Women's pro soccer needs its Anschutz ranch moment

U.S. Soccer formed the National Women's Soccer League in 2013 with the notion that if it didn't, women's pro soccer would probably die.

In light of the developments of recent months, a strong case could be made that it made a mistake. Just because you want something not to happen might not always be reason enough.

The NWSL started a year after WPS officially folded. WPS, like WUSA, lasted just three years and died a messy death.

U.S. Soccer had a lot of good intentions in launching the league. It also had its own self-interest. Its women's national team players would have a league of their own in which to play.

It was a great idea with its own conflicts that through the years pitted the interests of the national team players contracted by the federation and represented by their players association against the NWSL's rank and file, who didn't get union representation until 2018 and still don't have their own CBA.

U.S. Soccer's backing of the NWSL was fine and good, but it needed a reason for being on its own, and it needed owners who believed in that mission and committed the money to support it. Since the NWSL's launch in 2013, its owners have committed a fraction of what was needed. At every turn, the NWSL has suffered because of the lack of funding.

After nine years, the salaries of some players remain so poor that the NWSL Players Association started its #NoMoreSideHustles campaign to highlight what players who make less than a living wage from their soccer jobs do on the side. At the top end, salaries haven't increased fast enough to prevent the flight of most foreign stars it once attracted to clubs in Europe.

Coaching salaries aren't high enough to attract a wider pool of applicants who might have been better than some of the coaches NWSL clubs ended up with. His NWSL salary wasn't a problem for Paul Riley, who made a fortune off coaching in youth soccer and whose Long Island mansion -- dubbed "the Awixa Castle" on Zillow -- is on the market for $1,949,999. If he had the money in the bank his NWSL coaching colleagues probably did, I don't think he'd have picked up the bar tabs of players like he admitted to The Athletic he did.

But the lack of funding runs deeper than that. I've had people joke that the NWSL offices, which were once located at U.S. Soccer House, fit in a closet. (There are a lot of closets at U.S. Soccer House.) The league office was never properly funded -- the NWSL didn't have a commissioner for three years before Lisa Baird, who stepped down on Friday, was hired in March 2020 -- nor were club front offices.

“The thing that is so hard for these women is they are fighting tooth and nail just to make a living, and a lot of these clubs are not funded in the way men’s organizations are funded,” Tonya Antonucci, who served as WPS's first commissioner, told Kevin Draper of the New York Times on Friday. “You don’t have the robust H.R. departments and systems and accountability, but it should be there.”

There are a lot of yucky people out there, but some of them might have not been allowed in the NWSL -- or allowed to continue to work in the league -- if the proper systems were in place.

Investigations by U.S. Soccer and FIFA will hopefully determine how the NWSL and its clubs failed their players and who were responsible. They may even recommend how to prevent these abuses from happening again. But they won't pay for what needs to be done.

As Antonucci alluded to, women's sports has never had the benefit of the funding men's sports got in its formative years. On the soccer front, it's even that much harder. Men's pro soccer had to fight decades of prejudice against soccer. On top of that, women's pro soccer has to battle prejudice against women's sports.

Women's pro soccer was at the crossroads in 2012 and 2013 like men's pro soccer was in the United States after the 1994 World Cup. At least MLS got the funding to launch in 1996. (Unless you were around in late 1994, you won't realize it was no sure thing that MLS would get off the ground.)

More to the point, the NWSL today is like MLS in 2001, facing its moment of reckoning.

MLS was down to 10 clubs and in danger of folding. The turning point came when MLS commissioner Don Garber and deputy Mark Abbott flew to Colorado to meet with owners Phil Anschutz, Lamar Hunt and Robert Kraft at Anschutz's ranch to discuss their options, which included folding MLS. Anschutz, Hunt and Kraft agreed to fund the entire league, in effect writing a blank check, but Garber and Abbott needed to write a business plan and the league needed to drop to 10 teams, folding the Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny.

