After USWNT victory, what now for NWSL?

Jeff Kassouf July 8, 2015 122
Getty Images

Getty Images

Hello there. So you just fell in love with the United States women’s national team, champions of the world once again after throttling previous champions Japan in Sunday’s Women’s World Cup final, 5-2.

The United States women’s national team is, now officially, the most storied program in its sport. Sunday’s World Cup title was the country’s third, the most among any nation. Germany won twice, in 2007 and 2011, and Japan was aiming to become the third team to win two title but fell quite a distance short.

The Americans also own the Olympics. They’ve won four of the five all-time gold medals in the competition, including three straight.

And Carli Lloyd? Well, Carli Lloyd is no stranger to big-time goals, although that one from midfield on Sunday to complete her 16-minute hat trick was something else. Lloyd scored the game-winning goal in the 2008 and 2012 gold-medal games, the only man or woman to ever seal the deal in back-to-back Olympic gold medal games.

[KASSOUF: Lloyd proves she’s the World Cup hero she knew she would be]

By now, you’ve seen that these women, despite being historically dominant and the best at what they do, do not get paid nearly as much as their male counterparts.

It’s true, the United States Soccer federation will receive $2 million for its Women’s World Cup victory. Last year, Germany received $35 million for winning the men’s World Cup. The U.S. received $9 million for the men’s national team reaching the round of 16 at last year’s World Cup.

What’s more, the U.S. players on an individual level don’t make as much as men’s players. A recent financial report, required by law for U.S. Soccer, revealed that the best-paid women’s player was forward Alex Morgan, who made $282,564 between April 2012 and March 2013 (which was before the new collective bargaining agreement was signed).

Most of the money the women’s players make comes through endorsements, especially from apparel companies like Nike.

[MORE: Will Wambach retire? Ellis faces Olympics questions  |  Holiday retiring]

Furthermore, the reality is that these players all (except Abby Wambach, sort of) play in the National Women’s Soccer League, a nine-team domestic league in its third season of existence, trying to thrive on tighter budgets than those that saw its two predecessors fold after three seasons each.

As I first reported, the current minimum salary in the NWSL is $6,842, with the maximum salary coming in at $37,800 for the April-October season. The numbers aren’t pretty, and they don’t even factor in the use of amateur players, who get paid nothing beyond the coverage of basic expenses so that they maintain their amateur status. Amateur players have been heavily relied upon this season due to the extended absences of U.S. and other national team players.

The total salary cap is $265,000 for the 20-player active professional roster for each team.

Yes, those numbers are scary, but they are more realistic. The Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) burned through $100 million from 2001-2003 while riding the coattails of the United States’ 1999 Women’s World Cup victory. Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) lost a fraction of that but still couldn’t survive on seven-figure budgets.

So NWSL was born following the 2012 Olympics. This league is backed by the U.S. Soccer Federation and its purpose is to both give players a sustainable league and, most importantly to the federation, give national team players a weekly place to play at the highest level.

[KASSOUF: The deleted text, motivational email that predicted Lloyd’s hat trick]

Attendance is as humble as salaries in the league. The NWSL averaged 4,121 fans per game for its nine teams in 2014, but the number is significantly skewed by the anomaly that is Portland Thorns FC, which averages over 13,000 fans per game. The next-closest draw, the Houston Dash — also backed by an MLS team — drew 4,539 fans per game.

Average league attendance was down slightly from 2013, the league’s inaugural season.

Teams hope that this World Cup title claimed by the United States, and the attention being given to it by more casual fans, brings more attention to the league. Saturday’s Seattle Reign FC game is expected to be a sellout of over 6,000 fans. The Houston Dash — home to Lloyd, the hat trick hero of the World Cup final — opened the upper bowl of BBVA Compass Stadium to account for the swell in ticket sales.

It’s unclear if any U.S. players will participate in this weekend’s league games, but having spent the month with the team and spoken with players after the match and the day following, I’d unofficially put the answer at doubtful. The U.S. women will be in New York on Friday for a historic parade, the first put on by the City of New York for female athletes since 1960.

If you can’t get enough of what you saw in June and July, the NWSL is for you. Like any league, there will be great games and duds, superstars and players who aren’t as up to the grade, good refs and bad — everything you might expect. You can watch all the games on YouTube, and some of them on Fox Sports 1. The league is home to some of the best players in the world who you otherwise, unfortunately, won’t see on the world stage with their national teams — Seattle’s Kim Little and Jess Fishlock among them.

The league is now tasked with trying to keep folks like yourself around and interested for longer than just a week. I was in Rochester, N.Y., in 2011 when the city was shut down in the days following the 2011 World Cup — the U.S. lost to Japan in the final — and some 15,000 fans showed up to Sahlen’s Stadium to watch the Western New York Flash — with Morgan, Marta and Christine Sinclair — play the now defunct magicJack and hometown hero Wambach. The usual crowds hovered around 2,000 fans per game (they still do today).

