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New women's league planned for 2013

Discussion in 'NWSL' started by kolabear, Jun 29, 2012.

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  1. kolabear

    kolabear Member

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  2. kolabear

    kolabear Member

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    Oh, now you tell me...
     
  3. SiberianThunderT

    SiberianThunderT Member+

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    You're surprised?

    While I'm for this idea in general, USSF stepping to make everyone join forces, I'm almost wondering if it's too soon. The WPSL Elite is supposed to be expanding to the west coast next season, and W-League Pro is purportedly supposed to start up as well; why not let them grow? On the other hand, maybe trying to force everyone together before they get off an running with their own pro leagues.

    I guess it's smart to not try to go for D1 status, but if it's going to be well over eight teams and across all four time zones already.... Bah, money ruins everything.

    I assume it will be in at least two divisions, unless USSF (or someone else) will pony up travel costs. I still think travel was not a reason WPS died, but with smaller overall budgets I could definitely see travel being a problem for lower-division leagues.

    Good to see Sky Blue hasn't completely disappeared. Shame about Fitz giving up on the Beat, and I still want to know what the status of the Independence is.
     
  4. BostonRed

    BostonRed Member+

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  5. SiberianThunderT

    SiberianThunderT Member+

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    (Psst: already linked in the first post) ;-)
     
  6. kolabear

    kolabear Member

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    From Beau Dure on Twitter (@duresport)

     
  7. BostonRed

    BostonRed Member+

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  8. kolabear

    kolabear Member

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    Yeah but it wasn't obvious since I set the link to the entire sentence so it was all one color. I knew I should have edited it.
     
  9. kolabear

    kolabear Member

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    So, does it sound like they're following the Peter Wilt-model more or less? Except no word about DPs (designated players that can exceed the salary cap) - which seems to me an obvious thing to do, borrowing on the experience of MLS where it seems to work very well.
     
  10. Greg_G

    Greg_G Member

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    Good news that there is productive discussion taking place. 2013 is pretty soon, though it could be the result of 1) feeling pressure to fill the void of not having WWC/Olympics til 2015, and 2) feeling that enough teams are ready right now to take a (small) step up to something more pro than what W-League and WPSL are offering (more salaried players, longer season, smaller league with more professional setup...).

    The most likely scenario seems to be two "conferences," an East possibly comprised of the remnants of WPS: Boston, Sky Blue, WNY; WPSL's Chicago Red Stars and New York Fury, and possibly W-League DC United Women, and a West looking like the W-League Western Division: Pali Blues, Sounders Women, Colorado Rush, Colorado Rapids Women, Vancouver Whitecaps Women (don't know if having a Canadian-based squad would complicate things for this particular league) and WPSL's California Storm.

    Of course all of this is very early conjecture, and would depend on the W-League and WPSL coming to terms on a cooperative league. But again, their willingness to lay out a framework this early means they are pretty optimistic about being able to put this together in a workable manner by next year, and that they feel some pressure to do so.
     
  11. MRAD12

    MRAD12 Member+

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    If it's going to be WPSL in the East Coast and USL-W on the West Coast then it would be good if they come together and create a playoff system. Or maybe the Champion of WPSL plays the Champion of USL-W.
     
  12. SiberianThunderT

    SiberianThunderT Member+

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    Why are people assuming it'll be "WPS/WPSL East" and "W-League West"? There are DCU Women and ATL Silverbacks Women in the east from the W-League, and WPSL has said they've had a full contingent of west-coast teams (I assume including Bay Area Breeze and the like) lined up for WPSL Elite for next year as well. I know each league's strengths are divided WPSL East and W-League West, but really, people, there are WAY more teams out there....
     
  13. DemitriMaximoffX

    DemitriMaximoffX Member

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    Unless money trees start sprouting up near Doraville, I wouldn't expect the Silverbacks to be a part of any new league with tons of travel involved.
     
  14. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    "And any new league would be considerably downsized from the financial and operational commitments WPS attempted and the league would not be Division-1 status."

    That won't pass muster with at least one person around these parts, but it's the only way this is going to happen if it's a standalone league (not MLS-affiliated).