Women's pro soccer needs its Anschutz ranch moment. It needs a group of owners to commit to writing a blank check and it needs a plan. MLS shut down two teams. The NWSL will likely have to fold -- its name is too damaged -- and a new league will have to be be formed.

The good news is that the landscape for women's pro soccer is a lot stronger than it was a decade ago. There are more investors, more commercial sponsors, more media patterns. Things aren't perfect. The attendance in many NWSL markets has been frankly disappointing this season relative to how it has come back in some MLS, and even USL, markets on the men's soccer side. The concept of women's pro soccer is solid, though.

Will U.S. Soccer have been proved right in keeping women's pro soccer alive and launching the NWSL? Women's pro soccer might still succeed, but it needs the proper backing and funding, to the tune of a lot, lot more than is being offered now. And it will have been on the pain and suffering of many young women chasing their dreams.

42 comments about "Women's pro soccer needs its Anschutz ranch moment".
  1. frank schoon, October 3, 2021 at 9:54 a.m.

    Good Article Paul! I see many similarities of what the men went through. Beginning in the mid-sixties Pro-teams from scotland, scandinavia, England came over to play in NPSL. My childhood friend who likewise played for Ajax came over to play for Dallas Tornados, made up of dutch and English players.  In DC, soccer was played by foreign players , immigrants and the little money to be made in that amateur league was if a club wanted you to play for them.

    In the early to mid 70's high schools played. I coached at Falls Church for two years and my budget was $200 per year; what can you possible get for $200? Then you were faced with the ADs who were former football or baseball players who had no clue about the support.  Many thought it to be a sport for 'wussies' or for girls to play. Many sports stores in the DC area didn't even carry soccer shoes. I remember many players wore baseball socks that loopen under your feet. I went through famine days, although I never wore those stupid baseball socks. 

    Then came the NASL, it was a shot in the arm but it also drew more enemies. Those who were invested in US sports saw soccer as a competitor to Football, baseball, and other sports. They saw the NY Cosmos with 70,000 fans ,huge numbers, outdraw the NY Giants. Women were drawn to European accents and the sexy legs  in soccer shorts which were much shorter than todays shorts that ,I think, are a sartorial monstrosity. I still wear the adidas short designed in '74,the best ever. I won't wear those damn stove-pipe shorts.  This is why back than baseball and football began to wear tight pants, in order to compete with the sexy soccer legs. I played ,coached, gave clinics and had my own soccer store , so I've experienced soccer at all levels; lots of famine and some feasts....

    I see parallels in the growth of the women's game to men. But here is the problem, the women can't compete with the men's game for dollars and quality soccer. The stars in soccer, the excitement, the tactics, the philosophy, the developments is with the men's game, PERIOD!!! as Greg Gutfelt states...The quality of the women's game will never be that of the men. This is why there really is no audience for women soccer in Europe. The man's professional teams ,there, subsidize the women's team. The European audience which the great majority are men doesn't give one whoop about women soccer.  As one former Ajax player stated watching the dutch women's national team play is like watching Division 5, men's amateur ball.
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  2. Charles Davenport replied, October 3, 2021 at 5:09 p.m.

    Thanks for your efforts, Mr. Schoon!

  3. Peter Kurilecz replied, October 3, 2021 at 10:35 p.m.

    The NPSL was the "outlaw" league whils the United Soccer Association was the sanctioned league composed of foreign teams. no foreign teams played in the NPSL

    the two leagues merged in 1968 to form the NASL



  4. Kelly Moller, October 3, 2021 at 10:14 a.m.

    Anyone else find the comment " made a fortune off of coaching youth soccer" wierd?

  5. Charles Davenport replied, October 3, 2021 at 5:10 p.m.

    Since the late 70s, at least, there have been parents willing to pay for "elite" coaching....

  6. Charles Davenport replied, October 3, 2021 at 5:11 p.m.

    PS: (I gave it for free)

  7. humble 1 replied, October 5, 2021 at 10:16 a.m.

