New women's league planned for 2013

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

  1. Greg_G

    Greg_G Member

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    What I'm really interested in seeing is how the respective leagues will react to whatever configuration of teams leaves for this new league. Of course neither will want to be cannibalized, but the truth is that the WPSL-Elite League is going to be starting from scratch at best, and disappearing altogether at worst because Boston, Western New York, Chicago, and New York Fury seem intent on something even more professional. And W-League could be losing from 2-6 marquee franchises. Without those squads, the Elite league certainly wouldn't have existed this year, and the majority of top national team players (US and international) were drawn to W-League teams that happen to be the ones most likely to move up into the new league because of their professionalism. And to be honest, it doesn't make sense for an Elite League or W-Pro competing with this new venture. I have to imagine all parties will try to placate those leagues for the loss of teams and players, even if there is little either can really do about it; their cooperation, in whatever capacity, has to be critical - but in what way will they cooperate now that their leagues could be taking a big hit on the heels of the biggest exposure they've ever had? This could get downright Machiavellian - no, Borislowian.


  2. BostonRed

    BostonRed Member+

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    I would think the loss of the players wouldn't be nearly the hit that the loss of teams might be. 6 months ago, the players we are mostly talking about wouldn't have been available to the 2 leagues, they would be in WPS or overseas. I would imagine any team that relies heavily on college & HS players must have high roster turnover from year-to-year (and I got the impression that coaches are pretty used to players coming in & out of the roster because of school dates & U-xx team requirements) and in a constant recruiting/trial mode.
  3. StarCityFan

    StarCityFan BigSoccer Supporter

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    The Charge would be almost unrecognizable if they dropped their college (and younger) players. I think they only have two or three regulars who aren't still in school.
  4. Ben James Ben

    Ben James Ben Member

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    WPSL Elite is already going ahead with its 2013 plans, with an expansion to the west coast and the addition of the California Storm and San Diego SeaLions.

    http://www.wpslelite.com/news/index.php?news_id=1614
    Nacional Tijuana repped this.


  5. Nacional Tijuana

    Nacional Tijuana BigSoccer Supporter

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    Boy, if that's true, I wish the Sea Lions would get out of that part of town. I'm part of the bus-riding minority, and they are well off of an MTS line.

    But other than that, I'm very happy to hear about this. Seems the game has momentum, now, even if we've needed to reconfigure the league governing it.
  6. Morris20

    Morris20 Member

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    I don't know, it wouldn't be the first time competing leagues and agendas set the sport back. This looks a LOT like jumping the gun . . . (or trying to pre-empt something)
  7. drmoss

    drmoss New Member

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    Weird way to announce this. I follow the Sea Lions on twitter, facebook and I just checked their website....no mention of this other than in the article on the WPSL site. It is kind of like they want as few people to know about this as possible.
    Nacional Tijuana repped this.
  8. ceezmad

    ceezmad Member+

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  9. SiberianThunderT

    SiberianThunderT Member+

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    It's just a reformat of the (outdated and speculative) information that was already there - you can look at the page edit history, all those changes were made before the recent announcement. And you tell b/c the OC Waves are still listed. X-D It definitely needs to be updated information-wise.
  10. BostonRed

    BostonRed Member+

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    Interesting statements from Abby from the AP yesterday:

    Wambach says players are working to help another league take root in the U.S. But if that doesn't happen, she and her teammates could look to established women's leagues in Sweden, France and Germany or a growing league in Japan.

    I'm curious how the big names are "working to help".
  11. Nacional Tijuana

    Nacional Tijuana BigSoccer Supporter

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    Yeah, I',m a little confused now. Everything I hear about San Diego says the Sea Lions, but I think the wiki left that up in the air.
  12. Greg_G

    Greg_G Member

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    Exactly. Not to be harsh on the USWNT, but the simple fact is that they are the single most important and powerful piece to the puzzle that is pro women's soccer in the US. If they aren't involved it doesn't happen. And it's going to take some hard work and sacrifice from them to make a pro league work.

