Mexico no longer allocating players to NWSL

Jeff Kassouf January 11, 2016 26
Mexico midfielder Veronica Perez has left NWSL to sign for Swedish club KIF Örebro. Mexico is no longer funding NWSL salaries. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Mexico midfielder Veronica Perez has left NWSL to sign for Swedish club KIF Örebro. Mexico is no longer funding NWSL salaries. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Mexico will not continue funding national team players’ salaries in the National Women’s Soccer League, a source familiar with the situation tells The Equalizer.

Team-by-team NWSL allocations are expected to be announced as soon as Monday. In the first three seasons of the NWSL, the U.S., Mexican and Canadian federations funded the salaries of their national team players in the league, but Mexico has wavered in its commitment to continuing to fund player salaries in the future, in part citing the lack of playing time Mexico players received from their NWSL teams.

Not a single player who played for the Mexico women’s national team in 2015 played a single minute in the NWSL in 2015. None of the four players allocated by Mexico in 2015 – Monica Ocampo (Sky Blue), Veronica Perez (Washington), Arianna Romero (Washington) and Bianca Sierra (Boston) – played a minute in the NWSL in 2015. Much of this had to do with Mexico bringing its full squad to both the World Cup and the Pan Am Games, which took place right after the World Cup, in July.

Even as late as August there wasn’t much clarity as to whether or not the four allocated Mexico players would be reporting to their teams, who would have to clear roster space for them in the homestretch of the regular season.

And the allocation of four players was half of the announced eight league-wide subsidized Mexico players for the 2014 season. Initial league plans in 2013 called for the allocation of 16 Mexico players, but not all of them stayed with their teams.

[MORE: Lloyd, Sauerbrunn named new captains of U.S. national team]

Now, Mexico will no longer pay the salaries of players who are in the NWSL, but it does not rule out Mexico players participating in the league should they make a roster. On Sunday it was announced that Perez, one of Mexico’s best players, signed with Swedish side KIF Örebro, which last week also announced the signing of Canada forward Melissa Tancredi.

Mexico coach Leo Cuellar told The Equalizer in September that NWSL coaches did not contact him after the Pan Am Games regarding their players, but he didn’t blame NWSL coaches. Instead, he challenged his players to be good enough to make NWSL rosters.

“The clubs are not at fault,” he said as the third NWSL regular season ended. “I think we need to challenge our players to be on the level [of the NWSL].” Cuellar went on to say that “constantly we have to start from zero again” as a national team with irregular training and not enough players earning significant playing time with clubs.

A recently announced women’s league in Mexico is a developmental league for younger players and is not a professional league.

Mexico begins training camp this week ahead of CONCACAF Olympic qualifying. Canada and the U.S. are favorites to earn the two regional berths to the 2016 Rio Olympics, but Mexico will hope to pull an upset. Even getting out of the group could be tough, however. Group A features Costa Rica, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the U.S. and only the top two teams advance to the semifinals.

  • sandrae gunter

    well Great maybe US soccer can get Australia or a committed Caribbean federation to allocate some players to help there development

    • Terry Lash

      There already is a good informal relationship between the US and Australia with players participating in both leagues. Perhaps this informal exchange of players should be formalized, but would there be extra benefit by having the Australian WNT paying some of its players to participate in the NWSL. I doubt it.

      • Rdalford

        Current arrangement where Australian players get paid their NWSL salaries by clubs on top of base contract pay from federation works better for Australian players. The recently negotiated players union agreement with Australian federation established base contract amounts for WNT players but then enables them to earn additional money from clubs (w-league, NWSL etc).

        • Lorehead

          You seem to be thinking of a scenario where their clubs stop paying for them, but their federation doesn’t chip in any more money, meaning they get a pay cut?

      • Lorehead

        Waiving the international-slot requirement would be good for them.

        • Terry Lash

          Agree. And, Rdalford’s comment is astute, also.