    Not really, b.c. if you look behind the curtains of the so called 'youth soccer clubs' that are set up as 501c3 'non-profits' across the usa, and you find the rough coach salary, the number of teams and players on each team, and the player fees, and you see an opaque structure with little oversight, it is not hard to figure how much is being extracted. Most large metro areas in the usa have these legacy clubs and a quick look at their web page and a visit to a site like guidestar and you can see what gives. These are the cesspools of American youth soccer and there are many.  It is not rocket science or even forensic accounting, it is basic math and common sense.  That it continues as it is - says a lot about soccer in the USA.  

  8. Ric Fonseca replied, October 5, 2021 at 5:59 p.m.

    In answer to your question, no, I don't.  Whjy not, say you?  Because while I got my re-start in soccer after I left the Army in '62, slowly but surely 'cause in Oakland the only teams available were the usual Latino/Hispanic/Mexican teams - but had to compete with the others from San Francisco and San Jose!  My actual "baptism by fire," too place when I tried out for the Cal St Hayward men's soccer team, only to be declared ineligible 'cause I'd been going to college too long - according to the then AD at that university.  My duture baptism came and went even when I tried to sell some tickets for the old Oakland Clippers game (btw, I went to see Pele play at the Oakland Coliseum) and got my feet truly inundated when I moved to L.S. for graduate school.

    But my "real" entry into you soccer did not take place until I volunteered to coach a local ayso boys team and here it was where I became totally aware of what was going on.  Truly, now, most of the youth coaches I encountered were in fact Euros and Brits, many with good intentions, i.e. they coached their own kids in a local team, but I can unabashedly tell you that they saw an opportunity to make some dinero in the sport.  

    Fast forward with my son into the sport, I vividly remember one young English lad who wanted to coach.  OK, said I, a the clubs president, your resume please.  Nice and academically excellent, but as a player/coach back in the UK?  Not much other than having been a school-boy player, who eventually obtained some sort of coaching certificate from the FA.  By then, I also lerned that he had been approached and given the job, before even interviewing through the club's body.  And now some several decades later, that young man got himself hired by some private school, coached both school and youth soccer, but I can tell you that he also has made a nice pile of money, but obviously not as much as the guy whose house is worth a tidy amount!

    Lastly, I also know of two other European fellows who came over with the primary purpose of making money, one from Italy and yet another Englishman.  Last I heard, there two are making money as "youth club coaches," and as to finding the statement above, "wierd?"  NOPE, it is right on point!!!  Oh, and I forgot to mention that I've also met quite a few Latinos who've made some pretty good dinero especially if they claim to have played pro in their home country/city.  

    Wierd?  Not a chance buddy!!!

  9. humble 1 replied, October 7, 2021 at 12:06 p.m.

    ++ to Ric F's comments.  My kid plays in two states.  I've seen exactly what Ric describes in both.  Cheers!              

  10. frank schoon, October 3, 2021 at 10:24 a.m.

    To invest into women's game has certain limitations for it willl never draw from the sector that prefer watching the men's game. You're limited to who is drawn to the women's game. I have watched some of the WNT games on TV at times but never would go out a pay to watch a women's game, and certainly wouldn't waste my time watching a womens pro game on television, for the level of soccer is simply not good. 

    The good thing about the people who watch women's soccer or go to their games lack the sophistication to understand how bad it is. They just want a good time, blasting their horns and tooters, chearleading it up, kids running around the stands. It is just a feel good event, basically.

    The other problem is that so many countries are not as enthusiastic about women's soccer as evidenced where we stomp our competition into the ground by a zillion to one goals....that in itself says there is a problem. Women's soccer has a very limited market in many ways. Filling the stands to keep a team alive and floating to pay salaries is tough road to follow 

    As I see it ,the WNT is sort of the flag ship for our women's soccer.  I think women College Soccer is where women can draw their talent from ,after all this is where Mia Hamm and other women greats came from. And I have yet to see anything better today coming out of the women's soccer regardless of their improvement in coaching and training techniques.  I think women's College Soccer should be the way to go and I wouldn't worry about women's pro-league. Give womens amateur ball a big boost for those women leaving college and want to continue playing....I think major corporations can help women college ball....and forget pro-ball and perhaps come back to maybe 30 years later...

