The Lowdown: A look at NWSL rules and tiebreakers

Dan Lauletta February 26, 2013 48

NWSL executive director Cheryl Bailey. (Photo Copyright: Patricia Giobetti |

We’re now at less than 50 days until Portland Thorns FC and FC Kansas City usher in the NWSL era on April 13.  Slowly—and we do mean slowly—but surely the league and clubs have put together rosters, secured venues, and likely hundreds of other behind the scenes details we’ll never know about.  About the only major issue yet to be announced is a television deal (and other major sponsors, like the inevitable news that Nike will be involved).  It is certainly feasible to put on the league without a TV deal but there have been enough hints to indicate there will be some sort of broadcast agreement.  The latest hint was dropped via Twitter last week by FC Kansas City.

With most of the big details falling into place, we’re interested in some of the overlooked policies like tiebreakers and card rules.  The Lowdown did some poking around over the last week and here is some of what we came up with.


The league softly made it known that it will play a single table with the top four clubs qualifying for playoffs which will go as a straight knockout where higher seeds host.  But what if teams finish the season with the same number of points?  NWSL will employ the following procedures to break ties.

1)  Head-to-head records: Where two teams are concerned this will be straight up based on who gets more points from the other.  If it stretches to three or more tied teams, points per game will be used to negate that fact that not all teams play each other the same number of times.

2)  Goal difference: Straight-up goal difference.  This is the international standard bearer and the preference of most longtime soccer fans.

3)  Total goals:  Most total goals scored during the season.

4)  Head-to-head road records:  This one is interesting and won’t even be applicable if the tie is between two teams who have played each other four times.  That’s because in order for the straight head-to-head to be tied, this category would have to be tied as well.  If we ever get this far in a three-way tiebreaker though, it will make for some interesting dynamics.

5)  Goal difference on the road:  Goal difference in games played on the road.  This will not be put into play very often.

6)  Total goals on the road:  Total goals scored on all road games.

7) Coin flip

Officially there are additional steps going through all these processes for home games, but if teams are tied for total goal difference and road goal difference then they will obviously be tied in home goal difference as well.  The same applies to total goals.  And more often than not, these things will get handled in the first two tiebreakers, and almost always by the third.

Lauletta’s take:  Personally I prefer goal difference because it factors in the entire season whereas head-to-head can leave a team in the lurch over a bad day or two.  It also seems somewhat counter intuitive to break a tie on head-to-head when you’re leaving the team with the inferior record against everyone else on top of the league.  That said, head-to-head is a fine tiebreaker and it will be easy to figure out.  (And anything is better than MLS’s gimmicky use of total goals as the top tiebreaker.)

Substitution Rules

NWSL will use standard FIFA substitution rules.  That means three per game and no special handling for goalkeepers, as WUSA used.  That means a minimum of seven field players each game will have to go the full 90.  It also means we could see another Cat Whitehill moment.  Whitehill was forced into goal for the Washington Freedom in 2010 after the team used all its subs and Erin McLeod tore her ACL.

Speaking of the full 90…

That will be how long NWSL matches are.  There will be no silly extra times or penalty shootouts.  Three points for a win, one for a draw.  Just the way it should be, we know, but worth mentioning in case anyone had ideas otherwise.

Card accumulation

This is always a hot topic once the season gets going.  Here’s what we found out:

Red Cards:  Standard one-game suspension applies.

Yellow Cards:  A player will be suspended after accumulating five yellow cards.  Additional suspension will be in order after receiving another three (eight total) and then another three (11 total).  After that, every second yellow card will result in a one-game suspension.

In the event a player takes two yellow cards in the same match, the first card will count as an accumulated card and the second will count as a red card.

As of now NWSL does not have a ‘make good’ policy where players can wipe out their card accumulations by playing a certain number of consecutive matches without going in the book.

Lauletta’s take:  It will be interesting to see if the league sticks with not having a ‘make good’ policy.   Five is not a high number of cards over 22 matches especially for players who make their living in the defensive third.

Roster Limits

The roster limit will be 20 players.  Additionally there is a minimum limit of 18 players.  The league is working on a process to handle situations when teams require extra players due to excessive injuries and/or national team call-ups.  There are no current plans to maintain a league player pool similar to what MLS does with its goalkeeper pool.


