Women’s soccer moves, trans-Atlantic comparison

This Women’s Super League argument in England is a little confusing:

– Nottingham Forest, which was relegated from the English pyramid’s second tier to the third last season, applied to be in the league in 2014 but was rejected.

– Notts County, Forest’s local rival, bid for a spot and was accepted.

– But the Notts County chairman is actually relocating an existing Super League team, Lincoln Ladies, to play at Notts County.

Nottingham Forest isn’t happy that a team from outside Nottinghamshire is moving into its space. And Lincoln Ladies fans are annoyed that the pride of Lincolnshire is moving away.

It’s not just a question of distance. The mileage between Notts County’s ground and Lincoln Ladies’ current home is 35.3 miles. The shortest drive from RFK Stadium (Washington Freedom 2001-03) to the Maryland SoccerPlex (Washington Freedom 2004-10, D.C. United Women 2011-12, Washington Spirit 2013-) is 40.1 miles.

But it’s also just 34.6 miles from RFK Stadium to Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium. Ask United or Spirit fans how they’d feel about that.

So it’s not just about driving distance. It’s about identity. And it’s stunning to see the English powers-that-be signing off on a move that ruins two identities at one swoop.

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2 thoughts on “Women’s soccer moves, trans-Atlantic comparison

  1. The English have a whole different notion of distance from what we do. Years ago an English friend of mine and I took a team-sponsored bus trip to see the Washington Freedom play their second-nearest rivals, the Carolina Courage. He was appalled to learn that it was a five-hour bus trip each way, exclaiming that any trip between EPL venues would take less time than that.

  2. Bill Bryson wrote brilliantly about it, saying a distance the English find unbearable is the same distance an American would drive to get a taco.

    It’s also why so many people who want the USA to organize soccer leagues the same way they’re organized elsewhere in the world have no idea. If England were 3,000 miles wide, my guess is they would’ve gone with regional divisions rather than a pyramid.

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