  11. Donald Lee, October 3, 2021 at 11:07 a.m.

    MLWS should be a part of MLS just like academies, or reserve teams. Womens teams should share club identification and brand.  The model is Portland. 

  12. Robert Haynes replied, October 3, 2021 at 3:42 p.m.

    Donald, that would make sese. However, MLS is still coming out of the Covid hangover financially and the MLS is not going to take on the financial burden of a Women’s program that has shown it is not financially viable. 
    As other have stated the women’s professional product in the US is not good. I don’t believe that an investor or investor group is going to step up with an open checkbook.  

  13. Wayne Norris replied, October 4, 2021 at 10:14 a.m.

    If you are an owner in MLS would you risk getting caught up in a potential "equal pay" situation if owning a women's team? 


  14. Len Simon, October 3, 2021 at 11:59 a.m.

    Interesting piece. I have some views on this I would be happy to share. I represented Olivia Moultrie in her suit against the league.  Len Simon.

  15. Bob Ashpole replied, October 3, 2021 at 9:26 p.m.

    Well done. It appears to be a story with a happy ending for most people.

  16. Mike Lynch, October 3, 2021 at 12:07 p.m.

    Paul, good article shedding light on the realities of starting a business, a league, etc. It's hard; most fail, before a few stand the test of time. The men's leagues went through similar struggles. A viable women's pro league will survive, too, just maybe not our current one, though, from an outsider's view, I still think there are many strengths to the NWSL to overcome its challenges. First and foremost, all the stakeholders, including the athletes, need to understand it's a business with income, expenses, payroll, capital expenditures, etc.,. And when a business does not stay true to it's core business and values, it will likely fail sooner than later. Are pro men's and women's tennis the same? No, but both are awesome athletes, keen competitors and entertaining to watch (ingrediants of a viable business league). If the play is poor, men's pro teams included, it's less entertaining to me and I contend then, not sustainable either, especially if trying to become a full pro club with all the overhead needed to run a big business. When a good level is displayed like you see with the top tier teams in college, NWSL, WSL, and World Cups, that product is sustainable and has demonstrated it to be so. Allow yourself to exceed expenses over income and/or make soccer performance not the core business focus, the business is doomed. Can't go print money (or at least for very long).  

  17. Kevin Parker, October 3, 2021 at 1:01 p.m.

    I've said for years that the key difference between MLS and the women's leagues is that people have been willing to lose tens of millions on men's soccer while - sometimes the very same people - being unwilling to lose a million on women's soccer. (WPS ended up folding in part because the Anschutz Group didn't want to spend another million on Marta and the LA Sol while they'd spent like water on men's teams.)

    And responding to Frank Schoon about the appeal of women's soccer, I bet more Americans can name a notable American female soccer player than a notable American male soccer player. Can the NWSL capitalize on that? I don't know.

  18. frank schoon replied, October 3, 2021 at 1:12 p.m.

    Kevin, good point, but I'm sure it is probably Rapinhoe but not for soccer...She's gotten a lot more press for her politics. And I don't know if that was beneficial for the women's game , I do know they lost some fans because of it. I can't name one player on the men's national team for his political stance, they at least played soccer...

  19. Bob Ashpole replied, October 3, 2021 at 9:42 p.m.

    Frank, I don't think Rapinoe's politics has cost the women's soccer any fans. Sure there are a lot of detractors on social media, but imo they were never fans to begin with.

    From a business perspective, the women's professional soccer clubs are in circumstances similar to minor league baseball and lower division men's soccer in the US. Our country is extremely spread out and there is no broadcast market for these teams. So the gate and drawing groups--families, youth clubs, and others--is the objective. They market it more like a circus has come to town than a TV show. The market is extremely local. There just isn't a lot of earning potential there, especially in small stadiums outside of major metro areas. So MLS and NWPS fans are completely different groups with little overlap.

    For myself, I am not a sports fan at all. Like you I am interested in the sport itself. So I can enjoy watching a youth rec match as much as watching a compilation tape of Zidane on Youtube.