    Unfortunately, it seems that what we generally hear from them is...
    1) We can best help by winning international competitions
    2) We're waiting for the powers that be to do something
    3) If a league doesn't happen here soon, we're going to look overseas

    I'd like to hear more "we're willing to take greatly reduced salaries, especially considering our salaries are augmented by the national team and by endorsements," "we're willing to put in years of hard work selling the league and helping it grow," and "we could go overseas and play for more money, but it's more important for us to stay here and start up a US-based league - if not for us then for the generations to come."

    Look, if you want to go where the money is, fine, that's your choice and you have every right to make that choice. But, if you keep saying you want a pro league here you have to be able to sacrifice and put in the work and not expect something like WUSA or WPS to materialize out of nothing. That hasn't worked.
    Nacional Tijuana repped this.
  13. Morris20

    Morris20 Member

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    The message from Soccer House is - help us make this league work by basically playing for very little (and recruiting volunteer/nearly volunteer teammates to work for even less). And in return SocFed will sanction the league (and owners, some with little invested, will probably break even).

    Thankfully, the players have some leverage as these negotiations move forward. It's going to take sacrifice/investment from owners, players, and the federation. If one side wants to cheap out, it will delay things. But to all those Calamity Jane's who kept talking about how WPS was a "last shot" - it should be informative that the discussion now is only about the form of a successor league, rather than whether one will exist. IMO, it pays for the players AND owners to wait rather than rush into a situation where they're not assured the federation will contribute its fair share, either with money or at least a plan to schedule things cooperatively. No one likes to talk about it, but the number of "big" WUSA/WPS games where the best players were missing was WAY too high.

    And it pays for the player and federation to wait until they get a pool of owners who are capable of sustaining a long term commitment to profitability. If MLS had depended on guys like the idiot in St. Louis from the get go, it wouldn't exist now either.
  14. Greg_G

    Greg_G Member

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    There can be no question that owners have sacrificed over the years. They've invested millions of dollars into several leagues, all the while getting criticized by fans and players thinking they aren't doing enough. US Soccer isn't in the business of starting or operating leagues. They regulate. It isn't their job or obligation to put millions of dollars into a top men's or women's league. This isn't about the owners of US Soccer not doing enough, it's about the players giving more (in this case lower player costs through reduced salaries) because there is no other way to maintain a stable semi-pro/pro league of quality in the US.

    The biggest thing US Soccer can do is make the players available more often by reducing the length of their national team camps - which shouldn't be a problem with no major tourneys in the next couple of years. The problem is, if they do that, will they also want a reduction in payments to those national teamers (makes sense - if they're not playing/practicing as much why should they get paid the same?), and will those players be willing to make that sacrifice. They should, if that money is being replaced with a club team salary. There are some administrative duties they can take on, and word seems to be that they are willing to provide that sort of help. Owners are clearly willing to go all in yet again. So, the players are the big question. Moderate salaries or nothing - that's kind of what it's coming down to.
  15. WPS_Movement

    WPS_Movement Member+

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    The only way this is truly going to work, is to pay the players (per match - after each match) based on attendance. For example, each player would be worth so many "points", in terms of their financial worth to the organization (which would be negotiated and dictated before the start of each season). After each home soccer match, the total attendance would be multiplied by that "points" total, for each player, to calculate their dollars earned for that home match. Road matches would be paid at a "fixed" rate for all players (and all road travel is included for the players at no extra charge to them, including food costs).

    There would be no base salary involved. Just "variable" financial compensation earned for "home matches", and "fixed" financial compensation earned for "road" matches.


    For example ....

    A player like Abby Wambach would be worth 100 points (maxed out superstar points level)
    A player like Allie Long would be worth 50 points (mid-level starter points level)
    A player like Kerri Hanks would be worth 24 points (contributor bench player points level)

    The points total is then put into "decimal" format, and is then multiplied by the total attendance #, to calculate their dollars earned for that particular game (and paid to the players after each match, or accumulated in a payroll paycheck which is paid out every week or bi-weekly).

