W-League folds

Discussion in 'US Women's Lower Divisions' started by Nacional Tijuana, Nov 6, 2015.

  1. Nacional Tijuana

    Nacional Tijuana BigSoccer Supporter

    May 6, 2003
    San Diego, Calif.
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  2. FootballAmator

    Aug 16, 2014
    What's the reason for this? I mean why now after all these years?
     
  3. Nacional Tijuana

    Nacional Tijuana BigSoccer Supporter

    May 6, 2003
    San Diego, Calif.
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Insufficient number of teams to play at the quality that the league has sought tomaintain, whatever that means specifically. I've actually never attened a W-League match, but have attended a fair amount of WPSL matches, and like the product that league puts out.

    Makes me wonder what the clubs within the W-League that themselves didn't want to fold will do. I had thought they had a lot of clubs. I woner if this means a sudden mass expansion fo the WPSL, which is already pretty big, or...
     
  4. holden

    holden Member+

    Dundee FC, Yeovil Town LFC, Girondins de Bordeaux
    Oct 20, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Club:
    Dundee FC
    Not all that surprised, really. The W-League was getting smaller and smaller. And the WPSL was getting bigger and bigger with lower franchise fees. And there wasn't really a need for both of them. Plus now no more confusing it with the women's league in Australia... ;)
     
    Nacional Tijuana repped this.
  5. nick p

    nick p Member

    Jul 11, 2009
    Baltimore Maryland
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Not surprised to see the W-League fold with so many teams leaving over the last few seasons
     
  6. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    Not only was the W-League hemorrhaging teams, (30 in 2012 down to 18 in 2015,) but the teams they were losing were their top teams... The Flash left, Washington became a revolving door, Vancouver folded, Pali/LA and Ottawa (heck, most Canadian teams) folded, Atlanta could be facing big challenges soon... That's all but two finalists since 2006.

    Still, I was expecting USL (the organization) to hold on to the W-League for at least another season or two... Just for PR. It looks really bad to shutter your women's league right as WoSo is peaking.

    Then again, maybe they're also just enamored with the growth of USL (the league) recently that they want to focus on it... I know the PDL is just kinda existing at the moment, there's more growth in the NPSL right now IIRC.
     
  7. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    W-League was better than WPSL, though by exactly how much I'm not sure.

    The one thing I hope for right now is that enough W-League teams go into WPSL to support the revival of WPSL Elite.
     
  8. A. Dufresne

    A. Dufresne Member

    Nov 7, 2015
    I've been hearing rumors about this and they appear to be gaining a lot of weight... the New England Mutiny (who were in WPSL Elite and went back to the WPSL afterwards) seem to be linked to a new league that will form in place of the W-League. There's a lot of drama in the WPSL ranks, too. But with so many teams, they won't fold in the near future.
     
  9. FootballAmator

    Aug 16, 2014
    What would be the advantage of breaking away from WPSL?
     
  10. A. Dufresne

    A. Dufresne Member

    Nov 7, 2015
    Maybe b/c the WPSL is an organizational mess? Its been hinted at for years but last summer was a nightmare. There are two kinds of organizations at this level of women's soccer: one, those who want to draw fans, get media exposure, build sponsorships, grow the game, etc. (semi-pro mindset); and the other, those who just want to have a place for their U-18 local players to continue to play once they get into college and not put much else into it (amateur youth club mindset). Those two business models clash. It seems that the former group of teams aren't getting the support from WPSL management, while they cater solely to the latter. WPSL Elite completely dissolved after one season and hasn't been replaced. Maybe those teams who want to put something more into the sport are fed up. Add the top W-League teams and a true 2nd tier below NWSL could become a reality? The WPSL could than be the 3rd tier. I prefer a 2nd tier with organizations who want to promote the sport on and off the field.
     
  11. TobaccoMonopolyFC

    Oct 12, 2011
    Club:
    AS Monaco FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Bahamas
    They'll probably do that eventually, maybe around 2018 or so.

    I could see Long Island, Washington, Charlotte, the two good Colorado teams, Seattle, and maybe Santa Clarita moving over. The others I'm not so sure about.
     
  12. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    There's always been drama in the WPSL ranks, but unless you have a link to support the rumors of a new league I'm not buying it yet.