Free Kicks

-Sky Blue FC have hired Erwin van Bennekom to the an assistant coach.  Van Bennekom will also coach Jersey Sky Blues in WPSL Elite.  That club will serve as Sky Blue FC’s official reserve team.   The Dutchman is a veteran of the WPSL coaching ranks.

-The main takeaway from Tom Sermanni’s early US roster selection for the national team is that he is blowing up the idea that players stationed overseas will not get a fair shake to be part of the rotation.  Earlier this month Sermanni gave Swedish-based Christen Press her first two caps and he called on 18-year old Lindsey Horan to be part of the current camp leading into next week’s Algarve Cup.  Horan notably passed up college to sign with Paris Saint-Germain.

-Shortly after being left off the list of Algarve Cup invites Heather Mitts tweeted, “That’s how the cookie crumbles. Can’t compete when you aren’t 100%. Will be cheering!” It is not known what, if any, injury Mitts is carrying, but barring a turnaround we could be looking at the end of her time on the national team.

-Some recent player signings:  Danielle Foxhoven and Jazmyne Avant (Portland Thorns FC); Caitlin Foord (Sky Blue FC);

-The Spirit got some excellent news this week when Ashlyn Harris had her contract with FCR Duisburg terminated in order to return to the US in time to start the NWSL season.  On the flipside the club will be without Alicia Garciamendez until she completes her senior year at Stanford.

-Canada will play France in an international friendly April 4 at the Ray Stadium in Nice.  The Canadian women were already slated to play in England three days later.

Hope Solo could miss the start of the Reign FC season due to wrist surgery.  If she does, the Reign will be without all three of their allocated U.S. players to open the season.  Amy Rodriguez is pregnant and Megan Rapinoe is playing with Lyon in France until June.

-Another Reign FC player, Nikki Krzysik, is still undecided about playing this season.  The New Jersey native recently attended Paul RIley’s Supergroup so if she does decide to play, fitness should not be an issue.

  • Zach

    I definitely don’t think this is the end for Mitts. She’s just been out of it for a while. She just won an Olympic Gold Medal for a reason. I don’t think this is the end for Mittsy.

    • vert2013

      I think it is, she hasn’t been at the top of her game in close to 2 years and with the younger players coming in, she’s going to get pushed out sooner rather than later.

      • Terry Lash

        I agree. Although I have been a big fan of her, I was surprised she was included on the WC and Olympic squads. It’s time for younger players to take over.

    • becca o

      She is what 34 and hasn’t been the favorite for awhile. I like Mitts but would much rather see us training up young defenders.

    • StarCityFan

      If it isn’t, it should be. Sermanni should be concentrating on players who’ll be available in 2015. Mitts would be 39 by then.

    • newsouth

      Mitts still runs well and plays an error free game. If she is still fit, I believe she’s still a good sub in tight games. Brasil made this same mistake with Simone in the last Olympics.

      • Steglitz49

        I am not sure that I follow you. Japan defeated Brazil 2-0. The first goal came off a rapidly taken freekick which caught the Brazilians napping. The second goal late in the second half was a brilliant fast passing move, possibly the best goal in the tournament.

      • NYRick

        Mitts has been a great servant to the USWNT program, but it’s time to move on for her. She can still enjoy playing professionally in the NSWL. There is just too much young talent coming into the US program on a continual basis and her roster spot can not come at the expense of talented new comers like JJ and Dunn. Mitts would be 36 at the next WC. Isn’t it time? Same for Rampone and Boxx who would be even older. Give the kids a chance. You’ve had a nice run.

        The days of playing to 35 and beyond have to be over for USWNT players. That strategy and seniority system probably come the team two WCs (03 and 07), and Pia didn’t exactly change things either taking forever to insert a star like AM into the starting lineup. She does that sooner, the US most likely wins the 11WC. I know they lost on kicks in the final, but you know what I mean. They would have been far more dominant overall. Same thing with Press. She for the last 2 years is a victim of the system. Now people are starting to see what they’ve got. A star. Same for Horan. She has to be integrated in, she could turn out to be the best of them of all. The biggest problem on this team is at forward. At Abby is the greatest hurdle to overcome. She wants to hang around to the next WC and Olympics and that is downright crazy and selfish considering the young forward talent on this team. Right now, one can argue that she may be the 4th or 5th best forward choice on this team. But her pending record stands in the way. It’s a mistake. I’d like to see her get the record this year and move on from the national team too.

