New women's league planned for 2013

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

  1. luvdagame

    luvdagame Member

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    short careers, only a limited amount of time to enjoy the ride before you get a real job, and so on....

    i'd have to assume, since we're being hypothetical here, that most of our good uswnt players will go abroad - unless ussoccer stumps up the cash.

    and the next couple of years are off years for ussoccer contracts.


  2. kolabear

    kolabear Member

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    The numbers you're alluding to don't tell the story. The players I named, for the most part, are difference-makers. Impact players. Stars. Players who elevate the game when they're on the pitch. You can't just take them off a roster, trade in another International just because they're International and say you're getting about the same quality. That is just way off and frankly, I don't see that caliber of International player coming in significant numbers anymore to W-League/WPSL. Because Canada's hosting the World Cup in 2015, I'm hoping that will be enough to keep Christine Sinclair, Sophie Schmidt and, say, Desiree Scott here but of course I really don't know. If we wind up adding Sinclair to my list, that's a big blow to the new league.

    As for it being the only pro league, I thought word was that it would be semi-pro. Did I hear that wrong?
  3. kolabear

    kolabear Member

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    Add Ali Riley to my list. Hometown Pacific Palisades, California. Not playing a W-League/WPSL team but playing for LdB Malmö
  4. Greg_G

    Greg_G Member

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    I didn't say we were getting the same quality. In fact, I made that perfectly clear when I said the league wouldn't be as good as WPS was, and would be somewhere between the leagues in Sweden (where many of the top internationals from WPS went) and Germany/France. I said that we would be getting a good league, one of the best in the world, and that it wouldn't require the Sinclaires and Martas and Abilys of the world to make it so. Please read my posts more carefully because this conversation shouldn't turn into me making a statement, someone misquoting that statement or completely taking it out of the context that I provided, and then me correcting their mistake. Sorry if this sounds direct but it bugs me when people don't take the time to read a post and understand the point that is being made.

    As for the pro league distinction, the league would be either semi-pro (some players paid), or fully pro (all players paid), and in either case the goal would be to work toward a bigger, more successful and sustainable fully pro league, another distinction that I made in my posts. The whole point of the conversation was about how we needed a sustainable model that would allow for growth into a fully pro league and not splashing cash to create WPS 2.0.

    There seems to be some assumption in your posts that the USWNT players will get paid peanuts as you keep repeating that most of their compensation will have to come from sponsorships and endorsements or else they'll bolt for Europe. In the linked article Jeff Kassouf mentions that Michael Stoller of the Boston Breakers hypothesizes budgets in the range of $500,000. If only half of that goes toward player salaries, that's $250,000 for a, say, 21-person team, or $11,904 per player on average. From that we can imagine players making anywhere from $5000/season up to $25,000/season - and that's for the players lucky enough to get paid. Certainly not chump change for what could likely be a season around 14-20 matches spanning 4-6 months. So, between what could be a decent 4-6 month salary from their clubs, plus their national team salary, there's no reason to insist that the league can't pay the USWNT enough to prevent them from flocking overseas and trying to snatch up those few big contracts in France, Germany, and Sweden, of which there are fewer than you may think.


  5. kolabear

    kolabear Member

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    Sorry, I could've phrased my reply more carefully but I wasn't making a point about your saying the quality would be equal (which you didn't say). I wasn't holding you to that standard in the least. The thrust of my reply was that if you lose most of the top level of International players that played in WPS, the quality gap was going to be very considerable, crucial even.

    The remaining players are very good players and valuable to their teams, but the relative handful of Internationals that I listed, even without the "odd Brazilian or two", were crucial to adding that extra level of quality which made WPS something worth getting excited about. I hardly think I'm going to be alone in this opinion.

    As for the new league still being one of the best leagues -- you're probably right but it makes a heck of a difference being, say, #1 as opposed to #3 or #4. There's just a significant dropoff that I can see once you get past the Frauen-Bundesliga, the Damallsvenskan, and the recently departed WPS.

    As for overseas contracts for USWNT players, you are right that there aren't that many lucrative contracts out there. I don't see a mass migration of USWNT players but as with the Internationals, so with the USWNT -- it's a relative handful of players who particularly stand out as special players at this level and to have even a couple of them go the Ali Krieger route would be a noticeable loss to the new league.
  6. kolabear

    kolabear Member

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    I came across an interesting article by Ray Curren at AllWhiteKit: WPSL Elite: Ghosts of WPS Still Haunt Paul Riley. Worth reading about Chesapeake's experience as a primarily high-school age team playing in the WPSL-Elite division but for this discussion, I thought it was interesting to read some of Paul Riley's comments regarding his own team, the NY Fury. A sampling:

    Coach Riley tends to speak out more freely than most did in WPS so take with a grain of salt, but still... Interesting.
    SiberianThunderT repped this.
  7. SiberianThunderT

    SiberianThunderT Member

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    A really nice article all-around.

