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What a 2018 NWSL All-Star Game might have looked like

(Photo Copyright Lewis Gettier)

Paul Riley used a small portion of his National Women’s Soccer League Championship victory press conference to stump for a league all-star game. Women’s Professional Soccer had one, and a little known fact in the sports world at large is that the now oft-practiced format of having captains select the teams, playground style, was actually pioneered by that league in 2010.

Riley’s idea was to have the NWSL’s Best XI play the Second XI, which sounds juicy, but for a variety of reasons would be impossible. That the teams are not known until the end of the season is one roadblock. Another is that players representing the NWSL Championship combatants — in this case a preposterous 13 total — would be busy. Myriad factors currently prevent the league from asking players to stay a week beyond the final, and who wants to watch an all-star game at that point, anyway?

The best bet would be for a mid-season contest, but that, too, comes with a multitude of logistical issues. Next season, the World Cup is expected to be followed by a back-loaded schedule designed to take advantage of any attendance bump. Even in non-World Cup years, FIFA windows are already a major issue, so does anyone really want to give up a week of full, competitive league action for an exhibition?

That leaves us with the idea of including an NWSL All-Star Game as part of NWSL Championship week. The event is crying out for buzz and expansion, and creating this game a day or two before the final would add interest and bring more players to town. Our format? The U.S. national team vs Best of the Rest, with players from the teams that reach the final passed over.

If that had happened this season, here’s what the teams could have looked like. You be the judge as to whether or not it would sell.

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