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Mid-season All-Star Game a change from 2009

The 2010 WPS All-Star Game lies in stark contrast to the 2009 edition that came at the end of the season and featured the best players in Women’s Professional Soccer taking on Umea IK, arguably Sweden’s top club (which suffered a down year in the 2009-2010 European season).  This time around, the game does not feature a foreign opponent, but pits WPS players against each other in the middle of the season.

Implementing the playground pick ’em format is a bold move by WPS and one that I think should generate more publicity then it has received.  It is a creative idea and it is unlike anything else that has been seen in other sports leagues.  However, there are various disadvantages to naming league all-stars when less than half the body of their work for this season has been completed to date.

And of course, the playground pick ’em style is totally different.

When arguing against the mid-season, pick ’em format (which I think are two separate arguments), there are a few key arguing points:

  • Teams have played about ten games.  That is a pretty short amount of time to judge whether somebody is truly an All-Star, but every major sports league other than the NFL conducts mid-season All-Star Games, and we all know how irrelavant the Pro Bowl is.
  • Players are tired.  Everyone is thrilled to be here and they are all having fun, but everyone has also traveled a long way to be in Atlanta for this event.  The fact that it falls on a Wednesday is also tough, because there is no All-Star break.  These teams are playing on the front and back end of this, with FC Gold Pride and Sky Blue FC playing as recently as Sunday and games starting back up again Saturday.

On the plus side:

  • By far, the three major WPS events each year are the draft, the all-star game and the championship.  Breaking those up is smart.  It allows for publicity and a major event at three different points of the season.  It also keeps the all-star game in the summer, which is a much more appealing time of the year than October, which is where the game would fall if it was again after the championship this year.
  • With children out of school, one of the biggest fan demographics has a much better chance at getting to the match.

I want to hear your thoughts, fans.  There are surely many more positives and negatives to this switch to a mid-season all-star game.  What are your thoughts?  Do you prefer the game at the end of the season like last year or in the middle of the season like this year?  Next year it may be impossible to do a mid-season all-star game with the Women’s World Cup.  How about the pick ’em style?  Feel free to wait until after the match Wednesday to comment too.

3 Comments… read them below or post one
Jeff said…
Very good points from both of you. There has to be a break. I can tell you first hand that these players were exhausted and now they are getting right back into things Saturday. I think 34 All-Stars in such a small league is also too many. Separating the championship and the ASG overrides most other arguments because that has massive implications on league operations and helps space out big-time events. Ideally, I would say the All-Stars should take on a foreign opponent mid-season, but the World Cup next year puts a wrench in that.
Robert said…
Don’t like it. 1. Chance of injury with important games looming. 2, Way too early to pick based on perfomance, but I guess that doesn’t mean too much to media. Didn’t like format…pick em ended up being a bore to a listener. Like the competitveness of last year vs Umea. Too many allstars…weakens the term…especially with an extra team needed to be picked to fill in rosters.
StarCityFan said…
My brain agrees with all the reasons for having it in midseason, but my heart wants it at the end of the year. Actually, I think I’d be fine with them doing it at midseason if there were an All-Star break and the game were held on a weekend. Make it an event and encourage WPS fans to attend, rather than making it as hard as possible by putting it during the work week.

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