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."