  20. frank schoon replied, October 3, 2021 at 10:05 p.m.

    Bob, I don't what the effects of Rapinho are or were but Subway is not a happy for they have lost business due Rapinho commercials.  How many are soccer fans I have no idea.....

  21. Bob Ashpole replied, October 4, 2021 at 1:20 p.m.

    Frank, think about this. The US WNT isn't just a women's national team to women and girls in the US. To them, the team is a living symbol of gender equality just as important to them as the Statue of Liberty. The team is that symbol and gender heros for women and girls for just existing. Being highly successful promotes that message. Rapinoe expressing her political views have nothing to do with that status.

    To the rest of the world, the US WNT is also a symbol of gender equality as important as the Statue of Liberty. In a world generally where the women don't have rights, it can be a dangerous and unwelcome example of US culture, democracy and freedom. Just by playing the game without saying a word to the press.

    So the US WNT is not just a national team like the men's.

  22. frank schoon replied, October 4, 2021 at 7:52 p.m.

    Bob, I look at soccer as a beautiful game and love to play it. I look at soccer without muddying it with BS , social issues , gender issues , transgender issues, Statue of Liberty, blah, blah, blah. Just play and enjoy the damn game. That's what this game is all about. Leave the social and mental issues  off the field. I go and play soccer to get away from all this crap, not bring it with me .....

  23. Anthony Bates, October 3, 2021 at 4:36 p.m.

    I think the "up side" for men's soccer compared to women's soccer, with regard to selling players and earning transfer fees, is not even close and that is why owners were willing to invest millions into MLS.

    Besides the attendance numbers and the broadcast licensing revenue and merch sales - there's not big money is selling an NWSL player because there's no buyers willing to pay.

    Just my opinion but women's professional soccer should not consider the same business model as men's professional soccer because they're not the same product and do not have similar revenue models.

    MLS is trying to become a third tier league in the world. They need their money to buy better international U22s and improve their academies. With that in mind, they're not interested in dropping millons of dollars on a women's team that isn't going to give them much revenue - if breaks even at all.

  24. frank schoon replied, October 3, 2021 at 6:44 p.m.

    Anthony, well said!!!!

  25. Peter Kurilecz, October 3, 2021 at 10:38 p.m.

    I just dont see the demand for a professional women's soccer league. The public has been spoiled by the USWNT. How does the NWSL compare to say women's soccer in England or the EU countries that have womens' soccer

    I watched one women's match from England and the number of spectators could be counted on both hands and feet

  26. Miriam Hickey, October 4, 2021 at 9:58 a.m.

    Frank.... can't wait for your generation of men to be gone from this planet. Your final paragraph shows how far you are behind the times.

    it was your generation of men that did not allow us girls to play in a league of our own or with boys. I had to sneak on the field as an 8-13 year old in the 70s in my hometown of Utrecht hoping the referee would not kick me off the field. Forced to quit playing voetbal at age 14.. while continuing playing team handball so my competitive juices could be flowing. Not until I turned 18 could I play voetbal legally, but had to play with women twice my age. And had to go to the US in my 20s to be able to train on a daily basis on grass fields.

    So yeah decisions made 50+ years ago by men are still impacting our sport today, but soccer for women and by women will (continue to) flourish when a new generation of men and women support our sport in a way we all deserve! The future of football for women is bright! 

  27. Wayne Norris replied, October 4, 2021 at 10:12 a.m.


    are you suggesting that from your experience US has been much more supportive of women's soccer than Europe? The narrative we see from USWNT is how bad it is in US.....

  28. frank schoon replied, October 4, 2021 at 11:47 a.m.

    Miriam, I have 2 posts ,which final paragraph are you talking about? If it is the first post, concerning the quality  of the women's comparatively to the men, which there shouldn't be an argument over,  or the second post whereby I think College women should be a conduit for the WNT...I find women players today regardless of all the improvements, support, along with the latests training and coaching techniques  have not produced better talent or better players than Mia Hamm and other women stars who were stars of  the 90's who only had a college soccer backround, and did without all the current support women enjoy....

