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Last Shot for Women's Pro Game?
Yahoo Sports, February 18th, 2008 5:45PM

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Women's Professional Soccer, set to kick off in a year, will be a far more modest operation than the Women's United Soccer Association, which collapsed in 2003, says Yahoo Sports Martin Rogers. WUSA tried to piggyback on the success of the 1999 Women's World Cup, promising packed stadiums and big TV deals, but it all ended three years later "with a sorrowful wave goodbye, a bunch of shattered dreams and an opportunity lost."

But WPS, Rogers says, has a firmer grip on reality -- or at least CEO Tonya Antonucci does. "We know we are not going to get another shot at this," she says. "We have to get it right this time. That is why we can't afford to get ahead of ourselves and set targets that are unrealistic. I firmly believe there is a place for this league, but it is about finding our niche market and growing steadily."

The bottom line is that a professional women's soccer league needs to prove itself by finding that niche and creating an economically stable environment around it. WUSA's huge mistake was to toss around unrealistic salaries before a market was firmly established. This time, the two will grow side by side. As Antonucci says, "There is nothing Title IX about us," referring to the gender equity law for high school and college sports. "It is up to us to prove there is a market for this league. No one is going to do it for us."

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