    For example, Wambach would be worth 100 points (100 points put into decimal format in this scenario would equate to 1.00). And let's say a particular home soccer match for her drew exactly 3,100 fans that came out to the stadium for that particular match.

    Wambach's equation would be: 1.00 * 3,100 attendance = $3,100 earned for that home match.

    Players would only be paid in this "variable" format for home matches. Everyone would then get a "fixed" $700 for each road match (no matter how many points they're worth on the roster), because of the travel costs involved. So let's say Wambach earns an avg. of $3,100 per home match (when it's all said and done). Let's say there's 11 home matches including a playoff home game. That would be $3,100 * 11 = $34,100 earned in all home matches. Plus we'll say 10 road matches. $700 fixed * 10 road matches = $7,000 earned in all road matches. $34,100 + $7,000 = $41,100 total revenue for Abby. Of course, she can make a lot more than this, if avg. home attendance skyrockets. (*note* - players are paid after each home match's attendance, not based on yearly avg. attendance).

    Let's move on, shall we ....

    Allie Long's worth 50 points.
    we'll say 2,900 attendance for a particular home match.

    Allie Long's equation would be: 0.50 * 2,900 attendance = 1,450 earned for that home match.

    All road matches would be "fixed" at $700 earned (for every player of every team).
    Let's say her team drew an avg. of 3,000 attendance per home match, and they played 10 home matches (and no playoff home matches). She's worth 50 points (translates to 0.50 in decimal format). 0.50 * 3,000 attendance * 10 home matches = $15,000 in home match revenue for Allie. And then road match revenue would be $7,000 ($700 fixed * 10 road matches). $15,000 + $7,000 = $22,000 total income for Allie Long.

    Kerri Hanks equation would be: 0.24 * 2,800 attendance = $672 earned for that home match.
    Let's say she averages that amount ($672 per match).
    $672 * 10 matches = $6,720 home match revenue. She would actually earn more road match revenue ($700 * 10 road matches = $7,000). Her total revenue for that season is = $13,720. Which means, she may have to get a part time job in the off-season, unless she bunkers up with like 3 or 4 other teammates to share all living costs.

    In addition to this system, "each" franchise will dictate whether or not they want to pay additional bonuses at the end of the year. Bonuses can be determined by how well the franchise did financially (and attendance wise) by the end of the year. Bonuses are optional, but can be paid out based on how well the "team" performed, and how well each "individual" performed.

    As you can see, a superstar can earn about $40,000+ per year in the new league.
    A starter, or mid-level player can earn in the $20,000's per year in the new league.
    And a bench player or contributor (non-starter) can earn in the teens ($13,000 - $19,000), when it's all said and done.

    Here would be the points breakdown, for each player to negotiate, once they are classified as a particular status to an organization during signing and negotiation terms (each year).

    Player Status
    Super-star: worth 85 - 100 points (negotiated by the superstar player and the franchise)
    All-star: worth 70 - 84 points
    Mid-level / starter: worth 40 - 69 points
    Bench / contributor: worth 20 - 39 points

    So for example, a player like Allie Long agrees in principle (unofficial) to sign on with a team as a "Mid-level / starter" in Status as classified by that team. From there, before official signing, she tries to negotiate with them to be worth as close to 69 points as possible, because that's the max # of points she can earn toward her financial compensation equation, being classified in the mid-level status. She tests the market, and realizes the most anyone will give her going into that season is "Mid-level", and 50 points. She agrees, and then signs.

    This is a genius system:
    - It rewards points toward how "worthy" they are to that organization when signing them.
    - It pays out dollars based on home attendance multiplied by their individual points worth to that organization.
    - All players share the same amount of road match revenue, to at least feel equal with one another on that aspect, when traveling together as a team.


