New women’s soccer league links and news

Jeff Kassouf November 22, 2012 25

Western New York Flash have won three-straight titles in three different leagues. Can it become four-straight in this new league? (Photo Credit: Meg Linehan/EqualizerSoccer.com))

Wednesday was a wild day to try to keep up with for women’s soccer fans. There is a new professional league set to begin in 2013, but, as of yet, there is no name for the league and the identity of some teams remains unknown. Below is a catch-all of links and news from right here at The Equalizer and from across the World Wide Web.

The basics: The eight teams in the league will be based in Boston, New Jersey, Rochester, N.Y., Washington, D.C., Chicago, Kansas City, Portland and Seattle. There is not yet a name for the league.

U.S. Soccer will fund and run the league office. The U.S. Soccer Federation will pay for up to 24 national team player salaries, while the Canadian Soccer Association will cover up to 16 Canadian national team player salaries and the Federation of Mexican Football will pay for a minimum of 12 Mexican national team salaries.

The league will play a 22-game season from approximately March/April through September/October.

Here is our roundtable discussion on all the news of the new league.

Player reaction:

There has not been a lot of public reaction from U.S. women’s national team members, but Abby Wambach did chat with Jeff Carlisle at ESPN.

Becky Sauerbrunn is also quoted over at SoccerWire.com.

Dan Lauletta and Meg Linehan caught up with Allie Long, Leslie Osborne, Brittany Bock and Karina LeBlanc to get their reactions.

Pacific Northwest:

The Northwest corner of the country has received the most attention in all this and that may well be a sign of good things to come there. Part of the reason for that attention is the perceived battle that was brewing in Seattle. Bill Predmore was originally slated to own the Seattle franchise until the Sounders Women expressed interest.

However, the United Soccer Leagues pulling away from this professional venture meant the Sounders Women pulled their bid as well. Predmore will own the Seattle team, and Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times has a good chat with Predmore here.

Liviu Bird, who relentlessly covered the Sounders Women for us in 2012, explains more of the situation in the Northwest.

Dave Clark at goalWA.net did some research and wonders if Seattle Sirens FC will be the name of the team. Can’t say I like that, at all, but teams very often trademark multiple names and claim multiple domains prior to choosing a name, so we’ll see.

Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson released this statement. What I heard over the last month was that U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati really pushed the issue for Portland’s inclusion. The Timbers showed previous interest in women’s soccer, but getting them to come this far this fast is likely, in part, thanks to Gulati.

Megan Rapinoe, who played at the University of Portland chatted with PortlandTimbers.com about the new league (video below). If Rapinoe plays anywhere other than Portland, it will be a shocker. For that matter, I’m hearing Portland is the overwhelming favorite for places to play amongst a lot of players.

Timbers blog Stumptown Footy says that Nike will supply the uniforms and gear for the new league, meaning the Timbers name cannot be used (sigh) due to the team’s (and MLS’) connection to Adidas. This seems likely as Nike supplies the U.S. national teams with their gear. Gulati also spoke on Wednesday of a “handshake deal” with a national partner, which is likely an apparel deal (and likely Nike).

Team Statements:

D.C. United Women makes note of some changes to their club. Expect the Freedom name to return to the capital district, in some capacity.

It looks like FC Kansas City will be the name of the team in Kansas City, unless that is just a holder name. The team is owned by the same group that owns the Missouri Comets Major Indoor Soccer League team.

Teams snubbed:

Former LA Sol GM Charlie Naimo released this statement to The Equalizer regarding Los Angeles’ exclusion from the new league.

Terry Foley, part of a Hartford, Connn. group, was also disappointed that his club was excluded but hopes to be a 2014 expansion team.

Other recaps of the day:

NBC’s ProSoccerTalk

New York Times

SportsMyriad

 

Parting thought: Happy Thanksgiving, y’all. Go enjoy it and be thankful. Here’s a good story of U.S. captain Christie Rampone helping out former Sky Blue FC coach Rick Stainton, who lost his home in Hurricane Sandy.

  • sol1711

    i give the new league 3 years then she broke again as the wusa and wps.

    sweden his league since 1988, and germany has its league since 1990.

    america has a lot to learn.

    please canada,build up your own league.

    • Steglitz49

      All in good time. One step at the time. Take small steps in the beginning. Your point is well taken, that unless this league delivers over the next 4 years, the plug will be pulled. RIP.

    • TsovLoj

      Canada here. Women’s soccer’s even more fringe here than it is in the US. Mostly cause it’s not hockey.

