SBD/August 10, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

New Women's Professional Soccer League Announces Plans For '13 Start

Former WPS club Boston Breakers on Thursday issued a release stating that five teams were finalizing the formation of a new professional women's soccer league that will start in the spring of '13. The teams participating in the league will include former WPS clubs Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars and Sky Blue FC, and a newly formed team in Seattle. An additional four teams, including one on the West Coast, are finalizing their participation (Boston Breakers). USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand notes the U.S. women’s national soccer team on Thursday won its third consecutive Olympic Gold Medal in a 2-1 victory over Japan and NBC's Arlo White “brought up on-air that there are inevitable ‘rumblings of a new women’s professional soccer league.’” NBC’s Brandi Chastain said it would "be good for all of women’s soccer around the world that there’s a league in the U.S.” She added, “It’s amazing what can be borne out of having a league in your own country.” Former U.S. women's national soccer team player Mia Hamm pointed out that two U.S. women’s leagues “have failed.” Hamm: "I'd love to see something come back. But in the near future, I don't think it's going to happen" (USA TODAY, 8/10).

TOUGH ROW TO HOE: In S.F., Bruce Jenkins writes there is “every reason to believe that pro leagues are forever doomed in America.” The nation “fell in love with Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain and the rest of the 1999 World Cup winners, launching the impetus for the Women's United Soccer Association in 2001, but that league folded after three seasons.” As recently as “last summer, there were high hopes for Women's Professional Soccer,” but the WPS folded in May. There is “no way any league could replicate the priceless atmosphere of the Olympics or World Cup.” When the “very best players are representing their country, it stirs a passion that spreads beyond the hard-core soccer community into the homes of people barely familiar with the sport.” It is “a given, no questions asked, that a U.S. pro league would be a scaled-down version with, more often than not, only a few thousand fans in the seats.” Jenkins: “That doesn't mean it's a waste of time. On the contrary, there must be an American pro league, just to lengthen the careers of established stars, create opportunities for the next generation and keep that partisanship aflame for kids around the country” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/10).
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