        • Steglitz49

          Odd. I thought Hollywood wrote the script for the WC-11.

        • Steglitz49

          Joking apart, your point about the age-structure is well taken. As the game matures, most WNTs will be 20-30 years in age with a core around 22-27 years of age. Were a lot of money to flow into the ladies’ game, the average age could go up again because it would be worth playing on.

          As a corollary, players who suffer serious injuries will find themselves sidelined sooner than currently. It might not be one tear and you are out but the three-tears-and-trying-to-get-back will be history.

          • NYRick

            Yes, your right. Good points on injuries. One ACL tear and out for the year, and even a very good player can fall far beyond with the influx of talent the US has at its disposal. I also personally look at a player like Arod with her pregnancy and absence for the full year, and have to think that she is most likely is done with the USWNT program. Wishing her all the best and nothing wrong with starting a family. But from a career standpoint she probably figured there was nothing going on this year of importance for the USWNT. Problem for her is that Press and Horan just joined Leroux, and with Alex in place that’s 4 terrific young forwards to compete with, that in all fairness, are far superior in talent to her. There’s a new coach too who won’t protect or favor her.

            But for me the problem is Abby. Once again, nothing against her. She’s had a legendary career with the national team. But at some point, Mia moved on for her. And no one was a bigger fan favorite or more popular than Mia. It’s time. She can’t hang around for the next WC. It’s just wrong. And as you’ve stated in many of your posts, Japan and Germany are going with youth movements right now. So at WC15, they are going to young, talented and experienced to a good degree.

          • Steglitz49

            Do you think Ms Leroux is history? With Alex Morgan, Lindsey Horan, Christen Press and Abby Wambach as a 20 min substitute — not counting Sarah Hagen — where does Ms Leroux fit in?

            Regarding returning from pregnancy, Kuzmina came back at 26 to get a gold and silver in Vancouver and Tchekaleva at 28 just grabbed a bronze (by the smallest of margisn admittedly) in val di Fiemme, so a return is not beyond the grasp of the gifted.

            “Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn …” etc. Though the rules about “professionalism” ruled Grenoli out of the WC in ’50 and ’54, nevertheless Gren at 37 and Liedholm at 35 played for Sweden in 1958 when they took silver, while Nordahl at 36 felt he was beyond his best. But, it was a long time ago …

          • NYRick

            It’s interesting you say that about Leroux. Because after the Olympics, I felt she definitely had a big future with the team. Still might, don’t get me wrong. But it’s funny how things can change so rapidly in 6-7 months. I think the new coach has a lot to do with it.

            Pia was not going to give the Euro club team US players a chance. Press was ready to give up on the US team and has so much said so. That would have been sad. TS is well aware of the massive talent he has playing overseas (Press, Horan, Hagen) at forward and he is obviously not stupid. There may come a time in the not too distant future where Syd may think she should have played for team Canada instead. She would have been a starter there for 10 years, and teaming with Sinclair could have made a great tandem.

            But playing for the US and vying for minutes on this team (especially at forward) is going to be difficult. You know how I feel about Press. She needs to be on field and right now. I think the whirlwind combo for 15WC for the US would be to play 3 forwards (Alex, Christen and Lindsey) in a 4-3-3. If Abby’s still on the scene, only sub minutes. Of those 11, I would also want KO, Pinoe, Tobin, JJ, Mewis and Dunn on the pitch. Now you are talking the most powerful, young dynamic team the women’s international game has ever seen. Very exciting. Hopefully TS does it right. But I do think Leroux could be the odd girl out, or at best get 20 minutes as a sub for the frontline. All depends if Abby sticks around for 15WC. That would be a disaster and a colossal mistake for the team.

          • NYRick

            Now let me just add Ash Harris as the goalie for the 15WC team, and the other defender either Engen or Sauerbrunn. I also have no problem moving LePeilbet back to central defender (she’s real strong there) and having Rampone retire from the international team. That makes the 11. It will never happen, but I would love for that 11 to take the pitch at least once.