    WPS downsized from WUSA's expense and operations, and this will be even below that? Wow. The bulk of the players are likely to be part-time professionals and sales and marketing will be very bare-bones. But if they can bring the various parties together to agree that one combined effort going forward is better than two or three disparate efforts, that's a good start.
     
  15. SiberianThunderT

    SiberianThunderT Member+

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    The Silverbacks men jumped in to NASL after a two years off, and they travel regularly to Edmonton and Puerto Rico. Unless this new league doesn't do conferences/divisions, travel for the women would be WAY less. (Of course, I know organizations regular don't pay for women when the same amount for men would be a drop in the bucket, but still.)
     
  16. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    Thanks to Traffic's investment.
     
  17. CoachJon

    CoachJon Member

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    .....makes sense to me.

    A concept of an 'Eastern' and 'Western' divisions I also like - for reasons of travel economics and keeping current rivalries. And I agree that east and west should not be based on which league the team is now in: W- or WPSL-. However, there is no reason to restrict 'inter-league' play during the season. Playoffs would be simple. #1W vs. #2E and #2W vs. #1 E and then the championship. Makes the regular season important.

    It would be great if it goes.....
     
  18. BostonRed

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    The Breakers coach said it would be semi-pro, like most women's leagues, with some of the players paid, but probably most not. The USWNT contract is up this year, I think, so that will figure into the discussion. Expect them to get paid at same or better to what they get now with some consideration for what they can make playing in this league. The USSF may be willing to pitch in more for them to play in the US for visibility purposes. 2013 won't offer many games, so the players won't have the chance to make as much as 2011 & 2012.

    There might still be a place for amateur teams as well, though, depending on the timing of the schedule, they might be revolving door rosters.
     
  19. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    The year after the WWC/Olympics two-step is historically a fallow year for interest in the USWNT. But as they know for certain it will pick back up in the months leading up to Canada 2015 no matter what they do, maybe USSF would do that, and maybe they wouldn't. USSF doesn't really need the WNT to be highly-visible in 2013 and 2014 as the men will be carrying the flag, so to speak.
     
  20. kolabear

    kolabear Member

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    Since the next 2 years are the "down" years in the cycle, yes, it probably makes sense if you're going to start off slow that's when you should do it. The question for me is what do they have in mind when it comes to taking the next step? If not another WPS, then what?

    We know we can come up with something that will survive but that's not enough. W-League has survived. WPSL has survived. And I'm not knocking either of those two leagues -- they serve a very good purpose but obviously all of us, even the critics of WPS, think there needs to be something more because otherwise we'd just point to W-League and WPSL and say "there it is, there's your women's league. (or leagues)"

    Even the more respected critics of WPS in the soccer community, like Peter Wilt and Kenn Tomasch, haven't answered that. Whatever else you can say about WPS, it passed that threshold - it was a big step up in terms of where we want the women's game to go, in terms of the dream of a women's league. Whether it was because of the quality of play, the attraction of top international stars, the elements of visibility (level of play, marketable stars such as there are in women's soccer, TV contract). It put forth a serious bid at relevance.

    What is the minimum needed from any league now being formed?

     
  21. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

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    Those leagues have never had higher aspirations that I'm aware of. I just think you have to start there. We've tried sinking a ton of money into two start-up D1 leagues. Hasn't worked. I just think the next effort should grow from a W-League/WPSL level upwards.

    Haven't answered what?

    And, to be fair, neither Peter nor I are critical of WPS, really - it's only people who insist that every picture be painted completely rosily who believe that. Peter gave a lot to try to make this work. I've worked in the women's game before and want to see it work. My biggest problem is with the delusional people who refuse to look at reality. Not the league. Not the players. Not those who busted their asses to try to make it work. The fans who just want a D1 league so they feel better about themselves for some reason.

    And....it died. That's a big "whatever else you can say about WPS," isn't it? It didn't work.

    Because the model you've just described doesn't work financially. It didn't when they spent a lot and it didn't when they spent a fraction of that. It's possible it may not work at all unless it's an NBA/WNBA situation, I don't know.

    I have no issue with those who want to see a thriving women's soccer league in this country. I have an issue with people who believe it has to happen right now, that it's somehow unbecoming or a letdown if it doesn't happen in 2013, that it has to start at the D1 level or it's no good.

