New League has a name, Sky Blue is excited and getting ready for 2013
Added by Steven Farkas on December 17, 2012.
We learned a lot of information this week about the new women’s professional soccer league, which is supported by U.S. Soccer, the Canadian Soccer Association, and the Mexican Soccer Federation. All of those organizations will cover the salaries of their respective national team players. Also, we found out that the name of the league will be the National Women’s Soccer League. The new Portland team announced they will be called the Thorns and Washington D.C. will be known as the Spirit.
Sky Blue FC will also be a part of the new National Women’s Soccer League, and the CEO of the club is excited about the new start.
“The federation will make a huge difference. They can’t allow this to fail,” said Thomas Hofstetter, CEO and president of Sky Blue FC, who will again head up the New Jersey team in the new league. “If they want the national team to compete on the world level, this needs to work.”
No doubt the new league will have better financial footing with a more realistic business plan, and the ability to attract sponsorships.
“It’s a huge difference to the pot with the three federations involved. In (past) meetings with really huge sponsors, they always said ‘Come back in two or three years when you have staying power. We won’t have that issue with the federation involved.”
“All these things in combination will make it succeed,” Hofstetter said. “We are meeting again Wednesday. There are a lot of things going on, and we’re moving at a very high pace with very experienced people.”
The league has already said it wants to expand to 10 teams in the 2014 season, and at this point will not have the high profile foreign players like Marta, but there will be high profile players from the U.S. soccer landscape as well as Canada and Mexico.
“Foreign players are interested, but salaries will not allow too many to come back,” Hofstetter said. “We are only going to allow five or six foreigners per team — my guess would be five — and since each team will have two Canadians and two Mexicans there are only one or two slots left.
“We could have grown the league in Year 1 to 10 teams, but we wanted to have the right product on the field and not dilute the talent too much.”
The league has tried to downsize costs for the first year to build a foundation for the future, this includes smaller stadiums.
“We’re not trying to fill the stadium with 18,000 people. The core people know what’s happening,” said Hofstetter, who expects to announce a home field shortly. “I’m not worried. To get two or three thousand people won’t be that difficult. We still have our database and a huge reach online.”
“I don’t look at this as the third attempt (at a women’s league), I look at it as a continuation of the WPS,” Hofstetter said. “Our objective was always to go ahead, but the decision depended on the whole framework. It’s finally the right business model. Financially, the way we set it up is the right way of doing it.”
All of us who support women’s soccer in this country are happy to see that the USSF has not given up on a professional league and are cautiously optimistic that this time the league will survive the three year start-up that the two previous league could not make it past.
Once Sky Blue announces its home stadium and the tickets go on sale, let us hope the public fills the seats and Sky Blue as well as the rest of the league will be around for many years to come.