            Now you honestly tell me who is going to come close to beating that team?

          • TsovLoj

            I don’t think she has to worry about Abby edging her out to start for 2015. Time’s on her side in that regard. It’s Press and Horan for the most part that she’s competing with. Horan’s been held up so many times as Abby-like that I have to disagree with Necron upthread in that, Abby’s uniqueness isn’t enough to keep her around at her age.

            I do wonder if Leroux might be well served to consider a shift to a position where we need help, like O’Hara did on the back line. She did well enough when she got subbed in back there for those ten minutes a few friendlies back.

          • Steglitz49

            Your points are well taken. A wise manager would try to find a role for Ms Leroux in the NT.

            It is almost 2.5 years till the WC; anything might happen, even days before the start and, of course, during the tournament. (USWNT won the Olympic gold in 2008 with Abby out with a broken leg.)

          • necron99

            Well enough?? A goal was scored from her side during that 10 minutes or the USWNT would have beaten Germany.
            As for Horan, if you watch the PSG games she doesn’t play anything like Abby at all. She has size and is a good technical player, but she is hardly any faster that Abby. She also is not the force to be reckoned with in the box that Abby is. She makes some shots with her feet that we haven’t seen Abby even try for 5+ years. She does not fill the position that Abby does. Size isn’t all that Abby has.

          • Steglitz49

            I have been a great admirer of Abby since I first saw her play in the WC-03. What a star. She is without question one of the very best lady players of the modern era. Abby was the only one to score her penalty against Japan in WC-11.

            Nevertheless, to be fair to Ms Horan she is not yet 19. Abby was 23 in that 2003 WC on home soil where USA were knocked out in the SF, as they also were in 2007. Provided Lindsey remains injury free, it is difficult not to see her developing and by WC-15 she will partner Alex as the starting striker. Maybe Ms Press can learn to play as an attacking midfielder or the USWNT embrace Total Football. Then there is Sarah Hagen.

            As for Ms Leroux, your point is well taken. It is hard for an attacking player to become a true defender. Given the talent that USA has in midfield, it is difficult to se her having a starting place there. Barring injuries, she could be a substitute which is no mean feat.

          • Anon

            I agree on the whole line-up you have, pretty much. I think the only places where we differ are mostly due to my lack of experience viewing them. I have Krieger at right back over Dunn, but this is of course assuming she gets back to her pre-injury form. I also have Cheney at center-mid over Mewis. I think Cheney is very dynamic as a passer, and whenever I heard talk of Tobin being possibly the future #10, I always felt it’d be better to keep her wide and put Cheney in the center. I think it’ll be interesting to see how Sermanni handles Cheney. I think Hope is still the best goaltender in the world, but I’d definitely pick Ashlyn as her backup. Hope has had injury issues, and will be 3 years older by then as well, so I’m definitely not committed to her 100%. I also wonder if we have anyone who can play left back better than O’Hara. I love her getting forward but she seems to struggle sometimes when called on to actually defend.

            I tend to wonder if the US’ fitness advantage is what allows a lot of their players to have such prolonged NT careers. I imagine their production starts to fall off later than most players of similar age/experience from other countries.

          • NYRick

            Great point on the Cheney situation. It is interesting to see how it plays out for her. She may be the best two-way young player they have, she’s still only about 25. Plus, she’s a very smart player who has tech skills but she’s slow of foot. That’s why I never liked her as a forward. Especially at the expense of Alex. I see her as a holding midfielder in a 4-3-3 with Tobin and Pinoe flanking her. After the 11WC, I thought she was the future of the team moving forward, as in their best player, to kind of build around. The emergence of AM has changed that scenario around drastically for her. I do like Mewis who is a faster more offensive threat from the midfield. But like you said, I have no problem with Cheney as a starter with Mewis in a supporting role for WC15. We’ll see how they do till then and how many minutes each get in the next two years for the NT.

            As for Ali Krieger. Again, no problem with that choice. She’s a solid player at right back if she’s completely back from the injury. Dunn is supposed to be the real deal, but haven’t seen enough of her and she may have to grow and get the right experience too. In terms of KO, just really like her as a player more than anything. Yes, I cringe too sometimes when I see the defensive mistakes she makes in the transition to the new position. But for most part, she’s handled it quite well and offensively gives the team a dynamic force from the left back position. Plus, she plays with great energy and passion and in my opinion in the future captain of this team.