And if you’re new to this site, welcome. We cover the United States, Canada and all of world soccer, as you’ve probably ascertained by now. But we also cover the NWSL on the daily, with beat writers across North America. Give the league a look and see if you like it, and do the same with this website. The message from us is the same as that from the league:

Welcome, we’re here all the time.

  • Ethan

    Germany won twice in 2003 and 2007.

    Let’s hope this World Cup helps to keep NWSL in existence past its third year.

    • Tae

      Any warning signs that the league might fail? Thought they were doing everything right this time around.

      • Ethan

        Sorry. I was just making a reference to past histories. My fault.

        • Guest

          Portland and Houston, because of their MLS ownership, have the infrastructure that is necessary. With more MLS owners getting involved, the league would have a better opportunity to grow and expand much faster. While there is this great opportunity for the NWSL teams to increase their attendance because of the WNT WC victory , the problem is that too many of the teams are limited due to small stadiums. Portland and Houston, on the otherhand, are ready to handle the increased numbers. At Houston’s home game on Sunday, they are expecting around 12,000, while Portland’s home game, a week from Sunday, and the first game of the season to be televised by FOX, is expected to be a sell-out. I believe their capacity is 20,000.

          • Ethan

            Agreed.

          • Lorehead

            The full capacity of Providence Park is 21,144. Up until now, some sections of the stadium have been tarped over when the women play, but it looks as if they’re opening the whole thing against Seattle on July 22nd and might get a true sellout.

      • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

        That’s sort of the problem. The league is built not to fail, but I don’t think they have the infrastructure to succeed.

        • STT

          Such as?

          • Lorehead

            It seems to me that the way forward is going to start with ticket sales going up to the point when the players feel they should be getting a better deal, then forming a union and negotiating a better CBA. That’s what happened in every other league that turned profitable.

          • Steglitz49

            If NWSL matches are now played without the WC players, it will damage the NWSL.

            It would be a huge own goal if WC players don’t play when there are reports that huge crowds are buying tickets for the next match. People will be royally pissed off. Once bitten, twice shy.

            This is a marketing nightmare.

          • Lorehead

            Broadcasters in Boston just said a number of NWSL games are being rescheduled to allow the USWNT players to be there.

          • Tae

            I’m confused how does that make a league more profitable? It raises salaries and other personnel related expenses and reduces club profits. Dan opines in the Lowdown piece that NWSL should lower ticket prices doesn’t he?

          • Lorehead

            I think you might have read me as saying ticket prices, instead of ticket sales? As for ticket prices, the Thorns seem to be priced about right, but FCKC doubling the price when it moved to a smaller venue didn’t work out well. Most other teams seem to have to give away a lot of tickets.

          • Tae

            Oh lol that makes more sense. Kinda begs the question though. The issue is how to sell more tix. I’m at a loss. The product is great, league gets notice through USWNT and its high tv and media profile. What more can they do?

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Well we know that strict salary cap is done to keep the league for going under. Yet there are things like the USWNT allocations, the summer schedule and the inconsistent signing rules that makes it a marketing nightmare.

            The NWSL is like the MLS where they can’t deal with trying to make a proper, socialist American system work with an abusive, free market European system.

          • dw

            Perfect answer. The whole allocation system sucks (the lack of balance, the “forced” trades, the pseudo-Mexican and Canadian involvement). The schedule sucks. The soccer is pretty good though. Oh, and the single entity owner sucks too.

        • Tae

          Any thoughts on a few things they could do?

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Here’s one solution on who I think should be the league sponsor:

            http://boards.sportslogos.net/topic/102728-national-womens-soccer-league-concepts/

            I address why after my Seattle Reign post.

          • Tae

            Chromecast? Sure, but let’s get more companies on board too. Companies like Apple could so easily do some deals that would hugely help these clubs and not even realize they’ve spent the money. Never mind the traditional marketing dept analysis, not asking for LeBron money here. Do it for our mothers, our sisters, our daughters. Girls who play sports are this much less likely to get pregnant, do drugs, or drop out.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Chromecast is technology created by Google that augments your experience with YouTube that carries the NWSL and other live broadcasts. This deal is using the Google as an incubator to create a women’s soccer (not just the USWNT) fanbase.

            Remember, Breaking Bad was not a popular show until its last two seasons on-air. Vince Gillian credits the on-line community (first piracy, then Netflix) for the show’s later success. Yeah, the NWSL has always been online, but it operates way too independently for a small league that should be easy to control.

