It took nine months, but finally it’s official! The US women are getting a new professional league and for the first time there is a strong administrative and financial backer (partially at least) in the US Soccer Federation. Kudos to Sunil Gulati, President of the US Soccer Federation, for bringing the Canadian and Mexican Federations together to help subsidize the national players from their respective countries. Here’s more from Gulati.
U.S. Soccer President SUNIL GULATI
“This is really a follow-up from some previous discussions we’ve had with smaller groups, and what we’re doing today is announcing that we will start a women’s professional league in March/April of next year, that league will have eight teams: those teams would be in the Boston area, New Jersey, Western New York, D.C., Chicago, Kansas City, Seattle and Portland. We had 11 groups that we had been looking at and vetting and finally made a decision to start with eight teams in the eight cities I just named.
Over the last several months, we’ve been doing a number of things, talking with some important constituents and stakeholders in the sport, not just in the United States but internationally. I’m really very pleased to talk a little bit about the model that we’ve put together. That model is that U.S. Soccer will essentially run the front office of this league, that U.S. Soccer will fund the participation of approximately 24 players in the league – so on average, three per team. In discussions over the last several months with our neighbors to the south and north, I’m very pleased to confirm that the Canadian Soccer Association is joining us in that effort and the Mexican Federation is doing the same. So between those three federations and three governing bodies for the sport with long-term player development goals on the women’s side, as well as on the men’s side, we’ll be funding a substantial number of national team players to participate in this league, along with the front office from U.S. Soccer.
The real story today from our perspective is we’re starting a league in eight important markets in the U.S. with the participation of the governing bodies and trying to create an economic model that is sustainable. From our perspective, the most important thing is that we’ve got a commitment from the eight groups we’ve talked about, a sustainable model – and clearly if one wants to do it is those three federations being the government, we are subsidizing the private sector here to try to make it sustainable, to try to make the investments necessary by the private sector smaller.
There are going to be a number of things today that we’re not prepared to finalize or confirm in terms of stadium names, or in terms of specifics of rosters. Those things will be outlined over the days and weeks to come, but we wanted to get this news out there. Yesterday, Dan Flynn, U.S. Soccer CEO, shared an important meeting with all eight groups, as well as representatives of the CSA, Dennis te Kloese wasn’t able to join because he was traveling. So we’re really very excited with this news.”