            In terms of longevity and fitness for the US players, that’s all well and good, and to their advantage. But I would just like to see the end of the 35+ year USWNT player. Maybe even at 32 you’re out. Too much young talent. It’s time to give the young players a chance. Some of these older players never want to leave the scene. And the excuse that there is no suitable replacement doesn’t wash. This team is 2-3 deep in talent just about everywhere. Abby is going to be the biggest problem in this area moving forward.

          • Anon

            I understand about the young talent. I don’t think there should be a maximum age though. It should be whoever is the best plays. Christie Rampone was probably our best center back this past year, and she was 37. Boxx was a top level holding midfiedler as well at 35. I agree with you that Pia was not good enough at bringing in the young talent, but these two deserved to be on the roster, in my opinion.

          • Steglitz49

            Bezirk! The only manager to best Sundhage during her tenure was Sasaki, unless you count Dennerby’s Sweden beating USA 2-1 in WC-11, which fortunately for USA was in the group game.

            Verily, in the previous 2 world cups, 2003 on home soil to boot, the USA was knocked out in the SF. At least in 2011 the USWNT got to the final, but when the heat was on the team wilted and crumbled. They abandoned the kitchen, as a former president might have observed.

            Sundhage brought on four young players and tried out a few more. The league system in USA went the way of the USS Maine. Still the USWNT did not do too badly under Sundhage’s tenure. OK, she might have been more of a Derwall or Voeller than a Klinsmann or Loew, not a bad thing to be on balance.

          • Steglitz49

            A serious concern is how the NWSL can provide opportunity for all young ladies who want to play to play. Even when the NWSL expands to 12 teams, it still means that less than 200 women can get serious playing time. Obviously, the NWSL must be put on a solid footing as the first step, but north-American ladies’ soccer must speedily burst out into 4 and then 8 and maybe ultimately even 12 or 16 regional leagues.

          • Steglitz49

            Fitness. Do not worry about fitness because the rest of the world will catch up. Ladies’ soccer must worry about the features that make this form of soccer special. If that is lost, why watch?

          • necron99

            You know it is pretty harsh to say that Pia would not give Euro club players a chance. The fact is that she had Ali Kreiger playing in the WWC and would have had her in the Olympic’s if it wasn’t for the ACL injury. Who else was playing in Europe that needed a call up? Press was the only one there that was missing. Averbuch had already been getting into camps. Press hadn’t been in Europe that long. Press was in line for a spot that was full during the WWC with Morgan starting to get her caps, and Leroux was coming in for the Olympics. I would say that maybe Press should have come in before Leroux because of her goal scoring in WPS 2011 and Goteborg in early 2012, but Leroux and and Morgan had strong showings in the U20 WWC for Pia to judge from. Press wasn’t there.

          • necron99

            And those teams still haven’t figured out how to truly stop Abby. I have said it before and I will say it again, since we keep repeating the same thing in every thread. None of these WNTs have someone like Abby on them, and they do not train or play against a player like her in their club leagues. She may have a sudden drop off of form that makes it impossible to keep her, but even though she is slow and people hate that, she is still a force. The point of the game is scoring goals and winning. Abby does both of those things. If Alex Morgan provides assists and Wambach keeps scoring at 2012’s rate, then Wambach should stay. If Press joins in and adds assists, and she, Morgan, and Wambach play off of each other we win. Having 3 legitimate speedster scoring threats is a good thing, but having Wambach at power forward is a different threat. She shows up in big games, she has force of will. Thankfully the coaches are smarter then the fans. It isn’t all about speed.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point is well taken. Provided Abby is playing well it would be a foolhardy manager not to take her to Canada even if he only uses her as a 20 min substitute. The history of soccer is littered with critical substitutions (since they were allowed about 40-45 years ago). Abby also seems a positive force within any team, something worth treasuring.

            The real question is whether with so much diverse talent the USWNT should try to play Total Football (with Alex Morgan in the role of Cruijff)?

