US Lower Division News, 2021

Discussion in 'US Women's Lower Divisions' started by SiberianThunderT, Nov 19, 2020.

  1. msilverstein47

    msilverstein47 Member+

    Jan 11, 1999
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Klingo3034 repped this.
  2. msilverstein47

    msilverstein47 Member+

    Jan 11, 1999
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  3. msilverstein47

    msilverstein47 Member+

    Jan 11, 1999
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    WPSL unveiled Tuesday its roster of teams, as an all-time high 141 clubs, who will compete during the upcoming season.
    The league alignment features 16 conferences, spanning 32 states from coast-to-coast. The four region names remain the same – West, Central, South, and East, however, the composition of each varies significantly from previous seasons.
    WPSL added 34 new teams to its membership, including 32 expansion sides and two teams who return to the league following a two-season exodus. On top of the 141 active clubs who will compete in 2021, an additional 18 teams have taken one season off due to the impact of COVID-19 or are in pending status awaiting local and state travel restrictions to be defined.
    The West Region has acquired the Mountain Conference, consisting of teams in Colorado and Utah, from the Central Region. The Desert Division will now stand as its own conference and the Pac South has been renamed to the So Cal Conference. For travel accommodations, both the So Cal and Pac North conferences have been split into two divisions.
    The Central Region has acquired the Midwest Conference from the East Region and has been renamed the Midwestern Conference. The Heartland Conference has been disbanded and the region features a newly created Lake Michigan Conference, consisting of six teams among Chicago, Green Bay, and Milwaukee – some of which have been realigned from the Ohio Valley Conference in the East Region.
    The South Region has adjusted both the Sunshine and Carolinas Conferences, with the addition of eight expansion teams, to accommodate travel concerns. The Sunshine conference has been split into two divisions, putting teams in Tampa Bay and Orlando together and teams in the southern portion of Florida together. The Carolinas Conference has split into three divisions – Northern, Southern, and Atlantic to reduce team travel.

    The East Region has seen the most growth with 16 additional teams. The Metropolitan Conference has been split into two divisions and the Mid-Atlantic Conference, which will be a stand-online conference, has been renamed to the Colonial Conference.
    The WPSL’s 23rd season will run from May through late July. Conference and team schedules are projected to be released the week of March 22-26, as teams will play 8-to-12 matches throughout the 11-week season. The league will not host a postseason and will crown 16 individual conference champions.
     
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  4. msilverstein47

    msilverstein47 Member+

    Jan 11, 1999
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  5. Nacional Tijuana

    Nacional Tijuana BigSoccer Supporter

    May 6, 2003
    San Diego, Calif.
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    San Diego has had it' own subdivision (or whatever the terminology is) of 5 teams the past two years at least. I'm eager for the WPSL site to finish being redone so I can see what teams are down here in '21!
     
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  6. msilverstein47

    msilverstein47 Member+

    Jan 11, 1999
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  7. msilverstein47

    msilverstein47 Member+

    Jan 11, 1999
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  8. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    Interesting for WPSL to venture - again - into more youth leagues. They've attempted U20 and U23 leagues in the past, though none stuck. We'll see if this one is different.
     
  9. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    John Tannenwald reporting that the UWS/NISA/Club9 partnership is off. Instead, UWS and Club 9 Sports are separately pursuing pro leagues. More fragmentation =/= not good for growth...
     
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  10. msilverstein47

    msilverstein47 Member+

    Jan 11, 1999
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  11. msilverstein47

    msilverstein47 Member+

    Jan 11, 1999
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  12. msilverstein47

    msilverstein47 Member+

    Jan 11, 1999
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  13. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    For context, if anyone is wondering:
    This is the NISA half of the UWS/NISA split mentioned a few posts up. This new league does not have any teams signed up yet, apparently.

    I personally already trusted UWS more than NISA, so this soft launch seems like a lot of fanfare without much substance to me.
     
  14. Phenix

    Phenix Member+

    D.C. United
    Oct 5, 2019
    The lack of demand is a concern. How many spectators would be interested in a league likely to be for college players not good enough for the top division and maybe some NWSL castoffs? I don't want this to become the lower division version of WPS or WUSA.

    Not to mention their competitor USL, who are also planning to launch their own women's league, I could probably see NWSL having a partnership with them since Racing Louisville and NC Courage are already owned by their parent USL clubs. Maybe NWSL reserve teams?

    Usual PR fluff from NISA and producing little to no results to show that. NISA has been on a rapid turnover of teams as of late with their men's league, recently one of their clubs had trouble paying players and vendors on time and they added a few more to comply with standards.

    I could see well-established teams like Detroit City joining, I know they have a women's team in UWS.
     
  15. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    #40 SiberianThunderT, Apr 8, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
    True to a degree, but finding sponsors will likely be more important than bringing in notable attendances, at least when it comes to finances and such. With the recent growth in support for women's sports in general, I wouldn't be surprised if at least one of UWSPro/WISL gets a nice sponsorship or two.

    In terms of attendances, all you really need are invested owners. WPSL, UWS, and old W-League teams never draw/drew a lot on average, but some teams have made it work with appropriate advertising and outreach to their communities.

    And in terms of what players will actually be involved, it's worth looking back at the W-League and how several of the more established teams certainly were able to draw rising international players to the league. Considering how many players come out of NCAA annually and the overall worldwide growth in WoSo, any D2 league will be able to fill itself with respectable quality.