    If attendance goes up, the franchise pays out more to each player.
    If attendance goes down, the franchise pays out less to each player.
    This helps each franchise in terms of sustaining as a successful franchise long-term(instead of for three or less years, like we normally see).
  16. Morris20

    Morris20 Member

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    So, SocFed makes money (lower salaries, fewer camps), owners make money/break even, players give up the very little they already make. Sounds great. So . . . besides having players negotiate their own WNT salaries DOWN, what's in it for them?

    Based on what I'm hearing, the WNT folks/agents/etc. need to recruit owners who actually have some money. The take away from Wilt/CRS is that they simply don't have enough (money? willingness?) to truly invest in a pro team. WPS basically has 4 guys with at least a shot at having that much dough. Letting a bunch of guys be "owners" without risking losses will certainly result in more teams, but ultimately you simply don't have the capital (or willingness to spend it) to really build the business.

    I think people are missing the fact these women are college graduates with options - asking them to basically volunteer will result in a very poor league. Asking WNT'ers to play essentially for free is simply insulting. You can yell at me all you want, but this isn't the basis for a long term survivable league and if that's the plan, it's not good for the game (although it makes sense for owners and the fed to give it a shot).
  17. Greg_G

    Greg_G Member

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    The players would be getting...
    1) a league
    2) a salary (I don't know where you're getting this "volunteering" thing from)
    3) professional training environment
    4) health care
    5) an avenue to showcase themselves to the national team
    6) again...A LEAGUE!!!

    This isn't about taking advantage of the players, this is about giving them exactly what they want - a professionally run league where they can play the game they love and do it where their friends and family can attend in a country where they don't have to learn a new language and customs.

    There is no guarantee anyone besides players will "make money" out of this venture. In fact, with WUSA and WPS, players were the only ones making money. I repeat, the players were THE ONLY ONES MAKING MONEY. Were the players "taking advantage" of the owners? Recruiting potential owners with deeper pockets hasn't worked because those people don't want to see millions of dollars of their own money invested in a venture that gives them little to no chance of making that money back. This isn't a charity and it's a bad business proposition and coming at it with an attitude like yours that the players just gotta get paid above all else is what's going to sink this third attempt. I know you love and respect these players, we all do, it's why we want to see a league, but some people have to come to grips with the fact that there are cultural and economic factors that limit the nature of what can realistically be created.

    No one was yelling at you, re-read my posts if you think otherwise. I think you need to get a lot less defensive about the issue and a lot less "protective" of these players. They're big girls who can handle negotiations. And we should be able to handle spirited debate about the league.
  18. BostonRed

    BostonRed Member+

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    Well, lots of people have options that can make them more money and/or be more stable, but they follow their passion and get by with what money they can get (a lot like minor league baseball). The goal for most of the players is to be in consideration for USWNT (or other national teams). They can only do that by playing, and for now, at least, the best place to get the exposure is in the US. The fresh-out-of-college player probably won't get paid much and will probably have to work a "regular" job and/or do camps to make additional money, but they will usually have a place to stay plus health insurance.

    A quick Google search shows WUSA average salaries were between $37-47k. The WPS average was around $30k. The numbers dropped the more each league was in trouble.

    The numbers I have heard for US players in Europe have been in the $25-45k range (probably post-tax numbers) plus perks. These obviously aren't 1st choice WNT players, but it gives a sense of where things are. Other than Marta, I think we have heard of a Euro salary of nearly $100k, but not many.