    WPSL Elite dissolved after one year because half of the teams left for NWSL and there wasn't critical mass enough to get the remaining upper-level WPSL teams organized. If there are several W-League teams heading over to WPSL, though, I could see that critical mass met again.
     
  13. A. Dufresne

    A. Dufresne Member

    Nov 7, 2015
    I've seen this said in other places and I agree: the WPSL did such a good job at managing the Elite league that you can't find the website any more. Not even for any sort of reference of what happened that one season. Out of the blue this past summer, there was a "WPSL Elite" Championship between two teams who didn't qualify for the already botched WPSL playoffs: SF and RSL Women. No website, no standings, no criteria that showed how the league determined those two specific teams were somehow "Elite" vs. teams like ASA Charge and the NE Mutiny (who competed pretty well in the Elite league). You have more faith in the WPSL than I do. Faith is a good thing. But until there is a true philosophical change by the league in how in manages its business, I don't see how an "amateur" youth club business model can translate success to what would be an Elite / Tier 2 "semi pro" league, as the W-League billed itself. Both leagues are/were stubborn in how they view their business models. I would love to see a league that tries to be ahead of the curve and has the ability to adapt.
     
  14. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    #14 SiberianThunderT, Nov 7, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
    If you look around the forum, you'll see this has all been discussed in various threads. I've never said the WPSL is perfect - it's certainly been a mess recently, and that's frustrated everyone here. That said, they can get things done when they want to. WPSL Elite was created quickly and still provided rather good competition for the teams involved. It was managed perfectly well in 2012 - the fact that the website no longer exists is not a sign of bad management, just a sign of the fact that the league stopped existing and the website was no longer needed.

    My point is that, if Zanelli feels the urge to step up and provide a good landing pad for W-League teams in the same way there was a good league created in the wake of WPS, it can definitely happen. And I view that as much more likely than a completely new "ahead of the curve" league blossoming out of the blue. They tried that with W(M)LS in the Midwest, and that failed spectacularly.

    In fact, the fact that WPSL is basically Zanelli's plaything make the league much more able to adapt to changing times than leagues with other, more rigid structures (like the W-League). He can restructure things on the fly basically as he sees fit. It causes a fair amount of drama, as we saw with the playoffs last season, but it means it can also change for the better quickly as well. Zanelli just needs to make the right choices.
     
  15. SJJ

    SJJ Member

    Sep 20, 1999
    Royal Oak, MI, USA
    Club:
    Michigan Bucks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    but... the WLS web site does still exist: http://www.womensleaguesoccer.com/ (OK, just kidding, sorta. The "2013 Schedule" is just the 2012 sched copied; they played no 2013 games.) And then they had the idea of going from a summer outdoor league to a fall-winter indoor league. (http://womensleaguesoccer.com/news/2013/03/green-named-new-wls-commissioner.html)

    My only question then was why create another whole league when they could have just been a division of the W-Lg or WPSL? They did have a couple good teams that went over to the other leagues, but they got more traction from trying to get the "(W)MLS" name than anything else.
     
  16. SJJ

    SJJ Member

    Sep 20, 1999
    Royal Oak, MI, USA
    Club:
    Michigan Bucks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #16 SJJ, Nov 8, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  17. A. Dufresne

    A. Dufresne Member

    Nov 7, 2015
    In the real world, business doesn't operate well when things are made up on the fly. A good, marketable business is not a plaything. On one hand, you need structure, rules, regulations, etc. and on the other, a willingness to adapt to the market conditions.

    In the case of the WPSL, they have one hand tied behind their back by a commissioner who is the definition of reactive, as opposed to proactive. Zanelli has always operated his league as an anti-WLeague. The only reason why it has expanded is they will take any team who can come up with the league fees, regardless of quality or proximity to already established teams.

    From what I've heard from the teams who competed in WPSL Elite, they were the ones who managed the league that year. Not Zanelli. He's real good at taking credit for the hard work the teams in his league do all for themselves. Yes - he can make the right choices. But as a student of history, his actions show he's going to do what he wants to do in spite of what the more ambitious teams in his league wants.

    "If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck..."