    Miriam, be glad that you came to America from Holland, like I did ,the land of opportunity, for without America there would't even be women's soccer. What has happened in the past is past. Now women have the opportunity to play they have to create a GOOD PRODUCT to put people in the stands and that is where the hang up is. You get people in the stands ,fill stadiums, than pro-women soccer wil come about. 

    I could complain that the quality of men's soccer in the states is still not what it should be and blame it on the negative attitudes towards soccer that I suffered in the past 60 years supporting. But that is not the case ,it has to do with overal player development, lack of pickup soccer and decisions made but US soccer honchos who don't know any better...

    Read Antony Bates post, he elucidate some of problems of women's soccer...To me its the product on the field that women  SERIOUSLY need to improve upon, than you'll will see soccer lovers like myself support and show an interest...

  29. Bob Ashpole replied, October 4, 2021 at 12:05 p.m.

    Wayne, it isn't a suggestion--it's a fact. Women (and children) were originally treated by US law and culture as a man's property. Even after slavery ended in 1865. In 1920, women finally were given the right to vote. This was over 50 years after all males were given the right to vote on paper. It has been 150 years and the nation is fighting over enforcement of the federal law requiring equal protection for men. Before Title IX, there wasn't much progress for gender equality either. 

    It isn't just sports. In every aspect of our culture there is still gender discrimination. Pay and  employment discrimination still exist. 

    In the vast, vast majority of the world, women (and female children) are still today treated as a man's property. Even in some demographics in the US, women are still treated as a man's property. Yes the US generally along with a few other societies does treat women much more fairly than the majority of the world, but that is not cause for bragging.

  30. Bob Ashpole replied, October 4, 2021 at 12:27 p.m.

    Frank, Miriam was complaining about "your generation of men" rather than you individually. It is my generation too, although I am not Dutch. I think that taking her statement as a personal attack on you rather than a complaint about Dutch culture is a mistake.

    Believe me, I am not happy with my generation of men. It includes the Republican reactionaries that have tried to dismantle the federal government and undo all the progress we have made for the last 100 years. Progress lead by both the past Republican and Democratic administrations. I don't like that they have completely changed our economy so that it--every market, is now dominated by a few wealthy and powerful corporations. Essentially the federal antitrust laws and regulations haven't been enforced since 1981, nor has the federal Civil Rights laws. 

    I want to start talking about historical parallels to current events, but that is too off topic for a soccer forum, even for me to wander! :)

  31. frank schoon replied, October 4, 2021 at 1:54 p.m.

    Bob, I realize it is not a personal attack on me but I'm a realist and that is life. I accept the historical stream in this life period that I'm in. The important thing we have to learn is how to deal with the complication one encounters in life. There is a reason why things happen ,I don't believe in accidents...I'll leave it at that....

    As far as blaming generations, it is what it is. I don't have time for that BS. I think there is plenty to work on to improve oneself. My father was born in Surinam, a colony at one time from Holland. My father is half black, mulata, etc, was discriminated against because he was from the colonies and obvious his skin color, when we lived in Holland. And that's why we emigrated to the US to find a better life. I had no idea about his discrimination situation , it was never a brought up. He never compained or talked about it, there was never any discussion in the house or at the dinner table. . He went to work and did his best. We have created too many crybabies, and those who abuse the system, and then we have those who can't function of their so-called their racial guilt....PLEAZE.....

    As far as gov't goes, I prefer to dismantle, (your terms)it. I don't like big gov't that's why I don't like to live in Europe. I believe in strong individuality, with a kind heart. One of our family members just got a job as a teaching aid. She was told in private by one of the teachers to watch out what she says about ideas and what her beliefs are , even at a party. Teachers are under obligation to report what is said...This is Loudoun county. This is not the America I first came to. It has begun with freedom of speech at colleges, gotta watch what you say! Big gov't is beginning to seep in everywhere..... But somehow the left is striving for as much control as possible.
    I don't like what is going on, the country leadership is a joke ,we have inflation, pipeline is shut down, back to importing oil no longer energy sufficient,   energy prizes have gone up, the border situation has become a joke. This is all a reflection of the poor leadership.   Us so-called reactionaries like myself are not happy for it wasn't like that a year ago.... 