    That's what I have a problem with.
     
    cpthomas, Bonnie Lass and Peter Wilt repped this.
  22. luvdagame

    luvdagame Member

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    programs in germany, sweden, and france seem to be working on a kind of semipro level, with some support from either government or established men's teams.

    it's got to be the level that we should start at - even tho we have no gov't or mls support.

    i don't like it myself. i want d1.

    but it makes sense to me that they are attempting to come up from ground level.
     
  23. kolabear

    kolabear Member

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    I guess the short way of putting it, is what is the new league going to do to be "relevant"? In the sense that W-League and WPSL aren't relevant to the discussion, even though they are surviving. So "surviving" isn't a sufficient answer.

    What is a new league going to do, now or in the near future, so that 3 or 4 years from now, we aren't all asking something like, "when are we going to get a real league?" Or "when are they going to start another WPS?"

    Again, in the same way that W-League and WPSL are here with us now but we're still talking about needing something way beyond that.

    I have to say, way to miss the point. And no, I'm not trying to ignore for one second the point that WPS died. I don't have a problem with everyone having that in the back of their mind at all times. But you know, complex issues are complex issues, meaning that there's more than one point to be made?

    WPS, while it lasted, was relevant - at least in the eyes of women soccer fans. In a way that W-League and WPSL are not. What is the new league going to have going for it that will make it relevant. What is the minimum needed to make it relevant?
     
  24. kolabear

    kolabear Member

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    Good point of comparison: Germany and Sweden (lesser extent France and England). But they have some government support or support from men's teams -- although how much is sometimes discussed here and it may be fairly small. Also, the TV exposure has been discussed here although it would be good to go over it again. For example in Sweden, apparently they don't have as much coverage as I thought they did (or as much as TV4 originally announced they would) - but they do get some. It seems more than W-League or WPSL get here. How do they do that? Do the broadcasters have a different sense of "public interest" broadcasting?

    If we mimicked the level of pro/semi-pro/amateur that they have in Sweden and Germany, would we get the same level of TV exposure? My offhand guess is simply No.

    ***
    The disadvantages that a US league has in simply trying to duplicate or mimic the Swedish or German leagues include:
    1) geographic distances and travel costs
    2) health coverage (it's nationalized in Sweden and Germany)
    3) the (apparently) greater willingness by TV stations to broadcast games
    4) Champions League - they have it, we don't
    5) possibly some scattered involvement by pro men's teams or the sporting clubs that are common in Europe (although the big examples that I can think of are in England and France, e.g. Arsenal, Chelsea, Olympique Lyonnais...)
     
  25. Greg_G

    Greg_G Member

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    I think this newly-proposed league will be "relevant" in a number of ways...

    1) The intent is to bring together, into one moderately sized league, top American (and some International) talent so that we can achieve the highest level of soccer and competition possible under the current economic and cultural conditions. This is why the proposed league will have a national footprint but limited in terms of the number of participating clubs. The two current leagues are very regionalized and talent spread out over dozens of teams because they have different goals than this proposed league - WPSL/W-League: mainly, to provide an outlet for players to continue playing, not to produce the highest level of soccer possible or to provide a pipeline for the national team.

    2) The proposed league will require all teams to provide a "professional" environment for their players, facilitating growth and development both individually and as a team. The current leagues are squeezed into such a brief season, with so many absences and such low professional standards (due to a lack of significant funds to do otherwise) that they can't be counted on as leagues capable of reliably developing talent, rather just as leagues providing players a few more competitive matches outside of their high school or college seasons, meaning development will be minimal.

    3) The proposed league would be forward-looking. While it would start small, it would have its eyes on growing the game. If a sustainable financial model can be developed, then the league can concentrate on small, sustainable "growth," not just survival. This is the kind of growth that every single professional league in the world has gone through for decades to get where they are now. We are finally discovering/admitting to ourselves here that women's pro soccer is no different - we'll need to put in the tough work, and do so for years, before we begin to approach something on the competitive level of the WPS or WUSA that is, most importantly, sustainable.

    These three factors (and a host of others that can be discussed) are the reasons why this proposed league isn't "just another WPSL or W-League," and why it is "relevant" just by its intent to be the genesis of a workable professional model down the line.
     
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