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NWSL gets reality check
by Paul Kennedy, April 15th, 2013 3:35PM
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TAGS:  nasl, soccer business, television, usl, women's national team


By Paul Kennedy

No one said the National Women's Soccer League wouldn't start small. The attendance figures for the first weekend of play in the new women's league were a reality check.

FC Kansas City drew an overflow crowd of 6,784 fans for its game against the Portland Thorns at Shawnee Mission North District Stadium, but that was more than the attendance for the other three games combined.

Thorns FC is expecting a crowd of 14,000 for its opener Sunday against Seattle -- which would itself be more than the NWSL's total attendance for Week 1.

NWSL Attendance, Week 1:
6,784 FC Kansas City-Portland (sellout)
2,611 Sky Blue FC-Western New York
2,634 Boston-Washington (sellout)
1,255 Chicago-Seattle

NO MORE JALOPIES, PLEASE. The league's cost-conscious approach means just that. Teams are taking a no-frills approach and living with the consequences.

The Washington Spirit bussed for its game against the Red Stars at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville, Mass.

The notes in the Spirit's post-game report went so far as to call out its bus charter company for dispatching "an extremely old and beat up bus far below the standard the team had been promised. Unfortunately the company then also failed to deliver on a promised replacement, so the ‘First Ladies’ will have to trek home in the mold-infested jalopy at their own risk, while team management confirmed a different company had already been secured for the remainder of the season."

NASL ATTENDANCE WATCH. The North American Soccer League had its second strong weekend in a row at the gate. Two of three games sold out -- including the San Antonio Scorpions' opener at new Toyota Field -- and the games averaged 6,204, up from 5,396 in Week 1.

NASL Attendance, Week 2:
8,177 San Antonio-Tampa Bay
5,402 Atlanta-Ft. Lauderdale
5,033 Carolina-FC Edmonton

USL PRO ATTENDANCE WATCH. Orlando City, which is seeking to obtain an MLS expansion franchise for its city, drew an announced crowd of 6,351 fans who braved severe weather for its 2013 USL PRO opener Sunday night at the Florida Citrus Bowl. There were delays of two hours because of the bad weather. The Pittsburgh Riverhounds drew a sellout crowd of 4,000 for its opener at new Highmark Stadium in the shadows of downtown Pittsburgh.

USL PRO Attendance, Week 4:
6,351 Orlando City-Rochester
4,000 Pittsburgh-Harrisburg
2,497 Richmond-Charleston
1,867 Phoenix FC-Los Angeles
1,032 VSI Tampa Bay FC-Rochester
932 Charlotte-Barracuda FC
207 Los Angeles-Orlando City

ROGERS' FIRST TV INTERVIEWS. Former U.S. international Robbie Rogers will discuss being gay in professional sports in interviews Monday night on CNN's AC360° with Anderson Cooper and ABC News’ “Nightlife”

Rogers tells Cooper he couldn't continue playing and come out at the same time. "I thought it would be too emotional for me," he says. "It would be a circus." He adds that he is more worried about the reaction from players in the locker room than from fans in the crowd. "If I go back," he says. "I want to go as a soccer player, not the gay soccer player.”

Rogers allowed “Nightline” to travel with him as he saw his family in California for the first time since coming out earlier this year.
(Click here for video clip of the "Nightline" segment.)
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1 comment
  1. Carl Hudson
    commented on: April 16, 2013 at 9:23 a.m.
    Why not give the name of the inferior bus company, so others can avoid it?

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