The most obvious question in the larger picture of Thursday’s announcement involves Women’s Professional Soccer. How does the fall of the Los Angeles Sol affect the league?
It’s a huge blow, obviously. Casual fans and faithful alike are wondering if this is WUSA 2.0, but it is not. As emphasized from the start, this is WPS, a whole new ballgame.
Do not be fooled into thinking that LA ceasing operations spells the end of the league. While WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci admits that is a natural concern, it is not a legitimate one.
“I think that is a human reaction and you want to try to draw conclusions and you want to anticipate different ways it could go,” she said. “Some people could conclude that. What we know, and what we want the public to know, is that we have eight committed ownership groups who are not wavering as a result of this. In their markets, regionally and locally, they are going forward as they have planned. They are in it for the long term.”
There are still some great things going on in the league. As bad as this news is, the fact that so many people are concerned about it is actually silver lining (all be it a small positive). This would be a lot worse if people (i.e. fans and media) did not care. But there is uproar; there is emotion. That is what is needed to keep the WPS ship on path and in the end this could be a rallying point for LA and WPS.
The Atlanta Beat will open their own stadium in May. Philadelphia will kick off its first season as well. Ticket sales will continue to rise. In all, the point is that there are eight solid markets and surely more to come.
“There are eight markets committed to WPS moving forward in 2010,” Antonucci said. “Two brand new teams in Atlanta and Philly are part of that group of eight, so the ownership groups are very committed.”
Essentially, the message to fans is to be patient and not worry. I’ve heard this phrase from multiple people involved in the situation, and it really rings true: ‘Have faith.’
Listen to the Set Piece Analysts Women’s Podcast on the subject here.
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