Sol setting in Los Angeles Part 4: The players

Jeff Kassouf January 28, 2010 0

The players seem to be overlooked in this entire announcement about the Los Angeles Sol.

Reallocating the players (dispersing them, if you will), is a complete change of life for these Sol players.  They have houses, friends, family and entire lives there in SoCal.  It is a bit of a ‘duh’ statement, but is often overlooked.

Professional athletes get traded or transferred all the time, but it is a rare occasion to see an entire team disband and get shipped out to various teams across the country.  Obviously, it will be interesting to see which players end up where.  That is a subject to dive into in the coming days.

What should be pointed out when considering these talks is the limited roster space.  There are 19 players on the Sol’s roster that will need to be distributed throughout the other eight teams.  Simple right?  Not so much.

Each team has 18 roster slots with four openings for developmental players.  WPS teams have the ability to claim the rights to six international players and carry five on the roster at any given time.  None of that is changing.

However, the increasing talent pool now faces a decrease in available opportunities (although it is important to note that there is one more WPS team in 2010 than 2009 even without Los Angeles).  That will leave some players on the outside looking in and will certainly change the landscape of the various open tryouts coming up in the next few weeks.

This could boost the talent level in the W-League and WPSL as fringe players look for places to continue to play while they wait for their WPS calling.  It may also see some make the move overseas, particularly internationals left on the outside looking in.

Again, this LA situation is less than ideal, but players matriculating to the W-League and WPSL would help raise the level of play in those developmental leagues.

Comparatively, the lack of first division women’s soccer creates a shortage for professional opportunities for females.  WPS has half the number of teams as Major League Soccer, but there are just as many future women’s professional players as there are men’s (the gender split in the U.S. hovers around 50/50).

If WPS-quality players find their way to the two ‘second divisions’ of women’s soccer in the United States, it won’t be terrible for the development at the grassroots level.  Still, it is not ideal to have players that deserve a shot at the next level playing at the semi-professional level, and it is a shame for more to have to experience this.

It is important to note the impact this has on players in open tryouts.  If WPS teams can pick up some of these superstars from LA, the average player in the open tryout is even less valuable to them.  Sure, money and other factors come into play, but it is just reality.
Listen to the Set Piece Analysts Women’s Podcast on the subject here.

Follow me at www.Twitter.com/JeffKassouf for all of the latest updates.

4 Comments… read them below or post one
Anonymous said…
Looking into all of these salary issue and who owes money to whom. She will definitely sell tickets anywhere, though. Marta made LA’s marketing plan. LA didn’t make Marta. Will have answers soon. -Jeff
Anonymous said…
I am curious about Marta’s contract status. As you have reported elsewhere, she has a guaranteed contract worth $500K per season. Was that guaranteed by the Sol or by WPS? If she is picked up in the dispersal draft, who is on the hook for that much money? Certainly with all WPS teams losing money last season, taking on her salary can’t possibly make economic sense. If Marta couldn’t sell tickets in LA (enough to cover her salary), I don’t see her selling tickets in any other market. I could see her going unpicked next Thursday.
Anonymous said…
I am curious about Marta’s contract status. As you have reported elsewhere, she has a guaranteed contract worth $500K per season. Was that guaranteed by the Sol or by WPS? If she is picked up in the dispersal draft, who is on the hook for that much money? Certainly with all WPS teams losing money last season, taking on her salary can’t possibly make economic sense. If Marta couldn’t sell tickets in LA (enough to cover her salary), I don’t see her selling tickets in any other market. I could see her going unpicked next Thursday.