After a meeting of U.S national team leaders, WPSL Elite League team owners, W-League leaders, and former WPS team owners in Chicago, there is an announcement that there will be a new coast to coast professional women’s soccer league. The league will have 12-16 teams from one end of the United States to the other.
There are still few details about the league as many of those details will have to be worked out over the next few months. What has been announced is that all of the WPSL Elite teams will be in the league, including the three former WPS teams, the Chicago Red Stars, Western New York Flash, and the Boston Breakers. One more former WPS team will be joining the league as our own Sky Blue FC has announced it will be part of this new league.
Another detail released is that the league will not seek Division 1 status from the U.S. Soccer Federation, as that would add extra fees and more expensive minimum standards for teams, but rather grow itself first with modest budgets of $500,000 or so. However, there is no rule keeping teams from exceeding that budget, but most feel that is a sustainable starting point as the WPSL Elite league has shown with most of its teams running budgets in that same amount. So, it will be a scaled down league, but a professional one nonetheless.
Who would run the league is the main question to be answered, but the U.S. Soccer Federation has been “absolutely supportive,” according to Boston Breakers managing partner Michael Stoller. “We put together what we think is the right structure and the right operating standards,” Stoller said. “The to-be-determined is what the relationship is with USL’s W-League.”
At this point, only the four WPS, and the WPSL Elite teams, as well as other WPSL teams that were looking to move up to the Elite League are committed. But, there is still a discussion about a few of the current W-League teams going pro and joining in as well. Time will tell, but a league that gets all parties from the WPSL, former WPS, and the W-league would be the best case scenario. Getting everyone involved in women’s soccer on the same page and working together to support the league, combined with a less ambitious but sustainable fiscal plan, will lead to the stability needed to create and grow professional women’s soccer in the United States.
In attendance at the meeting were officials from WPSL, USL, U.S. Youth Soccer and Tony DiCicco. USSF president Sunil Gulati announced before the May 27 USA-China friendly that this summit would be open to ‘all-comers.’ Former magicJack owner Dan Borislow was not in attendance.