  • AlexH

    I hope that not allocating players to the NWSL doesn’t constitute a retreat from woso. The Mexican federation has money so hopefully they will support the gals in some other way.

  • newsouth

    allocate costa rican players stead.

    • Movement

      ~~~~ word ~~~~
      would rather have Costa Rica players
      Great thought

    • Costa del Sol

      Small country, but they have some great women ballers.

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  • Nicole C.

    This is unfortunate but not a surprise. If the league is looking towards replacing Mexico, hopefully Australia is considered.

  • Rdalford

    For Mexican WNT players that do not have dual/or USA citizenship making a NWSL roster now requires teams to use intl slot and pay salary so playing in Europe may offer more opportunities. The us born or dual citizenship Mex WNT players who are good enough to make NWSL rosters (and don’t have intl slot limitation) may still play in NWSL but expect they may also at least consider their options in Europe.

    • Anson

      Good move by Mexico! The Mexican players need to go to a league where they can play a full 90 minutes to develop their game.
      I would like to see CONCACAF develop a Women’s League and the Winner would play the Winner of the NWSL!

      • Tikitaka

        The catch 22 is they need to be good enough to play a full 90. I think best case scenario for Mexico is to form a residency camp for the NT in April. Hopefully that would prepare them for the OG Qualifiers and if they don’t make it, at least their players will be getting better and they can form some type of system

        • Rdalford

          Mexico tried the residency approach last year in prep for WC but somewhat mixed results.
          There are already some Mexican WNT players signing up to play for teams in Europe. They like all players need to play on regular basis to develop. The Mexican federation has not consistently provided $$ for WNT.
          My guess is the Mexican players (like most players) will go to teams where they are more likely to play on a regular basis and be paid – so some to Europe while others (us or dual citizens) may try NWSL.

  • HOFCToDi

    Mexico could afford a women’s league especially since Mexico can afford to go through 17 head coaches in 17 years for the Mexico Men’s National Football Team.

  • Lorehead

    The FMF had more or less drifted into irrelevance well before this, but it’s too bad this didn’t work out for them. It would be nice to see their team get better.

  • JLC25

    Understand why this is happening, but no conversation about each NWSL team’s financials? I assumed they put in their budget line items in the “plus” column for funding coming in from Mex fed – even if it was to just subsidize their last player on the bench. Although I’m sure they’ve changed their projections by now, at the end of Yr 3., but it still makes me concerned that without this funding coming in, and who knows how many teams will have Canadian allocations, how will this impact the financials per team? Is it realistic for teams to just rely on the US Federation allocation funds for viability?
    Having NO insight into these teams financials, and only being a concerned fan due to the last attempts at a league, just wondering/worrying??

    • guest

      Only 4 Mexican players were allocated last (2015) year and with Mexico holding all WNT players out until mid August, none of the 4 actually played in NWSL since teams had already made other roster decisions by mid August. So the NWSL teams already operated financially last year without the Mexican players and paid other players to fill those roster spots. Do not think having no Mexican allocations will have any significant financial impact on NWSL teams.

  • Tikitaka

    Hopefully more teams in CONCACAF fill the void. I think this could be a good way to make the qualifying region stronger.

  • brdn08

    This article is irrelevant. None of Mexico’s players are good enought to play significant minutes in the NWSL.

    • GT

      Disagree. Ocampo scored 8 goals in 900 minutes for Sky Blue in 2013. The highest goals/minute in the league that year. Also I thought Romero (who is American) did an excellent job for the Houston Dash in 2014 at RB. I can’t speak to any of the others since I haven’t seen enough of them.

      • lack of talent

        There’s a reason you haven’t seen them.

        • Lorehead

          It’s largely that Mexico pulled them out of the NWSL until after the Pan Am Games.

  • john

    Did Mexico just retire a bunch of players? Or will they have to train on their own? There is not going to be much interest in Mexican players from anywhere. Perez is an exception, not the rule. Imo this is a step back for Mexican/ CONCACAF woso. Furthermore, American woso loses when CONCACAF loses.