            As for other sponsors, I am not calling for their exclusion but as the article states the WUSA frittered away $100 million within 3 years. Throwing money at the league has proven not to work. (I have a triple solution though; but it is too long-winded to share now).

            Look, the league ultimately the needs a stronger TV deal to get respectable wages but they need to use the internet and Millennials to display their viability.

          • StarCityFan

            WUSA had very poor budgeting. If instead of going hog-wild they’d kept expenses anywhere close to the WPS level, they would have lasted way longer.

        • Craigaroo

          Having the infrastructure to succeed meant first and foremost being built to make it through Years 3 (World Cup) and 4 (Olympics) and getting a bump from those events. Here we are and the league is starting to see that bump. Now it won’t be a straight line to the successful league we’re hoping for but this is big, it sets the stage for future growth 5 to 10 years down the road.

      • STT

        No, no signs of failure yet, unless you simply don’t like the attendance numbers.
        At this point in the previous two years, it was painfully clear they were struggling – WUSA was hemmoraging money, and WPS was slowly but surely contracting while also having to deal with a rogue owner. NWSL teams are generally in the red but none apparently dangerously so (with Portland profitable, a first for WoSo, and several other teams nearly break-even); the league has also expanded (something neither league before successfully did).

        • Terry Lash

          Is there any information about the commitment of US Soccer to NWSL after the Olympic Games? Continued funding of WNT players in the league is critical for its future.

  • Pete

    Saw a great suggestion posted by someone else in another place on this site – which is to have US Soccer set up one of the up coming Victory Tour games having the US National Team playing an All-Star Team made up of other NWSL players – instead of a tomato can team. I think this is a great idea. Think of the publicity such a game would give the League; as well as showcasing many of our upcoming players!! And, it would be a more enjoyable evenly played match to watch on TV or to attend! I don’t recall where or who posted the suggestion on this site but it is a great one!! Hope US Soccer and the League consider such a game.

    • Jake

      Nice idea. Why not play the game at a home arena of a NWSL team? Whichever has the largest capacity, probably Portland or Houston. Should be a sell out in any case. I would think that Fox Sports who is contracted to show several NWSL games would love to feature it.

      • ARED

        That would be good, but it might be a good chance to:

        1) Put a game in one of the many markets without a team, allowing isolated fans to connect to the league.

        2) Play on grass!! ; )

        Or, just play twice. It’s not like they’d likely be bumping any stellar matchups, and they’re already playing Costa Rica twice, no?

        • Steglitz49

          They could always play Denmark, Iceland, the Faeroe Islands (that one should bring the crowds out simply on account of the name) and, more seriously Poland, Czech Republic and Norway.

          • Lorehead

            Spain and Argentina. Great brand name because of the men’s team, but not a very good women’s team. Or American crowds would probably like to see a rout of China or Russia on the football field, because it’s not as if we can do that in the real world.

          • ARED

            Yeah, there should be several teams willing to come -if their federations will charter a flight….lol. But these matches are likely to draw bigger crowds/revenue than you’ll see at any normal lower-tier Euro friendlies.

            But, if you have 10 matches, I think you can spend 2 on NWSL without losing anything. I like Costa Rica, and I enjoy watching them play, but I’m not sure they get anyone excited to buy tickets, or even to watch the same match play out twice in a row. Esp since they’re just friendlies.

          • Steglitz49

            Most federations apart from Norway, Europe’s oilrich nation, and the wealthy FAs of England, France, Germany, Spain and Italy, have the money. Why do you think the Algarve has kept going, now joined by cups in Cyprus and Istria?

    • Keithustus

      8-0, 10-0 or so but still fun.

      • mockmook

        I don’t think the NWSL players would beat them quite that badly.

        • Keithustus

          If the NSWL all-stars got to play a few games together, sure, they would do fine. But just dropping them in against a championship team is like Germany vs. Ivory Coast. Uncoordinated great players are still great players but they won’t perform as a unit well at all, which is absolutely necessary at that level of play. Many momentary instances of individual brilliance won’t make up for USWNT punishing them for every mistake of hesitation, miscommunication, and being out of sync.

          There aren’t a lot of environments to see this effect–organized teams vs pick-up groups of good players–and none I can think of in mainstream sports, so it’s tempting to think the impact would be small until you’ve seen or experienced it personally.

          • mockmook

            They could play the Seattle Reign — near best in the league, minimal impact from missing WWC players.

            Sure, it wouldn’t be fair to other NWSL teams, but it would be great publicity for the league. And, they would be playing a very good cohesive unit.

            My original thought was to play a few NWSL teams — I don’t see how they can put 10 good International Friendlies together in such a short time (actually I’m not sure how long this victory tour is supposed to last)

          • StarCityFan

            The WPS All-Stars beat Umeå IK, 4-2, back in 2009, though obviously Umeå is a less formidable opponent than the USWNT.