    USSF (under the labor agreement that I think ends this year) pays the players pretty well. There were salaries for some at the $70k level plus bonuses for tourney wins plus camp & friendly payments. This was negotiated back in 2006, so it's possible that the compensation has gone up. This means some of the players are definitely making 6 figures from USSF alone. I believe the agreement also cut their salaries some during the WPS days. The labor agreement is a wild card in the situation. If the USSF spent a little extra in the off-years to encourage players to stay in the US, then it might be a little more palatable to make $25k for six months play.
  19. JanBalk

    JanBalk Member

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    Many if not most of their European counterparts are. I would even go as far as to say most of them consider it their duty to have a national League runnig, and to do it themself if noone else do it for them.
    Nacional Tijuana repped this.
  20. Greg_G

    Greg_G Member

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    Our European counterparts don't have to deal with direct competition from the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB, nor do they have to establish a national footprint in a nation as big as the US. We have unique factors which make it cost prohibitive for our non-profit soccer federation to launch and run leagues. Not to mention we don't have funding coming from men's teams and we're trying once again to be the only fully pro league in the world. You can't really look to Europe for a model of how to administer a league because the logistical factors are completely different.
  21. Morris20

    Morris20 Member

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    If you have WNT'ers playing in a pro league that simply results in them making the same money they are making as full-time WNT'ers (in return for more extensive training in less professional environments), then they're VOLUNTEERING. You get that? PS - they already have health care, so you're basically arguing that the players should play for free/very little because they get a league. The organization that benefits from having them playing in a league under what you describe in the federation which gets to save money on salaries and also on holding camps, while also getting constant, free, publicity.

    Also, by your logic, did the vendors who sold WPS teams equpiment and food "take advantage" of the owners. What about the front office staffs, venue employees, athletic trainers, etc? Vultures, I guess. How about SocFed that took over $1 million in sanctioning fees - I mean, the players provide value.

    I'm not really expressing and opinion - the idea that you base a "pro" league on folks working for virtually nothing (or in the WNT'ers case, absolutely nothing), won't result in the level of play or fan interest that is sustainable. People have options (even if the WNT'ers figure it works for them, they've got to have reasonable folks to play with - and there's a number there below which it doesn't work, whether it's $14k, $20k, or $5k is open to question, but it's there).

    And in this case, since SocFed clearly is a winner financially when there's a pro league, why SHOULDN'T they be at the table investing? Especially when the league will have to basically pay that money back simply for the privilege of existing.
  22. BostonRed

    BostonRed Member+

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    2013 & 2014 are "off" years for the national team, so automatically they are going to be making less anyway (assuming the current labor agreement continues in a similar fashion) and fewer players will be in the pool or called into residency. The USSF contract cut their salaries when the WPS was an option and I would expect they do something similar if a semi-pro "elite" option emerges. They would rather have the players competing constantly than living on their USSF income -- I believe they negotiated it this way because there wasn't a league in 2006 and the fed needed to keep players in the game.

    I feel about 1/2 the current pool will head to overseas teams. Some will probably go to Australia which will likely dovetail nicely to the US season, allowing them to play in both if they like. Having all the big names would be great, but the "league" will need to survive without them.

    If Abby feels strongly about playing in the US, she needs to do more than hope that a "WPS-like" league will re-emerge in the next few months. Maybe she needs to take a big contract in Japan, play for a couple of years and then return to the US to finish her playing days.
  23. StarCityFan

    StarCityFan BigSoccer Supporter

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    Well, Leslie Osborne took it upon herself to do everything she could to keep the Boston Breakers going:

    - http://articles.boston.com/2012-07-06/sports/32557150_1_puma-leslie-osborne-soccer-works

    Are "name" players like Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, or Alex Morgan willing to do likewise? I imagine if I had someone like that sitting in my office, I'd be hard put to say no.
  24. Morris20

    Morris20 Member

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    The truth is the "name" players are going to get paid because they're the folks adding value here. How sad is it that with multiple generations of players who've stepped up and pushed things forward, you've got a federation that won't forgo relatively massive fees for sanctioning (i.e. nothing) or taking advantage of the league to cut their payments to players. Forget about actually, you know, kicking in a buck or two . . .

    I mean, how long are any of these guys actually going to be able to get paid at all? When they give up salary, they're sacrificing a LOT. They've done that. It's going to take owners and the federation at least not trying to bleed everyone totally dry to make this work, and you've got a bunch of stakeholders with very little money invested looking out for themselves. I hope we have the leadership to avoid a major train wreck that delays a new league for a couple of years (right into another WWC/Oly period).