    The only reason he has stayed commissioner for so long is the teams who are of the amateur club mindset out-number the teams who have higher ambitions for the sport. And those amateur/youth clubs in the WPSL want nothing to do with a 2-tier/division setup. They don't want to be considered "2nd best" when in actuality, they are. Look at the standings.

    One last thing... every sports league worth its weight has webcasts, updated stats & box scores and social media presence when it comes to not only their regular season, but especially their national championship. With two NWSL reserve teams and a reincarnation of a former W-League powerhouse in the Final Four last summer, you couldn't find any live video for any of the games. The teams had to tweet out the particulars themselves so their fans could follow along. A local reporter had to print up rosters from the WPSL site b/c there was no championship program. And they played it on a JV field w/bleachers for about a couple 100 people. Is that leadership?

    If that's leading the way to the future for semi-pro woso, than I'll say "next please." If the top teams from both the WPSL & W-League combined with the NWSL reserve sides? Now that's a 2nd tier I can support. The WPSL (as it is right now) can still exist as a third tier. There's plenty of room for both. I hope so. Hope is a good thing.
     
    kenntomasch and Game-Ball repped this.
  18. SJJ

    SJJ Member

    Sep 20, 1999
    Royal Oak, MI, USA
    Club:
    Michigan Bucks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Welcome to BigSoc, Dufresne.

    Gee... I wonder... if there was only a way where the best teams from one year can get "moved up" to a higher league, and the worst teams from the higher league would get "moved down" to a lower league, .... can't think of a name for that... maybe "moved-up-moved-down" or "MoUpMoDo"

    OK, honestly, I remember one year when I suggested that the PDL split into PDL-1 and PDL-2; got shouted down like you wouldn't believe. And the W-League 1 / 2 didn't last. I do wonder if you can devise a two-teir system within geographic regions.
     
  19. A. Dufresne

    A. Dufresne Member

    Nov 7, 2015
    Thanks for the welcome, SJJ! I've wanted to take part in these forums in the past but never found the time. After this news of the W-League folding, I felt the need to jump into the conversation... esp. after I heard the rumors about the Mutiny possibly being a part of a new league with ambitions to be a true 2nd tier below NWSL.

    You kind of actually make my point for me: there never has been a 2-tier setup that has lasted in this country. And there is no way it will happen in the WPSL unless there is a major philosophical change, top to bottom.

    The one year of the Elite league, the Gulf Coast Texans were so enamored with their WPSL title & how they were treated that season that they made the proverbial move up to the W-League. Unfortunately, it didn't last and neither did the league. I believe there is a business model that can take the standards of the W-League and turn their volume down a notch. The WPSL has shown throughout its history that it will not step up and take part in that kind of league structure.
     
    Game-Ball repped this.
  20. SJJ

    SJJ Member

    Sep 20, 1999
    Royal Oak, MI, USA
    Club:
    Michigan Bucks
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Congratulations one last time to the W-League Champions (winner listed first), from the Media Guide (w-20 not listed prior to 2014):


    • 2015, Washington Spirit Reserves [2-1] Colorado Pride
    • 2015 w-20, Excel Ladies (South Carolina) [2-0] Gulf Coast Texans
    • 2014, Los Angeles Blues [6-1] Washington Washington Spirit Reserves
    • 2014 w-20, Michigan Premier Development Academy [4-3, et] Grand Rapids Crew Juniors
    • 2013, Pali Blues [1-0] Laval Comets
    • 2012, Ottawa Fury [1-1, pk] Pali Blues
    • 2011, Atlanta Silverbacks [6-1] Ottawa Fury
    • 2010, Buffalo Flash [3-1] Vancouver Whitecaps
    • 2009. Pali Blues [2-1] Washington Freedom
    • 2008, Pali Blues [2-1] Indiana Lionesses
    • 2007, Washington Freedom [3-1] Atlanta Silverbacks
    • 2006, Vancouver Whitecaps [3-0] Ottawa Fury
    • 2005, New Jersey Wildcats [3-0] Ottawa Fury Women
    • 2004, Vancouver Whitecaps Women [0-0, pk] New Jersey Wildcats
    • 2003, Hampton Roads Piranhas [1-0, ot] Chicago Cobras
    • 2002, Boston Renegades [3-0] Charlotte Lady Eagles
    • 2001 w-1, Boston Renegades [5-1] Vancouver Breakers
    • 2001 w-2, Charlotte Lady Eagles [3-1] Memphis Mercury
    • 2000 w-1, Chicago Cobras [1-1, pk] Raleigh Wings
    • 2000 w-2, Springfield Sirens [2-1] Charlotte Lady Eagles
    • 1999 w-1, Raleigh Wings [3-2, so] Chicago Cobras
    • 1999 w-2, North Texas Heat [5-1] Springfield Sirens
    • 1998 w-1, Raleigh Wings [4-3] Boston Renagades
    • 1998 w-2, Fort Collins Force [3-1] Hampton Roads Piranhas
    • 1997, Long Island Lady Riders [2-1, so] Chicago Cobras
    • 1996, Maryland Pride [3-0] Dallas Lightning
    • 1995, Long Island Lady Riders [2-0] Southern California Nitemares
     