          • David K Anderson

            That would be the key: a chance for the non-USWNT team to start playing coordinated team football. But if that were to happen, the game would be no cakewalk for the Nats. There are a lot of world-class players in the NWSL who are not on the USWNT World Cup squad: Sinclair, Little, McLeod, Angerer, Fishlock, Dunn, Kerr, De Vanna, Catley, Winters, Garafrekes, Erceg, etc. Vero and Kawasumi, if they should return soon.

            I’d certainly shell out the cash to see that game…

          • Rufan

            Who is going to pay these players?

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            The USWNT in the guise of the NWSL All-Stars (wearing their team jerseys with a US flag armband) vs. the Frauen Bundesliga All-Stars, D1 Feminine All-Stars , and the WSL All-Stars would be a more balanced venture.

          • If the goal is to create support for the league, I think the USWNT vs NWSL All-Stars would be the way to go. Otherwise, casual fans would still just see US vs whatever international league – they wouldn’t see them as NWSL players.

            For just the support of WoWo, I would love to see the league champs from Budesliga, D1, W-League, whereever compete against the reigning NWSL champs.

          • Guest

            I think it is more likely that the USWNT would treat this as an exhibition an not go out there looking to smash the NWSL All-Stars.

      • ARED

        Not so sure, a lot of good players from non-WC nations. And, the US team presumably would be playing everyone, watering them down a bit from their Japan form. Group-stage USA would probably win 1-0. On a penalty. ; )

        Or, just take a page from every team’s practice matches and put Solo in the opposite goal…lol.

    • ARED

      Very good idea -and for the sake of all that is holy, let them play on grass!

      (Nowhere near enough interesting opponents to bring in, so you might as well make your own and turn it into a promo for your own league).

    • Rufan

      The Victory tour is just a means for extra bonus pay, nothing else. The players show up the day before each game.

  • justsomeguy

    when are uswnt players returning to their nwsl clubs

    • Lorehead

      For the Thorns, it will be after the 11th but before the 22nd. For the other teams, check their tweets, but probably, next week.

  • Lorehead

    In other news, the San Jose Quakes are considering starting an expansion team. The success of the Dash is going to be very important to make the other MLS teams give it a shot.

    • Tae

      That’s just up the road from me. I’d stay a Dash supporter though. I would attend many matches for sure and buy lots of kit, club would have my full support financially, I would definitely be a STH, just probably can’t attend every match.
      Almost $300k for USWNT players in tournament years. Nice payouts. Not as much as they deserve but still nice. Brunn at #2 in payout is surprising, as is Rampone at #3. I would have thought Alex Morgan would make more than $1 million a year with endorsements though.

      • Lorehead

        I think that’s a reference to the payouts after the 2012 Olympics. I don’t believe the current CBA has been made public except for the coach’s salary, and if it has been, I’d be curious to read it. But we’ll find out how much the women made on next year’s IRS disclosures.

        • Tae

          Should be a lot more than OG money right? $2 million for WC, dunno what OG bonus is but it can’t be that much. Men getting $9 million for shanking a sitter v Belgium is not right if the ladies get $2 for winning it all. Imho FIFA should pool all the money and it should be distributed to mens and womens sides a bit more equitably. I know they’d say men generate far more money, but it’s not like South Korea generate as much as Spain, but they are entitled to the same money depending on performance.

          • Lorehead

            I’m not going to stand on the principle that female soccer players should always make as much as male soccer players no matter what, but the fact is that the Women’s World Cup final just got more viewers in the U.S. than any soccer game in history, the World Series, or the NBA finals. That’s some serious money it just made. So that excuse is really not going to fly.

          • Tae

            Yeah. I’m not saying it should be equal either, just, not as egregious as $35 mill for men winners, $2 mill for women. Fact is, nations are involved in this, with FIFA getting a ton of money from tax exemptions, broadcasting rights on airwaves that belong to the public, and what not. And that should mean some attempt at a little more fairness.

          • Steglitz49

            Firstly, you need to compare the income at the gate and from concessions for the matches. Judging by ticket prizes alone, the difference is huge, and that is before you start counting the people at the matches.

            Secondly, to buy the broadcasting rights for the men’s WC, the networks had not only to buy the women’s WC but also agree to show at least some of the matches.
            — if you wanted you could stay up in the early hours in Europe and watch live. I doubt if many did. The global audience for the final is probably trivial outside the US and Japan.

            We read elsewhere that the US women players will not play for their NWSL teams immediately. What nonsense is this? Get real!