    I like Riley. Even if he has no filter a lot, I never really feel like he's stepped over the line either. WPSL Elite isn't WPS, and even though that sucks, I think it would be wrong to expect that of its first year. Maybe by its third season, after it's had time to develop and attract talent, but I'm betting with the new AmWoSo league starting next summer, WPSL Elite won't have a second season (or if it does, it's going to be well short of its "Elite" name).

    The new league will probably be what Riley is looking for - I assume it will have the four WPS teams, Riley's Fury (which is essentially the Independence), and at least five of the top W-League teams. It'll probably have some like the Charge and the Mutiny as well, but overall there'll be more talent and more competitiveness. Still not at the level of WPS, obviously, as it'll be Div2 and semi-pro, but maybe only one or two levels down instead of "six".

    Hopefully, with a year's worth of planning ahead of them and the selling points that it'll be an official top national league with the best of the teams currently around, they'll be able to attract many internationals back. More so if that DP idea works out. But I also remember hearing somewhere (maybe in the discussion of the training Supergroup?) that Riley thought he would have Seger and Boquette back at some point anyway, so.... here's hoping?
  8. Greg_G

    Greg_G Member

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    I'm glad that someone in the know like Riley is willing to make these statements. I think it's important for everyone to see the impact that losing a top level league has on the mindset of players (the part about players with jobs not finding soccer as important as before was quite sad to hear). On the other hand, as Riley suggests, players have to "deal with it" if they hope to see another top level league again. Not to be insensitive to their situation, but giving less than 100% because the crowd doesn't number in the thousands, or because you're not facing Wambach or Sinclair or Scott isn't going to help anyone. But, maybe the most important thing to gain out of this interview is that Riley himself seems to make one of the most compelling arguments for working towards a true top level soccer league when he points out how a step down in competition and professionalism has a negative effect on the mentality of the players and subsequently the quality of the play on the field.


    We agree that losing the top level international talent will have an impact on the quality of the league, where we disagree is how much. The way I see it, WPS teams in total in 2011 had about a dozen internationals who I would describe as "game changers"/elite (players who made a significant impact on the quality and success of their team; ie, Sinclair, Marta, Seger, Boquete, Chapman, Alex Scott, etc). That's about 2 per team on average. The rest of the international players were either good players who weren't much above what you could find here, or players who failed to live up to their reputations (often unable to adjust to the speed and physicality of the league; running roughshod over the WSL in England or second tier UEFA competition isn't the same as facing WNY, PHI, or MJ). You also have to take into account the great American players that emerged during WPS's run, like Sauerbrunn, Zerboni, Reynolds, Nogueira, etc. I don't think losing a dozen international players, even ones of the quality of those listed above will cause a precipitous drop in the quality of this new league. The strongest evidence I can present is to show you those WPS matches that took place before and during the WWC where internationals were missing and see how much the quality of play did or did not drop http://www.womensprosoccer.com/video/webcast2011.aspx .
  9. kolabear

    kolabear Member

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    Terrific point but it's funny, isn't it, the different conclusions we draw from what Riley said? I see this as an argument, if not for WPS 2.0, at least for something not too far from it. Others, apparently, see it as an argument for getting something up and running that we agree on calling a top division and - somehow - it'll be good enough to avoid the problem.

    If it's possible, as most here claim, to aim too high (WPS), it's also possible to aim too low to accomplish anything of significance.

    As for the number of game-changers, I think a dozen or so International players in 2011 sounds about right. It's not many but, coupled with a handful of US national team players, the effect is dramatic (and of course you can't predict with anywhere near 100% accuracy which international players will have that impact).
  10. StarCityFan

    StarCityFan BigSoccer Supporter

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  11. cpthomas

    cpthomas BigSoccer Supporter

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    Aren't relevant? So, the Sounders aren't relevant?
  12. kolabear

    kolabear Member

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    They're an excellent team with excellent players but, No, they aren't. Not in terms of building a sustainable relevant league.

    Partly it's not because of them per se but because of the league and the overall level of competition, which is fairly good but can't be compared with WPS.