  21. Game-Ball

    Game-Ball Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Club:
    Ottawa
    Nat'l Team:
    Canada
    I am not surprised because trying to operate an inter-state women's league is difficult. The focus should be on one national league like the NWSL.

    Supporting semi-pro leagues should be local or within a single state or province.
     
  22. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    So... you think there shouldn't be any national-scope lower leagues? That's kinda silly. WPSL and ECNL* are doing just fine, as are USL, PDL, and NPSL on the men's side.

    It's difficult, yes, but far from impossible and definitely not something to avoid.

    *Yes, I know ECNL is technically a whole other can of worms. Shh.
     
  23. Game-Ball

    Game-Ball Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Club:
    Ottawa
    Nat'l Team:
    Canada
    There should not be any national scope lower leagues until the NWSL expands significantly. When it it does they should run a national U19 NWSL league.

    Any other competitive league should be run by the local state associations. This will help keep young players in the game ( U16 stars playing locally ) concentrate the talent and coaches to improve the game while keeping costs low ( mom and dad not spending $$$ or college players in debt ) and attracting local sponsors.

    Local youth clubs need stability and a place for young stars to graduate to. Unfortunately the competitive amateur leagues are in business to make money for themselves so they believe national exposure is the way to go.
     
  24. A. Dufresne

    A. Dufresne Member

    Nov 7, 2015
    SiberianThunder's continued support of the WPSL model kind of reminds me of the scene at the end of "Animal House" where Kevin Bacon implores the panicked populace that "All is well!" despite anarchy ensuing all around him. Just having a little fun there... but everything is not well right now in DII women's soccer. We need better than the WPSL.

    Game-Ball's ideas while admirable are disconnected from the reality of the marketplace. State associations want absolutely nothing to do with this level of soccer. Never have, never will. There's no money to be made at this level right now... at best, you can have enough money left over to take the team out for an end of the season party.

    The only thing that gets any sort of profit in the WPSL is the myth of Zanelli. He takes all the credit for what his teams do - not him - and just goes to further his megalomania and "folie de grandeur."
     
  25. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    #25 SiberianThunderT, Nov 9, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2015
    I never said we couldn't do better. But at the same time WPSL isn't going anywhere for the foreseeable future. That's the only point I was making. It's far from perfect - and I agree not good for a true DII - but I was just using its continued existence shows that Game-Ball's impressions are highly unrealistic. You're not going to have true DII leagues that only run at state levels - not only for the reasons you stated, but also because a completely regionalized DII will not have equal strength across regions and thus will fail spectacularly at providing the level of competition needed to underpin a strong DI. Heck, that's exactly why WPSL isn't good for a true DII - it's essentially a champions league setup, with a bunch of regionalized leagues that only meet for a knockout competition.

    If WPSL was actually run well, they would keep their current setup at DIII and just have more people involved so there's some actual consistency (and a check for Zanelli), and then for DII there should be an Elite competition (that actually has standards for inclusion) above the completely amateur clubs.

    The only reasons I'm really hoping WPSL fills the DII void is that I see no reasons to either:
    A) reinvent the wheel (they've done an Elite division before), nor
    B) create more competing leagues (I think the WPSL vs W-League feud was at least part of the reason we've seen the W-League collapse)
     
    kenntomasch repped this.

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