particularly the latter years. But it’s also a unique venture of three national federations, eight ownership groups and, apparently, Unnamed Sponsor Who Is Making The MLS-Affiliated Teams Use Non-MLS Names. (See Stumptown Footy’s deduction and D.C. United Women’s colorful statement.)

So don’t accuse this new league of trying the same thing and expecting different results. Whether it works or not, it’s a unique approach.

A few statements and news bits from around the new league:

– Portland: This MLSSoccer.com piece hails the Timbers involvement and other MLS ties with the new league, though it curiously omits D.C. United. (Granted, D.C. United’s involvement seems significantly smaller than the Timbers’ commitment, but they’re not totally out of the game.)

Timbers owner Merritt Paulson has a statement with a link for season-ticket sales.

– Seattle: The Sounders Women sound gracious after being passed up for the new league in favor of the other Seattle group, whose leader Bill Predmore spoke with The Seattle Times‘ Joshua Mayers.

And Tina Ellertson (who has obtained her coaching “A” license) is excited.

– Kansas City: Welcome to FC Kansas City, which has made its appearance known through the Missouri Comets (MISL) site. If you thought the Sporting KC ownership group skewed young, meet Brian Budzinski.

– Western New York: No statement yet on the Flash site, though they mentioned the announcement on Twitter.

– Chicago: A little more activity on Twitter; no full statement on the Red Stars site.

– Boston: Breakers managing partner Mike Stoller was on the conference call, and the site has a statement with stadium and ticket info.

– D.C.: See above. The team will remain at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

– New Jersey: Hello? Sky Blue?

Outside the league, there’s a bit of bitterness in Los Angeles.

There’s a more conciliatory tone from the USL. W-League senior director Amanda Duffy passed along the following statement:

USL and the W-League are supportive of U.S. Soccer and the new women’s professional league announced earlier today, consistent with how we’ve supported the previous women’s professional leagues of WUSA and WPS.

We’re pleased with the foundation we’ve established through the W-League in the United States and Canada as leaders in women’s soccer and continue to be focused on the quality growth of the league and its teams. Collectively we made substantial strides in 2012 and with several exciting discussions we’ve been having over the past 6-12 months we are pleased with our overall positive direction as we enter our 19th season of operation. We look forward to sharing more over the next 15-30 days.

Not enough? Read U.S. Soccer’s quote sheet.

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3 replies »

  1. It’s a shame that the representatives of the LA and Philly bids couldn’t have shown the class that the Seattle Sounders Women group did. This league doesn’t need all of that bitterness and pettiness made public. Didn’t they learn anything from the Borislow-WPS saga?

    The best sign for this league so far seems to be the relative strength and experience of the ownership groups. Aside from the old guard, Portland, Seattle, and KC seem to be very motivated and enthusiastic. With three North American federations involved, there shouldn’t be a lack of soccer or business knowledge. And if the Nike rumors are true, that just adds an extra bit of credibility for the league – and may grease the wheels on a television deal.

    I imagine the USL’s conciliatory tone is due in large part to not losing any teams (DC United keeping their W-League side in addition to creating a side for the new league is a huge bonus for them). I wonder (conspiracy theory alert!) if the league stayed away from those California teams like Pali, LA, and Santa Clarita in order not to burn bridges with the USL. Their Western Division looked ripe for the picking not too long ago.

    I do like the geographic look of the league as it stands; someone on the BigSoccer forums ventured a guess that having those “pods” greatly reduced travel time and the number of flights by allowing teams to travel to one site (ie: Chicago) mid-week, and the other (KC) that weekend. Sounds like road trips would be less burdensome logistically and financially with that setup.

    Seems like whatever lessons there were to learn from the WPS experience are being put into practice here. Sooner or later we’ll figure this thing out.

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