      • Steglitz49

        It is hard for women playing team sports everywhere in the world. Women as individual sports competitors are accepted and can sometimes be the figurehead for that sport, but when it comes to team sports it is a reversed coin.

        There is probably a dozen PhDs lying around waiting to be done on these behaviors and what it tells us about the human mind and psyche, not least herd behavior and how money is spent and that spending prioritized.

    • newsouth

      as long as ussoccer, esp, and canada allocate, the league is safe.

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  • http://sportsmyriad.com Beau

    But there’s an issue with the Freedom name.

    • Steglitz49

      Live without that name if it is taken. Try “Libertines” instead?

      Maybe follow the British lead and call all teams “LFC” as in Arsenal Ladies or “Belles” as in the fabled Doncaster Belles or go for animal names like the Kobe Leonessa or Millwall Lionesses (who play at the Den, obviously). There are names like Magpies and Mackerels. Try the DC Cherry Blossoms? Maybe “Prisms” for a kind of rainbow coalition.

      The world is your oyster. The DC Oysters or DC Walrusses do not quite ring true but one option would be the DC Carpenters on the grounds of building coalitions to get anything done in politics. The DC Pacesetters?

    • Joshua

      Make it a slight variation. How about its latin version “DC Liberta”? Liberta is the latin word for a woman slave that has been given her freedom.

      A bit of paradox here that the word “freedom” is “owned” by somebody (you know who…). So “freedom is not free” as the saying goes….

  • sol1711

    wusa is dept, wps is dept, and the new league is also bankrupt in 3 years. and in all difficulties, the swedish league since 1988, and the german league since 1990, continuously.

    that is, this two women football, soccer, league’s existed for 24 and 22 years.

    please please usa, your must imitate.

    • Steglitz49

      No need to imitate. USA already has made one contribution to soccer when they introduced the penalty shoot out. Admittedly, their idea of the golden goal (as well as silver goal) did not last but was tried by FIFA for almost a decade.

  • Steglitz49

    The moment of truth and time to follow suit is about to arrive. About 2 complete teams of American women ply their trade abroad and many if not all of them would be reasonable candidates for the NT in 2015 and 2016. Where do they want to play in 2013, bearing in mind that the ladies CL final is on 23rd May at Stamford Bridge?

    We know that Göteborg will not be in next seasons CL but they have advanced to the QFs of this seasons. This is the team where Hope Solo cut her teeth and they sport 4 Americans currently — Christen Press, Yael Averbuch, Ingrid Wells and Camille Levin — who might look forward to playing in their own country again. Would the new NAFA league sign them but leave them play out their time in the CL?

    Meghan Klingenberg’s choice is harder. Tyresö just won the Swedish league and will play in next season’s CL. Should she cash in her chips and return to USA or stay and help try win the CL trophy for Tyresö?

    Neither Frankfurt nor Bayern Munich look like booking a berth to the next CL, so it would not be unexpected if Sarah Hagen and Ali Krieger returned to USA, but what should Alyssa Naeher and Keelin Winters in Potsdam do? Potsdam could finish 2nd in the German league and go to the CL again.

    As for Lindsey Horan, why should she leave PSG? Her’s is a 2 year contract and PSG’s pockets are deep.

    We live in interesting times. Maybe the Equalizer could open a book on the ladies in foreign lands and we can place our bets — plus a list of any Canadians and Mexicans abroad.

  • sol1711

    no american player will leave the bundesliga who gets the apartment, a car and a health insurance and even 5000€-6488$ in month, gets the remains

    • Steglitz49

      Your point is well taken, Sol4711. The pay at the top of the ladies’ soccer tree is not bad in Europe and you are not responsible for your health care to boot.

      Nevertheless, it depends on what you want from life. Most people want to live in their own land. At the same time, players like to play and fight for real trophies. Rebecca Moros and Beverly Goebel-Yanez play for Kobe Leonessa in Japan who narrowly lost to Lyon in the Mobcast Cup earlier today.

      But what do players bring back home when they return from a foreign country, apart from memories? Could they go into investment banking and either handle clients from or advise on investments in those countries? What is the added value to their sojourn abroad?

      As long as this new NAFA league can gets its level of pay competitive, it will be swamped with applications from foreign players wanting to come and play for a couple of years to experience the USA. Not just good money but the working language of USA is English, the lingua france of the world, and the whole experience of America the beautiful from shore to shining shore.