    As for being a lower division version of WPS or WUSA... What else do you think a D2 would be? I'm rather confused at your meaning here.

    Remember that USL backed off their pro desires in place of a semi-pro setup for their W-USL. In that sense, they won't really be a competitor to UWSPro or WISL - i.e. if a player thinks they're good enough to get paid, they're unlikely to with W-USL. On a similar note, if NWSL squads want professional reserve teams, they'll have to go to UWSPro or WISL, and W-USL won't be able to advertise themselves as a professional league, which will keep the W-USL limited in terms of getting their own sponsorships and such.

    Now, I think a W-USL would likely be the most stable of these three new leagues just by relying on the existing USL structure, and could potentially grow enough to reformat as a fully professional league, but I expect that would take several years at the very least, and those are years that one of the pro D2 leagues could strongly snag that D2 territory. That's honestly why I'm quite upset that UWSPro and WISL are going to be competitors instead of a joint effort - it makes it that much harder for either of them to claim that D2 territory to the point of making late D2 entries harder.
     
  16. Phenix

    Phenix Member+

    D.C. United
    Oct 5, 2019
    Agreed, sponsors are essential. We already seen various big name companies sponsoring NWSL and NWSL teams.

    I'll like to add stadium availability and control of concessions. Now, D2 standards are pretty lenient - requires a stadium with at least 2,000 seating capacity. Most NWSL teams can get by because the teams own and/or operate their stadiums.

    Not 100% sure, but most NISA teams are renting stadiums. To add women's professional soccer into the mix might be a hassle for some.

    USL has the advantage here. Most of the men's teams either currently play/building/proposing new soccer stadiums to host matches. I wouldn't be surprised to see some USL teams field a professional/semi-pro women's side.

    We already have a stable first division league - NWSL and that partially took the lesson of past women's leagues folding. I'm concerned of further destabilization of potentially two competing women's lower leagues in the same division. Don't want to repeat history, again.

    If USL's new women's league is initially semi-professional transitioning to fully professional I could see it work. I personally think NWSL will collaborate with this new initiative than WISL. WISL would be the "alternative" but again having two women's leagues in the same division is going to be interesting competition wise.
     
  17. msilverstein47

    msilverstein47 Member+

    Jan 11, 1999
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Klingo3034 repped this.
  18. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    Okay, EQZ has now reported on WISL, with these rather big pieces buried inside:
    https://equalizersoccer.com/2021/04...er-league-wisl-division-2-pro-league-details/
    It's the WEST coast comment here that somewhat surprises me... Most nascent leagues find the West to not be dense enough to support those smaller travel costs.

    So no more D2 for UWS... Sad face.

    Wow USL is spinning up *very* quickly if tms were filed last week and play begins in meme months.
     
  19. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    Missed this earlier - I guess did you mean WPSL vs W-League instead of WPS or WUSA in terms of repeating history, then? WPS and WUSA never had direct competition for D1 and existed at very different times, 2009-11 vs 2001-03
     
  20. Phenix

    Phenix Member+

    D.C. United
    Oct 5, 2019
    I'm sure this will end well.
     
  21. Klingo3034

    Klingo3034 Member+

    Dallas FC
    United States
    Oct 11, 2019
    Its pretty tough to deal with. How to potentially keep thousands of girls playing and improving after college. Or college is the way to go and pretty much whittle down to the best of the best and ignore the rest that will never improve no matter what.
     
  22. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    On Friday, WISL announced its first club, and it is indeed west coast: the Los Angeles Force. Unsurprisingly, it's an existing NISA club, with amateur & youth teams attached; in some positive connections, along those lines, the Force organization also has women's youth squads and a WPSL team. I guess the latter fact shouldn't be too surprising, as WPSL spawned NPSL with has basically functioned as the amateur support network for NASL/NISA. I wonder, then, if WISL attempts to grow by playing off the existing NISA/NPSL/WPSL "family" network and picking off high-achieving WPSL teams to build up its footprint - maybe, in essence, becoming the spiritual successor to WPSL-Elite.

    Of course, with Angel City joining NWSL next year, that's going to suck almost all of the air out of proWoSo-energy in the LA area, so this seems like a rather big gamble to me, especially as the very first team announced. Not to mention that the Force have yet to acknowledge the news about joining WISL on their website or any social media channel yet, either...
     
  23. Phenix

    Phenix Member+

    D.C. United
    Oct 5, 2019
    Big incentive + initial commitment with very little reimbursement realistically.

    LA Force men's team averaged 700 fans in 2019. Can't imagine how that would be different with a women's team, only this time all the big eyeballs will go to Angel City FC as the new women's professional team in town. Good luck competing with them.

    What NISA/WISL will find out is that it's tough to run a soccer league, men's or women's. For a simultaneously short time from when it starts next year too. Getting 8 ducks in a row, sponsorships, adding players, coaching staff, broadcasting contract (if any network/service would even want to air lower division women's soccer)

    Interesting times lie ahead.
     
  24. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    To be fair, the 8-team requirement is only by year 3; they only need six for year 1. But yeah, it'll still be tough to get enough groups willing to play lower-division proWoSo.
     
  25. Phenix

    Phenix Member+

    D.C. United
    Oct 5, 2019
    And on a consistent basis year-by-year as well.

    That's why I'm skeptical.
     
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