            WC-15 ought to be a ding-dong tournament. Germany always wants to win. USA wants to get its mitts on that trophy after 3 failures (at least in 2011 they got to the final). Japan wants to keep it. Canada as hosts will do their utmost. Brazil has the Olympics in 2016 so their FA will want to build a strong side. Mexico is part of the NWSL. Add to this South-Korea and some of the African countries, while Euro this year will give us an idea which countries apart from Germany may be a force. Plus all the qualifying matches will set the scene.

          • NYRick

            Yes, but Abby’s not going to want that. She will want to start and play 70 minutes at minimum, and TS might cave to her popularity on the team. What that does even now is hinder the chemistry upfront that can develop for WC15 for Morgan, Press and Horan.

            It will be their undoing. The other teams as you have smartly outlined are going to be tough at WC15. The women’s game is evolving and improving by the day. Even with the US talent they have to keep their eye on the prize. Not on player’s egos or bruised feelings. It’s what’s best for the program. A strong coach is so needed right now for the US. I sincerely hope TS is the right person for the job.

          • NYRick

            Actually, I think Germany has a lot of big physical girls who can match Abby is size and strength. Especially as she begins to age now. I understand what you are saying, and I’m not trying to be redundant. I’m just thinking how the team should shape out upfront for WC15. I think a 34 year old Abby with a lot of games and wear on her at that time would be even more slow and lumbering. And worse, it hinders the development of the young talent and pretty much strength of the team going forward.

            Of course, she has her value on set pieces, holding the ball up and gaining possession for Alex etc., but my understanding is that the 18-year old Horan is a young version of Abby with superior tech skills. Sometimes you hear that and it turns out to be BS. Abby is a unique player who will be hard to duplicate, but this is the year to find out what they have. Why not integrate her in now for minutes. If she’s as good as advertised can you imagine what she will do by WC15?

            My wish for an upfront line of Press, Morgan and Horan isn’t necessarily 3 speedsters. I don’t view Press’s game as one of speed. She’s technical and clinical in finishing. Just a really smart player. Alex is Alex. Incredible pace and the best finisher in the women’s game, and Horan would be a young force providing the strength, size and apparent touch as well. As for Leroux, I want her on the field too. I think a shift to maybe right back, something like they did for KO would get the best athletes on the field. And yes, TS knows more about coaching and soccer than I’ll ever know, but sometimes the coaches play favorites and seniority. Not the best 11. There are and has been much politics on the USWNT side for over a decade and it has cost them. It’s embarrassing not to have won the WC since 1999 with the talent they have. Now it’s borderline ridiculous the talent edge they have over just about everybody. It’s time they used it properly. I’m talking JJ and Dunn playing a role from the back and Mewis in the midfield too. The right girls on the pitch and this team is untouchable.

  • vert2013

    Tobin Heath plays for Portland not Seattle, Rapinoe is who plays for Seattle.

    • Gah, accidentally swapped our Northwest team players on loan in France.

      • vert2013

        crazier things have happened haha

  • C

    What hint did FCKC drop about a tv deal?

    • Steglitz49

      Hear hear!

      The TV deal is the bit of the news that matters. This is the only thing that counts. As for the rest, the NWSL should follow FIFA directives and only invent their own rules in areas where local discretion is allowed.

      “The league will play a single table with the top four clubs qualifying for playoffs which will go as a straight knockout .” The CL in Europe is a giant play-off for the top 2 finishers in the various domestic leagues the previous season. Once the north-American league system matures and consists of 8 or, possibly, 16 regional leagues, a CL format will be inevitable for practical reasons.

      Instead of play-offs during the season, Europe and Japan have their domestic cup competitions. Indeed, the FAs of the British isles and the Nordic countries used to enter the winner of their cups as one of the teams to the CL but UEFA stopped this a couple of years ago. This has resulted in a request that there be a ladies’ Cup-winners cup in addition to the CL but so far UEFA have not agreed.

    • Michelle

      I think they simply said that they think the fans will be pleased with what they’ve come up with, or something along those lines. It was a vague statement and to me leaned towards the streaming option, not broadcast. At least the inaugural match should be televised. I’m not expecting every single game on broadcast tv (hello, expensive) but one per week doesn’t seem like too much to ask for.

  • I think the league should have a “make good” policy. Something like 3 or 4 games? I’m not sure how other leagues do this though. Whatever is tried and true is probably best.