    Partly it's because you have to think the roster is a one-time thing. Nobody's getting paid but in an Olympics year it made at least temporary sense for some of the national team players to sign on on short notice when WPS abruptly cancelled its season. Solo and Morgan get endorsement money as well as national team salaries or stipends; considering their national team commitments, it was probably easier for them to also meet their endorsement commitments by staying in the US than playing in Europe. Solo's from Washington; Morgan's boyfriend plays the Sounders' MLS franchise. Their commitment to the Sounders is minimal.

    I remember when Abby Wambach and Shannon Boxx were on the Ajax America roster in the years between WUSA and WPS. They played, what, 2 or 3 games a season for Ajax?
  13. MRAD12

    MRAD12 Member

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    Agree. All the USWNT players that played the few games with the Sounders have ties to the Northwest or Seattle area. This was not some major recruiting coupe by the Sounders. It made sense for them to stay in shape between USWNT games and camps in preparation for the Olympics. Morgan probably wanted to stay with her boyfriend before she went off to the Olympics so instead of just sitting around in between USWNT games and camps, she might as well play for the Sounders. Seattle is Solo's home. And the Sounders women front office saw the jackpot fall on their laps and they cashed in on it. Well done on the Sounders women part. Well done.
    But that's all this is. Nothing more.

    Now, will the Sounders and Starfire Sports Complex make a good choice for a full time pro team? Of course they will. But so will the Boston Breakers.
  14. Ben James Ben

    Ben James Ben Member

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    There's an article in the July 6, 2012 Boston Globe mentioning the planned, new league. The Globe's web site is behind a paywall, but you can access articles for free through Google News links. Search for the article title, "Is there a future for women's pro soccer?"

  15. luvdagame

    luvdagame Member

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    "representatives from mls".

    Hmmm.... Most interesting/encouraging phrase?

    And if all of those people in the room agreed on what the league should look like, maybe they have it right.
  16. RUfan

    RUfan Member

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    Further down in the story (bode added):

    "...The options have seemed twofold. Either the women’s league should be smaller, a league where players have other jobs and other ways of supporting themselves, or it should be attached to Major League Soccer, as the WNBA is affiliated with the NBA.
    With MLS not interested, it appears the first option is the way women’s soccer is headed. The likely result is a 12-16-team league built from franchises that already exist in semi-pro and pro-am leagues.
    US Soccer seems likely to be a part, though the role is yet to be determined...."
  17. kolabear

    kolabear Member

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    Thanks for linking to the article by Amalie Benjamin. One other bit in it I found interesting was this:

    This falls in with a lot of what I've been saying. Of course, the financial losses were serious and
    ultimately could've doomed the league by itself. But when I hear guys like Peter Wilt and Andy Crossley and their current overwhelmingly negative views of the prospects for professional women's soccer; they're really great guys I admire & who speak from experience, but I am constantly reminded that in their entire time with WPS they never knew what is was like to sail with the winds at their back. WPS had the wind at its back for, what, 6 weeks? 8 weeks? after the World Cup and attention it brought the sport and some of its stars. By that time Peter, Andy, and most of the others who put in so much sweat and toil into it were long gone.

    I can accept the idea that we have to start smaller this time around, as Peter has been saying as well as Kenn here. As I think Kenn mentioned, the perception alone that comes from two failed leagues creates an obstacle that is hard to overcome. From that perspective you need something that seems certain to be financially sustainable to be able to make it past that 3 year mark that WUSA and WPS did not pass.

    I'm, at this moment, of two minds. One says, fine but at some point in the next 3 to 5 years the new league should be poised to make some greater leap (knowing that they're getting past the 3 year curse). The other, which I've been resisting until now, says we use the longevity (as Bonnie reminded us) of the Damallsvenskan and the Frauen-Bundesliga as a guideline and settle for something along those lines. Indefinitely. For decades. We could do worse I suppose.

    And I suppose that's the best we can hope for because I don't see a league attempting any leap beyond that for many years. Ideas and arguments matter and the other side has won the debate. Of course guys like Peter and Kenn are sympathetic to women's soccer and friends of the sport, but their position regarding professional soccer as a business is now essentially the same as those who hate the sport - there's no market for it and there won't be one anytime in the foreseeable future. Any attempts, any proposals, to expand the new league's ambitions will be compared to the over-ambition of WUSA and WPS and shot down. Caution will prevail and survival will be the only criterion to matter.