      My advise to the NAFA organisers would be immediately to add a knock-out competition to their league. Model it on the FA cup and start with one team per state or province in Canada, Mexico & USA + wildcards.

  • Steglitz49

    Today was a red letter day for US women’s sports because for the first time a US ladies’ relay team in cross country skiing was on the podium in a World Cup race!

    Yes!! USA’s ladies finished third. The Norwegian ladies with Björgen and Johaug in the squad were always beyond reach but America gave Sweden, whose team included Kalla and Ingemarsdotter, a run for their money on their home snow.

    What has this to do with women’s soccer? You may well ask. It is a milestone in another sport where American women have not been too common. Maybe the US ladies will also win a biathlon (ski-shooting) relay soon? Meanwhile, let’s get the new soccer league going.

  • sol1711

    the american women soccer league is in 3 years bankrupt.
    ihr amerikaner könnt es einfach nicht, denn fussball bedeutet, das man herz und kopf verbinden muss.
    ein starker verband, so wie der dfb, ist von nöten um eine liga aufzubauen die länger als 3 jahre hält.
    und diesen starken verband habt ihr nicht.

    • Steglitz49

      Sol4711 — you seem keen on USA’s ladies soccer meeting its Stalingrad but, remember, that it was also a great victory not just a miserable defeat. It simply depends on your point of view.

      Maybe it is Old Europe who should retool and change strategy? The EU could put much more effort into schools and universities instead of expecting the men’s soccer teams to subsidize the whole shebang.

      It is a strange feature all over the world that while women in individual sports are welcomed (sort of) when the play team sports they are ridiculed. No-one would dare ridicule Gold-Lena, Vikky Rebensburg or Maria Höfl-Riesch, let alone Steffi Graf, but hardly anyone turns up to watch Bayern Munich’s lady footballers in spite of them winning the ladies DFB-pokal last season, trouncing Frankfurt 2-0.

  • Steglitz49

    It is said that Ingrid Wells is leaving Göteborg and moving back to USA. Maybe we will see her in the new league? Playing for a team in NJ or DC? Please, anyone who has any news please type them for us to read.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mt.tl.9 Mt Tl

      SO yeah i am going to guess where players go:

      SEA- Solo, Leroux

      POR- Rapinoe

      KC- Undecided

      CHI- Undecided

      WNY- Morgan

      BOS- O’Reilly

      NJ- Lloyd, Rampone

      DC- Wambach

  • sol1711

    she goes to turbine potsdam

  • sol1711

    oh sorry, she goes to turbine potsdam in 3 years if the us women football, soccer, league is broke again.

    • Steglitz49

      If this new NAFA league breaks down, then women’s professional soccer faces a bleak future everywhere. Japan, Germany and PSG cannot sustain women’s soccer on their own. As you have pointed out yourself, the ladies’ European championship is awfully one-sided. Even the ladies’ CL is becoming déjà vu all over again. Yawn!

  • http://www.facebook.com/crystal.m.house.5 Crystal Michelle House
    • Steglitz49

      Yes and no. Women’s soccer in Japan and Europe is an artificial activity. it is heavily subsidized by either individuals or companies or wealthy men’s clubs — but remember that Man Utd, the biggest name in sports, closed down its women’s division. Another big resource is local government paying off clubs’ debts.

      Men’s soccer in Europe lives off the 20-35 years old male professional with disposable income and few attachments. That young man was brought to the game as a boy by his grandfather. In USA, women earn on average $10,000 a year less than men — $200/week less. Money not available for women’s soccer.

      Maybe what is needed for this new league to thrive is for women to show solidarity with women who want to play soccer.

      If women simply make a commitment to go to the ladies’ soccer games and fill the stadia over the next 3 years, then the league will take off. Women to stand shoulder to shoulder with other women. Maybe that is too much to ask but it is one solution that lies within the power of women to do.

      The marketer that can be the Pete Rozelle for ladies’ football will go down in history and be taught in business schools, like the marketing of Zantac.

  • Steglitz49

    The average attendance in the Japanese Ladies’ League this season was 2,572. The highest attendance was 16,663 and the lowest was 276.

    Kobe Leonessa averaged 6,300. Their highest and lowest were 9,272 and 3,910, respectively. Beleza averaged 4,250; highest 16,663 (vs Kobe); lowest 1,035. Okayama averaged 3,402 and Urawa, Osaka and Niigata all >2,000. Only one team in the league averaged <1,000. Sixteen games were free entry – and average 908.

    For the new NAFA league to achieve these figures in its first year is probably a bit hopeful, but maybe in the second season?