          • Tae

            I’m just saying governments could and should apply more pressure for better treatment of the women’s side. Tell FIFA, you want license to strike deals with our media companies and our merchandise vendors, and you want tax exemption for FIFA earnings? Then you have to give more to the ladies. FIFA would have to say yes.

          • Steglitz49

            The governments have done in several countries. Engalnd and France are good examples. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has done more than her bit for WoSo not just in Germany but worldwide.

            Maybe Obama will attend this years NWSL final?

          • Steglitz49

            USSoccer can do what they think is meet and right. That is up to them.

            As I typed to Tae, a 1% tax on the men to the women will fly, a 3% will be accepted with some grumbling but 5% looks unrealistic as thing stands.

          • mockmook

            Yes, serious money.

            But, if you compare viewership worldwide, the men are still quite dominant.

          • Steglitz49

            The women’s world cup was only shown in many countries because FIFA made a package deal with the men’s. To get to broadcast the men’s world cup, they not only had to buy the women’s cup but also agree to show a number of the matches.

            A tax on the men’s game in simple words.

          • ARED

            But at least it’s a tax that you can see what the money is used for. ; p

          • Guest

            One of the main reason’s the Women’s World Cup final got more viewers in the U.S. can be attributed, in a large part, to Title 9. For those not up on Title 9, it was enacted in 1972.

            Overview of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
            Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. The principal objective of Title IX is to avoid the use of federal money to support sex discrimination in education programs. Title IX applies, with a few specific exceptions, to all aspects of federally funded education programs or activities. In addition to traditional educational institutions such as colleges, universities, and elementary and secondary schools,
            It’s greatest impact has been in college athletics and centers around scholarships. Simply put, women are entitled to the same number as men.. Since American football is the big moneymaker and requires a large number of scholarships, it has required many schools to eliminate some of their men’s teams, in order to accommodate more women’s teams to make up the difference in scholarships. it has allowed women’s sports to grow while forcing colleges to have to cut back on other men’s programs. Men’s soccer at the college level was one of the casualties for some schools, while women’s soccer was allowed to grow and expand at almost nevery school. All this has filtered down to the youth levels where more and more young girls began playing sports, which brings us back to why the viewership for women’s soccer in the U.S. has grown like it has.
            Where does a lot of the money come from in the colleges? The moneymaker, Football. I guess you could call it a tax in some way, since it helps to pay for a lot of the non-profit sports.

          • Steglitz49

            Signed into law by Richard Nixon! It was steered through congress by a bipartisan collaboration.

          • Tae

            I remember Bush tried to gut Title IX. Foudy was on the commission and he tried to sneak something through when she was on the other side of the world and she made that dramatic red eye flight back to DC and made a passionate speech to the press and politicians to beat that effort back. That’s when I thought, she should be in politics.

          • AlexH

            The thing to remember about the ratings is that the WC gets its money by selling the sport WORLDWIDE and the worldwide ratings are probably 10 times as great for the men as for the women. Additionally the big rating for woso was almost certainly due to the fact that the USA went all the way whereas the men get good ratings no matter who wins. I’m sure that woso will players get more prize money next go round but it would be delusional to think that it will / should be anywhere near parity.

          • Steglitz49

            Unrealistic.

            Judging by Europe, fans of the men’s game accept a 1% tax to subsidize the ladies. Most seem to be prepared to consider 3% but few will tolerate a 5% tax.

            Even FIFA would not be able to wheel and deal to pass too much money to the ladies. FIFA forced the networks to buy and show the women’s world cup but I doubt that the European broadcasters were pleased with the kick-off times of some of the matches.

          • guest

            You’re putting the cart before the horse. The reality is men make more than the women because men generate more revenue. Of course, we could go the socialist route and give everyone an equal slice of the pie no matter what revenue they generate, in which case I will be awaiting my first check.

          • Tae

            But like I said, it’s not like men’s sides generate revenue equally. But the money distribution is neutral and depends only on where they place. And if you’re going to take money that Spain generates and give it to South Korea, you can give a bit of that money to the ladies.

    • Steglitz49

      “Do you know the way to San Jose?”

      • Lorehead

        “From San Francisco, drive southeast until you can afford an apartment.”

        • Anna

          Gotta go way East. San Jose is almost up with SF now in cost.

          • Lorehead

            In that case, drive north on 101 until you can’t afford one?

    • Anna

      That would be fantastic! I live in the Bay Area. I have wondered why there are no NWSL teams in California. With nearly 40MM people, you would think the market is a lot larger here than in a place like Portland. Of course, we do have Stanford, Cal, and Santa Clara, but it’s not the same.