    "No guts, no glory". Keeps popping up in my head. I think of guys like Peter Wilt and Andy Crossley, who showed lots of guts, deserved lots of glory, didn't get any. (At least not for women's soccer) And now their counsels sound the total opposite, which strikes me as sad. Surely there is a time for prudence and now might be a justifiable time for it. But women's soccer is capable of guts and glory and it would be sad if the dream was shelved for very long.
    Morris20 repped this.
  18. luvdagame

    luvdagame Member

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    that much was clear.

    still, i thought that it was important that they were there.

    if mls had absolutely no interest, then they wouldn't be in the meeting. it was important that they be there to give their two cents, because they've done the impossible already, and because down the road they might want to have women's teams joining this league. so being there to guide in its genesis was, i think, important.
  19. necron99

    necron99 Member

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    I completely agree with the overall view of how we grow this thing. It will have to start slow. But I do wonder about this statement that I quoted. Will it include most of the top US players? Will it include many top international players? For example, I suppose the top US players that have husbands that cannot relocate will play there. The players that truly want to help grow the game in the US will stay. But the ones trying to maximize the level of competition/training for their game, or maximize their salary during the short window of a pro WoSo players career will probably go overseas. As for the top international players, it might depend on when the season is played. We see mostly Australian women playing over here in W-League/WPSL(E) this season. That is due to their women's league being off during the summer. So they get more games playing here. If the new league goes more professional with a much longer season or goes to the Euro Fall/Spring 10 month season, we may not see them.

    If we don't get those top US or international players does it hurt the credibility of the new version?

    (Once again, I don't believe we have any other way to build this thing. The two previous failures proved that. Unless a bunch of billionaires decide they want to support it for 20 years or so. I do wonder if it will truly build from this to something bigger though. Maybe it just can't grow.)
  20. BostonRed

    BostonRed Member+

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    The really big names will go overseas for the money most likely, but I think you'll see at least a part of the USWNT roster (especially those who aren't planning on being around next WWC/Oly cycle) give it a shot. They'll also be enough international players (especially Canada & Mexico -- just not the "top" names) who can be drawn in as well. The league can't afford to go chasing big name talent, so they'll probably be a bigger focus on local ties and getting internationals to come for the adventure (and face it, even as a Division 2 league, it will still be among the best in the world).

    I'm not sure credibility is going to be the big issue when you are a semi-pro league. Put a good product on the field, market to get a decent crowd and take care of the players -- you'll have plenty of good players willing to play in the league.
  21. Peter Wilt

    Peter Wilt Member

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    i think a lot of folks overestimate the pay and quality of play/training in Europe for women. No doubt in my mind that the very best players in the world can get a very high level of training and competition in the new merged league. Also, i have no doubt that with 2-3 exemptions per team, the teams in the new merged league could compete financially with European teams to retain most of the top players in the US and many of the top players internationally.
    necron99 repped this.
  22. luvdagame

    luvdagame Member

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    Ooo.... Exceptions. I like that on first thought. (Didn't notice it in previous posts). It's likely to keep many top uswnt'ers and bring in some good internationals from elsewhere as well.

    But then aren't those very exceptions likely to be the Achilles heel of the new league?
  23. BostonRed

    BostonRed Member+

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    If you don't have a salary cap, then exceptions don't matter. We'll have to see what comes out of future discussions.
  24. Katreus

    Katreus Member

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    What's your thoughts on Horan skipping college and signing a 6 figure contract with schooling paid by PSG? I mean, granted, players have to be good and exceptional in some way to get these contracts, but I think it's pretty clear that a couple of Europe's leagues (and even the L-League probably) are ahead of the US, esp. since they manage to get a good 8-10 month league going.

    To me, that's not a huge problem. The biggest problem is sustainability and stability - getting years of survival. Long leagues gain a bit of credibility and as you build up fan bases (can't have a fan base with a team folding in several years), you can start considering becoming slightly more professional, maybe with bigger contracts, etc. Internationals are spice - they're not necessary technically. Build a good base of US players, raise the standard quality of play and the internationals will want to come on their own.
  25. necron99

    necron99 Member

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    I wonder if we will see the ex-WPS USWNT and top Internationals playing overseas, and more of the mid/high level players that just missed the cut to WPS coming back home. By that I mean the Euro leagues taking the top players now that they are available.

    I know that Euro leagues don't pay as much as many people believe, especially with the semi-pro nature of the league. And the disparity between the 3-4 top teams in each league and the other teams. Of course some players are paid pretty well, and others are barely paid.

    But here is an interesting note. From chris_awk on twitter:
    USWNT U-20 player signs a six figure deal to play with PSG in the French Women's League, forgoing full scholarship to UNC.

    http://www.rushsoccer.com/index.php...s/players/729-lindsey-and-paris-saint-germain

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