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ON A TOUR OF ITS OWN: U.S. WWC TEAM, USSF BATTLING OFF FIELD
Published July 14, 1999
The U.S. women's soccer team is "determined to promote and pay themselves better than they believe the [U.S. Soccer Federation] has," and has "arranged" its own 11-match indoor tour across the country this fall, playing an "as-yet- determined" world all-star team, according to Amy Shipley of the WASHINGTON POST. The U.S. players' plans "conflict with recently announced plans" by the USSF to send the U.S. team on a tour to South Africa, Egypt and Australia from late October through December. Shipley: "The schedule conflict is likely to be among a number of issues between the players and the USSF when they meet next week to negotiate a new labor agreement." The U.S. players "agreed unanimously to go ahead with" their indoor tour during a meeting Monday in N.Y. Each player would be guaranteed "nearly" $50,000 for the tour. U.S. women's team attorney John Langel: "We're committed to this tour. ... It's not a lark -- it's a big contract. ... Unless they do this [tour], they literally cannot afford to leave their jobs and commit to the Olympic and World Cup residency camps." Shipley writes that the players "want to take advantage of their skyrocketing popularity and demonstrate that there is a market" for a women's pro soccer league. The tour will be handled "in conjunction" with the SFX Sports Group and "has been in the works since" April. SFX Sports Group spokesperson Stan Feig said that more than 3,000 tickets have been sold for the November 20 game at the MCI Center, even though only one local ad "has appeared for the game." The tour begins October 22 in Pittsburgh and concludes December 12 in Tacoma, WA (WASHINGTON POST, 7/14). U.S. co-captain Julie Foudy: "The one thing we've learned recently is that our fans want to see more of us and more of soccer. We're answering their call" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/14). SMG GM Hank Abate said two months ago that he thought SFX was "crazy to have booked" the women's team to play at Civic Arena. Abate: "Now I'm grateful they're not as crazy as I thought. We got lucky, real lucky" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 7/14).