If I owned a team in the proposed women's pro league, here is where I would start:
Players would select a personal nonprofit cause. Bonus money would be earned and split with the nonprofit based on field performance. Here are a few examples: If you are on the field when a goal is scored, you score or assist you get a bonus. Minutes that you are on the field and no goals are allowed by your team earn a bonus. This would not be hard to track given today's software capabilities. At the end of the year, the player and her nonprofit split the bonus money.
Each player would be given $1000 in cash and required to find a community activity where she can apply it. At the end of the year, the player creating the most impact with her money earns an additional $5000 for herself and the activity to which she applied the original $1000.
Players would "adopt" a neighborhood, town, or nearby community and a school where they would serve as the team's representative at as many community activities and events as their schedule allows. Bonuses would be paid to players based on the number of "service hours" they perform, functions they attend, the size of the audiences they address, and any measurable impact they create in the community.
Each player would formally serve as a mentor to a young player (preferably a U-12 or U-14), and agree to maintain that relationship until the young person reaches the age of 18 without regard for either person's soccer playing future.
Where appropriate, players would be encouraged to work, train, study, or intern with a person in the community who is established in the player's chosen post-soccer profession.
Players would be paired with women business owners, or community leaders to serve as their personal ambassador into the community.
As a team, we would participate in building at least one Habitat for Humanity home a year.
We would have team movie nights at a theater showing a family oriented movie. Fans, who wish to attend with us, are welcome to buy a ticket and sit with us. We would have similar team bowling, skating, water park, and bike riding events.
Our team would regularly visit different places of worship together.
For a couple of hours each month front office staff, coaches, and players would donate their time to assist baggers and checkout personnel at the local grocery store. There is no better place in America to get to know a community than at the checkout line.
At least once a month, a player would be made available for family dinner at the home of a fan.
Season ticket goals would reflect sales through 250 backyard/"meet the neighbors" parties. Local families host private gatherings at their home to introduce six to eight neighbor families to the team through kits that we would provide including door prizes, entertainment elements, and samples of our sponsors' products. From time to time, these events will include a surprise appearance by a player.
Within 48 hours after each game, players would participate in a 45 minute live online, or phone call-in session with fans to discuss the past game or the one ahead.
Any player's agent who objects need not apply. Think this is crazy? It is just the tip of the iceberg in legacy building PR and culture of character that I think is needed. I only get 600 words to do this column or I would keep going. Do not get me started on how I would change the game on the field.
Jim Paglia is a nationally recognized brand strategist who lives outside Chicago. He has an extensive background in soccer ranging from the NASL, to NCAA Division I, to World Cup 1994, and 30 years of club administration and coaching. Contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org. And next we'll ask him how he'd change the game on the field!