    • Craigaroo

      After reading what San Jose’s president, Dave Koval, had to say, I would write off San Jose as a potential franchise. Too half-hearted, wants too much of a sure thing to be right for the league. When you read his comments, keep in mind this may be before the World Cup but it’s still after they sold out a national team game at their stadium, after seeing other stadiums sell out theirs, and knowing there are several other cities that want in.Quote: “but we also want to make sure that if it’s done it’s done right and if
      the league is in a position and is solid enough to be successful” I don’t think we need an owner like this. I would strongly advise against San Jose at this point.

  • nwslfan

    Jeff- really enjoyed your piece on the email. Tx

  • Justin Charles

    Hello,

    I
    admin for the largest NWSL fan group on Facebook (National Women’s
    Soccer League Supporters). It’s a public group that recently turned 1
    year old. We’ve got tons of passionate fans from all over the world
    (over 6,000) who regularly follow and discuss developments in the
    league. We also post official match threads of NWSL streams to
    facilitate in group discussion during play.

    Please come check it out!

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/NWSLSupporters/

  • GT

    I think the NT players should definitely play in the Saturday game at Sky Blue and the Sunday game in Houston. They’re in NYC tomorrow for the ticker-tape parade. Sky Blue plays a half an hour away in New Jersey. All of these new fans are coming to see the players play, not waive at them. The game in Boston today is out of the question and the Saturday night game in Seattle is also not very practical. You only have one chance to make a first impression.

    • Lisa

      I think the main issue is that the NWSL teams are being a bit misleading with these homecoming styled games. This weekend is certainly too soon for the WC players to return to league play, especially after a media frenzy week (and Reign players getting back from NY less than a day before). But .. they’ve certainly managed to get serious tickets sales, so that’s good (except I’ll no longer be able to stretch out my legs, alas). I just hope people aren’t disappointed when Pinoe and Solo aren’t playing (and surely Leroux won’t travel to Seattle just to wave).

      • Steglitz49

        I fear it could be a marketing own-goal. Even playing just 15 min would be better than none. The fans will not only be disappointed but trust would be lost.

        In short, the NT players should do their day-job, like the rest of us.

        • Lisa

          well, here’s hoping all these ticket buyers are motivated by watching good soccer and not just idol chasing (it could happen … she tells herself … wistfully). For the Reign’s WC send off game Pinoe & Hope talked a bit to the crowd before the game, then watched from the stands. I’d bet on something similar here. It’s possible that a late Pinoe sub could make sense, but obviously not Solo.

          I’ll find out Saturday! ( honestly the new fans are going to be most disappointed with the bathrooms at Memorial stadium, never mind NT players playing 😛 )

          • Steglitz49

            Toilets, not least adequate numbers for the fairer sex, is a whole story in itself. We can all tell funny and annoying experiences about them.

          • Vertigo

            I fear the bathrooms will scare many a fan away. The “urinal” in the men’s room is a tile wall about 15 feet long with a rusty pipe along the top dripping water.
            My wife tells me the ladies room is equally grim. Broke latches on the doors to the stalls, somewhat less odoriferous than last year, paper towel dispenser empty after half time. bring your own TP to be safe, etc.

        • Terry Lash

          You work?

      • GT

        I don’t think it’s too soon to play, that’s what they do. Media frenzy or not. And I think people are going to be very disappointed.

      • David K Anderson

        Here in Portland, Paul Riley made it clear that the only World Cup player we’ll see v Sky Blue this weekend will be Kaylyn Kyle (who actually played in last Friday’s game…). Steph Catley would play, but she picked up a knock in her last WWC15 match. Clare Polkinghorne is fit, but her visa won’t be ready in time. Nadine Angerer is back in Portland and has been with the team, but is going to take another week recovery from the Cup (and Michelle Betos has made one hell of a statement about her fitness to start). Wilkinson is still a bit banged up, although she may be in the 18 as a reserve. Sinc is taking another week, too. Jodie Taylor is going to be in England until next Monday, I believe. Obviously Morgan and Heath are going to have a lot of promotional duties for a while.

        Yeesh, that’s a lot of WWC players…which is nice, but the downside is evident with the Thorns’ position in the table right now. =/

        • GT

          Promotional duties? How about promoting the NWSL? This is a seminal moment. I hope they don’t blow it. The impression one gets is that the NWSL and their fans are not important enough.

      • Daniel Strick

        You’d think the WC benchwarmers would be anxious for game action, like Chalupny and Press for Chicago, for example.

        • GT

          I would hope they all would be anxious to play and help their team win a championship.

      • GT

        For Carly Lloyd not to play in Houston this Sunday in front of 10,000 plus fans, is just dumb, dumb, dumb. That’s what I call shooting yourself in the foot.

      • Tae

        Just put a Pinoe jersey on Fishlock, the casuals will be fooled.

