The National Women’s Soccer League was formally unveiled on Saturday, even if the U.S. women’s national team players gave a collective lukewarm welcome to it (more on that later).
There still are not any players on any teams, but the allocation process of U.S., Canadian and Mexican players will be completed sometime prior to the start of the NSCAA Convention on Jan. 16, 2013. Of note: the matching of players to their desired teams is supposed to be done by a third party (not teams and not U.S. Soccer), according to a source close to the situation. The process will be much like WPS, where U.S. players submitted requests of three places they’d like to play, and they were matched to those cities as best as possible (this time around might get a little more interesting with a perceived high interest in Seattle and Portland).
Of course, we can’t overlook the fact that U.S. players still need to sign on with this new venture.
A report from Examiner suggests that other international federations may try to subsidize players, but one team source said that no other country will have “direct involvement” like the three North American federations.
The NWSL Draft will take place at the Convention and will likely be Friday, Jan. 18. The Friday of the Convention served as WPS Draft day from 2009-2012 (despite the 2012 season being suspended just two weeks after that draft).
A $200,000 salary cap — which is the number referenced in the above piece — would be interesting. Let’s crunch some numbers:
Hypothetically, let’s call it three U.S. players, two Mexican players and two Canadian players per team for a total of seven subsidized players (MLS’ term of “Designated Players” — “DPs” — flows way better). Call it a roster of 24 players, meaning 17 need to be paid by teams. That leaves for an average of about $11,765 per player. Say the roster is 20-deep and you’re looking at $15,685 on average, to go around among 13 players not funded by a federation.
Clearly, those aren’t livable standalone wages, but they are also for a season that will last approximately seven months. That means there are opportunities for players to continue pursuing coaching and training gigs in the postseason, as well as off-season loans overseas so they can continue to play through the winter.
One more link from Kansas City: Ben Palosaari from The Pitch has a piece on FC Kansas City (I swear, I’m not just linking because I’m quoted in it) stating that the team is searching for a stadium that seats 5,000 fans, minimum. Yes, you read that correctly — not maximum, but minimum. When Ben told me that during our conversation, I was shocked. A 5,000 seat venue is perfect and plentiful for this league. To try to fill anything larger would be overly-ambitious and end up cavernous (surely Kansas City fans remember the days of the Wizards at an empty Arrowhead Stadium. Scale that down, and that’s the vibe you would have with a women’s crowd of 3,000 or so in, hypothetically, a 10,000 seat stadium.