  32. Bob Ashpole replied, October 4, 2021 at 3:14 p.m.

    Frank, I believe that comment is the best thing you have written.

    The only quibble I have is that you are misinformed about the oil industry regarding imports and exports as well as the "pipeline" if you are referring to the cancelled pipeline in North America. But that is a minor quibble.

    As for "big" government, I know exactly what has happened without government regulation of the economy. Since the signing of the US Constitution in 1787, the federal goverment was given the power to regulate our economy. Regulating our economy is not "big" government; it has always been a fundamental purpose of the federal government. For over 150 years that I know of, wealthy businessmen have complained of "big" government and claim that it is interfering with the ordinary citizen's freedoms. That, however, is propaganda for the general public. The acutal motivation for the wealthy businessmen to reduce the role of the "big" federal government is that government regulations and laws prevent them from getting even richer at the expense of the general public. They of course can't sway voters with the real reasons for their campaign. 

    So what is "big' government?

  33. frank schoon replied, October 4, 2021 at 3:32 p.m.

    Bob, I don't want to get further in the weeds with what big gov't is. We just different on the extend  of gov't should be in our lives....

    You might like this video...I watched it last night....It's great...

    Johan Cruyff ● Flair Like No one Else (Rare Footage) - YouTube

  34. Wooden Ships replied, October 4, 2021 at 4:55 p.m.

    Bob, I'm willing to suffer, lol, having some individuals becoming Wealthy as opposed to an increasing state. Which, leads to where we're headed. Destroying incentive. 

  35. Tim Schum, October 4, 2021 at 3:09 p.m.

    What is needed for women's soccer to succeed at the professional level is for its organizers led by U.S.Soccer to merge all of its available resources in a coordinated efort to rescue the sport.


    I recall sitting in the front row at a press conference that launched the ill-fated WPS. When it came time for audience questions, I naively asked if the league's leaders had contemplated perhaps aligning teams with then existent MLS franchises in order to avail themselves of their already formed administrative structures (office staff, pr staff, etc.). A look at present MLS staffing gives one a sense of where the bulk to their expenditures are centered. 

    Well - one look and I was fortunate not have turned to a salt statute! The league was strong enough to stand on its own two feet thank you. It had no thought of combining with a mens soccer league!

    Well as recent news related to the NWSL unfolded, I harked back to the start of the NBA in the 1950s. Pro basketball was struggling. But it got as creative. I grew up in Rochester, NY and our small city NBA team at times played in double-headers at Madison Square Garden against another NBA teams. Once the gates opened, the overhead was shared by four teams, not just the home team. Likewise, the Harlem Globetrotters frequently played to packed houses in the first game of doubleheaders in NBA cities.

    Just a thought but it should be the responsibility for U.S. Soccer as the FIFA-sanctioned body in this country to bring all parties together and see where common ground exists. One possibility is my earlier WPS suggestion. That solution to reduce operational costs by aligning women's teams with willing MLS franchises in cities where there is some demonstrated interest in the women's game. Like the fledgling NBA of yesteryear, play soccer doubleheaders and jointly promote both teams through the existing infrastructure of the MLS teams.

    The NASL teams in the '70s relied on its players to circulate in their communities. Perhaps by building such outreach into the playing contracts of the women their salaries could reach more professional levels than at present.  

    In the meantime but putting a pencil to paper, the costs of such a realignment can be calculated. It would seem that by streamlining matters the finances of such arrangements would be far less than trying to maintain separate women's leagues that require larger expenditures of resources. Perhaps the finances of the new business model could be shared by U.S.Soccer, MLS, and other stakdholders (corporate sponsors, etc.). 