        • Vertigo

          I’m embarrassed to say that the Reign’s first season while waiting for Pinoe to get back from Europe, I referred to Fishlock as Pho-pino.
          Just didn’t know any better…

  • Calimeesh

    Yes! Thank you! No more petitions about equal pay. More attendance, more sales, a TV deal. That is how we raise salaries.

  • Lorehead

    Wish Danielle Gibbons of Liverpool Ladies a speedy recovery!

  • Steglitz49

    It is the ultimate London tourist dream – croissants with Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, coffee with the Prime Minister, David Cameron, and a visit to the Centre Court at Wimbledon.

    The Lionesses are having a whale of a time being lionized in the capital.

    • smallchief

      I’m reminded of the bumper sticker “I’d rather be playing soccer.”

      Cynicism aside, it’s good that they’re getting attention back in the home country. I suppose tea with the Royals is the price you have to pay to promote your sport.

      • Steglitz49

        Prince William is the President of the FA. He was receiving them in that capacity as well as doing his royal bit. Thus, in his home rather than at Lancaster gate, home of the FA. Good PR all around.

    • Troll Watch

      What do the Lionesses have to do with the NWSL? The English women play in a make-believe league. We’re discussing real world matters here.

      • Steglitz49

        Everything. One gets the impression that defeating the arch-enemy in the bronze match was worth more than losing in the final would have!

        The FA PR machine is in overdrive, pointing out that this is the best result ever of an England senior team on foreign soil. (WC-66 was played in England.)

        The players start playing for their clubs again this weekend. The next big event is the FA Cup final on August 1st between Chelsea Ladies and Notts County Ladies.

        • Troll Watch

          Okay, good luck to the Lionesses, but wrong thread. And say “Hi” to the Queen for me.

          • Steglitz49

            The corgis, I may not get past the corgis.

          • Tae

            It’s not the Queen’s corgis you have to worry about it’s Princess Anne’s Staffordshire terriers, who kill the Queen’s corgis for sport in addition to biting the odd English lad here and there.

          • Steglitz49

            Touché! If I wear my boots, can I show them a trick or too?

          • Tae

            Only if the boots are Wellingtons

          • Steglitz49

            Would they be stout and thick enough?

      • Lezzzzgo

        A few English women play or have played in the NWSL. Hopefully more to come.

        • Tae

          Lucy Bronze and Fran Kirby please.

          • FootballNowAndAlways

            And Fara Williams the “ice cold penalty Queen” as she has been dubbed. Truly, that woman knows how to bury that spot kick.

          • Tae

            I’m a huge fan of Karen Carney also. There is a lot to love about the Lionesses of 2015 for sure.

          • ARED

            Yeah, she and Steph Houghton combined to be the “glue” of this team. Great presence, poise, class, and spirit. Their play doesn’t usually get goals or glory, but this time around they got a bit of both.

  • Miami66

    Read an article that the Breakers are close to selling out their 4,000 tickets for the final four matches. Wonder if any of the teams will try and find standing room or something to go higher.

    Also on Sky Blue FC twitter they said they’ll have a presence in the parade. Maybe a float with their NT’ers on it? Maybe they’ll be selling tickets along the route? They’re just so far away from the area though that even if they get a bump (i’m sure they will), it won’t last like it might for Houston. If they played at like Fordham or something (they have a 7000 seat football stadium – lines, I know, but at least its in a population zone) they’d get a huge boost. I would go. I’m sure there are others places too.

    • Rdalford

      Breakers at 4000 would already include about three hundred standing room only. The Breakers online ticket system show about 3700 seats available for sale. Section 1-5 has 1366 seats, sections 6-13 has 1009 seats, sections 14-19 has 1182, 6 picnic tables 48 seats, 10 sets of on-field seats 100 seats
      (1366+1009+1182+48+100)= 3705 plus xxx standing room to yield 4000
      The Breakers online ticket system is still showing some seats available (mostly in the sections behind the goals)

      • Lorehead

        Maybe they can afford to rent some extra bleachers now?

    • Tae

      Trying to think, which club is least able to market the NTers? Flash?

  • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

    In breaking news- It seems that the NWSL has removed both July 15th games to accommodate for USWNT.

    http://www.bostonbreakerssoccer.com/NEWS/885645.html

    http://www.fckansascity.com/2015/07/09/fc-kansas-city-vs-houston-dash-game-rescheduled-for-july-20/

    Which kind of interesting for Chicago since there cancelled match against Washington has been rescheduled for August 16. Just checking their schedule- these moves seem placed to cut travel cost because Chicago will play Boston after scheduled game against Washington. The other game seems to Chicago 3 game homestand instead of 2.

  • jmclarke

    Capture the adults in the “bump” audience. The adults. Not the kids. The kids are a no-brainer. The adults need to be sold.