    • StarCityFan

      I believe both WPS and the WUSA would clear a player’s record if they played in four straight games without a card.

  • TsovLoj

    You know, I’d bet it’s Fox Soccer that ends up airing NWSL. They’re losing the rights to EPL, can’t show MLS… what are they going to show, Bundesliga, Liga MX? Maybe SPL if they consolidate it with Fox Soccer Plus? Assuming they don’t kill the channel, which certainly is not guaranteed, NWSL would be a low-cost tourniquet they could use.

    • Steglitz49

      More power to their elbow if they do. The NWSL should be cracking good games to watch. Next year the ladies U-20 WC will be in Canada so in the US’s time-zone (plus the men’s WC, of course) and then the ladies’ adult WC and then the Olympics in Rio. This is the time to buy into ladies’ soccer — and if it is cheap, even better.

      Whoever buys the rights, the NWSL has to deliver.

    • randomhookup

      Fox Soccer is going away, to be merged into its national sports brand “Fox Sports 1.” At least that’s the plan:

      Doesn’t mean they won’t carry some soccer, but it won’t be as critical.

      • TsovLoj

        Huh. Good to know.

  • luke

    very happy about subs regulations – no experiments, fifa rules, that’s how pro league should look like imho

  • Steglitz49

    There is a fascinatingly perceptive analysis of the Algarve cup on the WSU site by a Ken Suzuki, who has drilled deep into the core of the 3 teams top in the FIFA rankings (USA, Ger and Jap). It is well worth a read.

    • Link?

      • Steglitz49

        The writer’s main point seems to be that the USWNT is prepared to sacrifice a lot to win the Algarve cup. The cup as an extension of the Fans Celebration Tour. Flattering for an event that started out as a set of friendlies between the Nordic countries having winter-training in Portugal!

        The author notes that the mean ages are 27.4, 24.7 and 24.0 years for USA, Ger and Jap, respectively, and that the mean number of full caps are 68, 35 and 20, giving a senior team and two junior teams. This impression is reinforced by the number of players included who played in the last WC &/or OG: 16 v 12 v 9.

        A most interesting observations is that the average height of the Japanese players selected is 5 cm (2 inches) more than in London (168 vs 163 cm). My immediate connection is to Barcelona which have no tall players in their attack and who play a style of game similar to the Nadeshiko (though that could be art imitating reality).

        • I found the article. It’s the averages.

          The mean age would probably be much lower (at least for the US).

          The caps is probably the most concerning though (although I guess that goes with the age difference two). Having double the caps kind of tells me that the US isn’t keeping up very well with the competition. Although I don’t think that is a shocking revelation. Of course the very valid argument could be made that you could throw 1 or 2 imaginary “better” teams in between the US and Japan to create more parity in these numbers.

          What really is interesting is how many players were in the U-20 teams last year, but I don’t think these numbers will really play out until the next World Cup. Germany is clearly putting more effort into bringing up their youth players with 6 vs 1 and 2. However just because you are brought up doesn’t mean you deserve that spot. I also suspect that the US will at least seriously evaluate bringing up more players in the coming months (which is why we need more time for this aspect to play out). Keeping in mind we have a coach who tomorrow will be finishing his first 1 months of service with us. That’s 2 of probably 48-60ish months he will serve for perspective.

          • Steglitz49

            The current FIFA rankings are: USA 2209, Ger 2171, Jap 2110, Bra 2044, Fra 2033, Swe 2021 and Can 2006. France and Canada play in the Cyprus cup. Mexico play in Algarve but in Group C.

            Japan are world champions and Olympic silver and played in the last Algarve final where they lost 3-4 to Germany in a thrilling match. Germany were not in the OG. USA were runners-up in the WC and have Olympic goal. They lost to Japan in the last Algarve cup. The author could have added Sweden but maybe had difficulty finding the statistics.

            Let’s see how the Algarve cup plays out. It will be fascinating.

      • StarCityFan

        Article is here:

        The USWNT has come into (deserved, I think) criticism over the years for focusing too much on winning as many games as possible and too little on developing younger players. Now would be the ideal time to take a young team to a significant tournament and see what they could do, but it appears that Sermanni is following USWNT tradition.