    It seems that once again, women's professional soccer is at a crossroads. But trying to maintain a women's league on MLS model doesn't seem to be fiscally in the cards.

    Perhaps it is time to shuffle the deck and try for a royal soccer flush!

  36. uffe gustafsson, October 4, 2021 at 6:59 p.m.

    If you guys don't think women's soccer is important then tell me if these ladies didn't put the soccer on the us map as in everyday us citizens requgnize those names.
    yes everyone know pulisic and probebly Howard and Donovan and the red head player that do commentary on women's WC.
    but most people reqognize these names
    morgan rapino Lloyd Ertch sourbrunn press.
    as well past players
    hope solo
    mia hamm
    those are names most people reqognize 
    can't say the same for our men's team in the past.
    women's soccer are the best representative for US soccer and they put this country on the soccer map.

  37. frank schoon replied, October 4, 2021 at 7:28 p.m.

    Yeah, so what, what has it done for women soccer? Name recognition doesn't fill stadium seats, apparently, and that is the problem.  You fill stadium seats by producing quality soccer.   

  38. uffe gustafsson, October 4, 2021 at 7:15 p.m.

    And to the person who said if MLS teams pickup the women's team as part of their portfolio as you seen in England and Spain that equal pay would be an issue, think you mixed up things. The equal pay is for the national teams not club teams big difference. I don't think Galaxy 1 and Galaxy 2 ( that's the second tier team) gets paid equally not do I think the if they got a women's team will pay equally to the first men's team.
    that's to me is just nonsense and just trying to diminish what women's National team wants.
    to just illustrates how upside things are, I remember to read that the Japanese National team traveled to WC the men's team flied first class and women's team flied coach.
    japanese women's team is by far the most reqognize team and done more to Japanese soccer the men's team.
    how backwards is that. That's what these women are fighting for and if you don't see that I'm at loss for words.

  39. frank schoon replied, October 4, 2021 at 7:43 p.m.

    Japanese women's team has more name recognition, Really????? in Europe no one can name Japanese woman soccer player although  there have been plenty of good Japanese men players. 

    As far as men flying first class ,so what !  It is the men's team that generate more money. Try comparing what men World Cups generate as comparing to women


  40. Wayne Norris replied, October 4, 2021 at 7:58 p.m.


    the USWNT is not fighting for flying First Class. That part was already settled.

    the USWNT is fighting to get paid $38 million FIFA WC bonus that does not exist. 

    What is the difference between US Soccer employing both and MLS employing both. "Equal pay for equal work"....

    MLS steer clear ........ another reason why this law suit hurts more than helps .....

  41. uffe gustafsson replied, October 5, 2021 at 6:27 p.m.

    Frank and Wayne 
    the Japanese women are more reqognize in Japan not in Europe. And what I was showing is the despairities in the difference in how women are treated. 
    i didn't say us women want first class.
    us women's national team have done more to get soccer on the every day US citizens I'm not arguing the quality of soccer but how this country adopted this sport.
    and if I'm not wrong more girls play club soccer then boys.
    clearly soccer is a sport that girls today are drawn too.
    and as a lover of this sport the brooder audience we can reach the better our coverage will get.

  42. humble 1, October 5, 2021 at 10:31 a.m.

    What is interesting and ironic and maybe telling in a way, is that USL just anounced their D2 women's league.  They have been working slow but steady, layering up the foundation of this new league with their clubs.  This is a big postive, one that appears to go unnoticed by many, but in the long run, USL continues to lay a very well thought out foundation.  MLS wonks continue to build their soccer-as-a-business from the top-down, meanwhile, USL is building from the bottom-up.  They both have the franchise model, which I do not like, but I understand it is useful to 'build' from, but USL is much more effecient with their treasure than MLS which seems to have a tremendous burn rate, but has made up for it in asset appreciation, I guess.  And of course then there are these stumbles, in this case, a horrific and almost unforgivable stumble, which sounds like more of an illness, a cancer, that grew over a long period of time, on both coasts, under the noses of people that should known and should have acted to stop it.  Ouch.  Let's see where it goes. 

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