    • ARED

      Very true, USA tried a bit too hard and too long to sell their leagues to the soccer mom and dads to bring out the kids once a year to a match, and then wondered why they didn’t have dedicated fans. But what the MLS has done best to grow is sell the league to (young) adults who are eager to support the team year round, buy tickets/merch and tune in on TV.

      WoSo needs as much of that as possible, and is getting it in spots already. One nice thing is that, more and more, the kids who loved soccer are becoming adults, and as they hit 18-35 there are many more outlets to support soccer than there were in the 90’s. And, instead of being weird and a big pain to follow, they are readily available in in many cases -esp TV. Soccer is normal in the US now, and it is popular not just for kids to play, but for anyone to play/follow/etc.

  • ARED

    Of course it would be ideal for all the WC stars to be playing for their NWSL clubs immediately, but I think it is important for all parties to have some vision and good judgement on this.

    1) Judgement -You don’t want to have players playing if they are not ready -physically or mentally. It’s not fair to underestimate the toll taken to win a WC, and a week -or even three -may be warranted, to allow them to come back strong and ready to play out the rest of the season.

    2) Vision -NWSL and US Soccer should be working together to determine the best “rollout” of the players back to the league, and then CLEARLY market this hard to the public. This way you don’t have fans buying tickets for the stars and going home disappointed -but you still will see a boost of willing customers even before they return, and then a second one when they do.

    The worst thing to do is to have half-hearted decisions and messy “rollout”. Think about when Beckham went to LA. It was big, made huge headlines, put the league in the spotlight -but then in reality it was a bit of a letdown. He came at a random time in the middle of the season, and was injured. But MLS sold hard on his “debut”, even though he was too injured to play. So to avoid disappointing, he plays as a sub as much as possible for the first few matches, certainly not playing well or making much impact on the new viewers there to check him out. This lingers and he’s still injured for an extended period until they finally let him rest enough to recover.

    That is what the NWSL doesn’t want. No need to rush, just be smart and upfront with the plan. What fan is going to be upset and decide not to go if you say: “The USA players are all excited to return to their NWSL clubs for the stretch run. They will be given a deserved 3 week rest, but will be back for the games on the weekend of xyz, Get your tickets now, at http://www.pleasesupportourleague.org” ….?

  • VaFan51

    The success of “local” teams in a national league may depend on national media exposure.

    USSoccer, along with independent social media, does a decent job of orchestrating the promotion of players currently on the WNT, but they don’t generate any buzz about up-and-coming players. Typically, America knows about the women on the NT roster, but everyone else in the NWSL is… who?

    Why would a (potential) fan in Boston care that the Chicago Red Stars are coming to town? Sure, they may have heard of Johnston and Press, but who are the rest of those people? How many times in the past few months have we heard a TV commentator declare that “Julie Johnston came out of nowhere”? (Geez, other than being captain of the U20 WC-winning team, NWSL rookie of the year, etc.)

    Since the NWSL is really USSoccer’s baby, the latter should be more active in promoting and marketing NWSL players who are on the WNT horizon. People who are outside the Chicago area, for example, should be excited about Sofia Huerta and Erin Gilliland and Danielle Colaprico and Vanessa DiBernardo, but only national exposure creates that buzz.
    Maybe start with an active effort to make the U-23’s familiar faces and stories to fans. It’s those faces and those stories and, of course, opportunities to see those players play that will widen and deepen the US fan-base.

    • Tae

      Steg made the suggestion that women’s Olympics soccer should be u-23 with 3 over-aged slots, just like the men’s. That would get them significant exposure. You could market it using the 3 over-aged slots for your biggest stars, say Carli Alex and Hope.

      • VaFan51

        The US would never agree to going into a big tournament — the Olympics! — without the basic goal to win it all and damn the development. We are reluctant to even use the Algarve for developmental purposes.
        In a perfect world, the WC would be two years separated from the Olympics, but the men’s WC already has staked out, I guess.

        • Tae

          If winning is the consideration, not the marketing potential of the full USWNT, I think we’d be stronger relative to the others by adopting the u-23 rule. Full USWNT went 16 years without winning the WC, but we won several FIFA U-20s during that time. There’s a lesson there USWNT has steadfastly ignored.

        • tonysocref

          US might not like it. but ultimately the decision about the age group is up to FIFA. Yes FIFA is the one that would have to make the decision on changing the OC to U23 for the women as it has already done with the men.

  • AlexH

    Well I think that its telling that the article just above this one about NWSL midweek preview got 0 comments.

    • Tae

      I have to avert my eyes when it comes to current NWSL news because I watch the games on youtube and I’m always behind. Maybe others here are in that category also.