    Right now, in order to really make a new "pro" league work, players need to:
    1. win gold and make SocFed & Oly broadcasters major $$
    2. recruit investors (ideally the Fed would be doing this, after all, they get paid whether the league makes it or not, but since they can't manage to avoid stepping on their own wangs every second or two, I guess that's not as bad as it could be)
    3. probably play for a net salary of $0 added to what they're already making on the WNT
    4. take salary cuts so that the league can pay other women to play with them and potentially beat them out for WNT spots.

    What SHOULD be happening:
    1. SocFed puts the squeeze on Nike to kick in for the new league in return for all the shirts they're about to sell next month. Then makes a deal with SUM to ensure a broadcast outlet for the new league.
    2. The Fed agrees to charge only minimal registration fees and partner with the league in a meaningful way (i.e. scheduling of camps not during the season, etc.)
    3. Working with the players (I know it won't happen, but how dumb is that?) recruit owners to go with the ones they've already got. Commit to a signage/sponsorship deal that provides some incentive for deep pocketed owners to believe they're not simply going to get used.
    4. Commit to extending the current WNT salaries at their current level regardless of a new league - so playing for the league is gravy rather than a "duty."
    5. Coordinate the league and maintain communication with sympathetic ears in MLS, find carrots to make W-League & WPSL people play nice with each other (like Open Cup games against the new pro teams, and possibly a defined pyramid role).
  25. Greg_G

    Greg_G Member

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    You don't seem to understand the economics of this situation. By playing in this league they are getting more training, more health/dental coverage, more games, more exposure, more travel/lodging, more salary/endorsements/sponsorship/merchandise money, etc. They would not be making "the same" as if they were committed full-time to the national team. That wasn't true with WUSA nor was it true with WPS. They would be getting more of everything they want. That's why they even want a pro league to begin with. And with the potential growth of an financially viable league they would be getting more and more every year. You haven't heard a single player claiming they would be volunteering. At this point your Volunteering claim (or let's face it, your claim that they would be modern day slaves) is just ridiculous.

    You misread my very clear point. NO ONE was getting taken advantage of in WPS. You were the one claiming the players were getting taken advantage of, I proved you wrong. And do you even know why US Soccer takes sanctioning fees? They operate from the fees they charge at all levels of the game. These fees serve as the revenue they use to train refs, secure venues, purchase equipment, run tournaments, advertise events, run clinics, pay employees, run a website, livestream games, and run two national teams among many other things. Without these fees there would be no USSF. The fees also serve to keep uncommitted, irresponsible owners/operators from jumping in and out of leagues; it's a show of commitment and seriousness, not to mention a show of financial health on the part of these owners.

    Listen carefully, because this is irrefutable fact. Every single pro league in the history of sport started small, with players making either no money at all or virtual peanuts. If you think there is some sort of "shortcut" for women's soccer, especially after WUSA and WPS, then you are deluded. The model that this new league would be using, salary and all, would be THE SAME model used all over the world, except we would be doing it on a much larger geographical scale. No league is able to pay what you think they should be paying. Only a small handful of teams can do that. And for every Lyon, there's a Soyaux or Rodez. The money is not there anywhere in the world. You think the Swedish League or German league is so good because everyone is making liveable salaries?? If so, you would be wrong. It's because everyone is willing to sacrifice. There are players getting peanuts and players getting nothing. There are players working part time and players working full time. There's enough money at the top to pay top domestics and internationals good money, but as a result those teams lose money year in and year out. You can thank the German FA, generous sponsors, and possibly the German government for keeping those leagues alive in that economic reality. Good luck finding that in the US, they've tried, the money is not there.


    I would suggest you get into contact with US Soccer. Speak with them about their revenue and expenses year in and out. Have them list the services they provide from National Team down to the lowest levels of youth soccer. And then ask them where's all this pro league money you think they have and what services you think they should cut to make it available.

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