Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cya later Los Angeles Sol - First WPS team goes bust

So it might be happy days in Australia thanks to the Matildas new pay deal, but on the other side of the world Women's professional soccer took a small step backwards yesterday.
 The Los Angeles Sol has folded.
Yes, the WPS's marquee team, with none other than Marta as their best player, the inuagural grand finalists and league champions. Well they won't be doing any of that in 2010.
 The Anschultz Entertainment Group handed back it's ownership stake back in November. They are the same group that owns MLS team LA Galaxy (yes, the one that Beckham plays for) and had owned a host of other MLS teams, but just decided they didn't want to own the girls anymore.
 Women's Pro Soccer league management took over and tried to find a new owner, but couldn't and yesterday announced the franchise was kaput, for this season at least.
 The players will be drafted out in a re-assignment draft next Thursday. Which could either be kind of awesome for Atlanta Beat, who has the first pick in this draft, or kind of stressful.
 On one hand, it's a clear choice, pick-up four time FIFA women's World Player of the Year Marta. On the other hand, will any other team have enough to pay her the $500,000 salary that she got in her first season at the Sol?

 Overall though, for the league that was supposed to reinvent women's football when it started last year and unlike it's predesscor, the WUSA, do all that without going broke - it's not a great step. Or is it?
 If you want to hear from the frustrated, read LA journo Jo-Ryan Salazar's excellent piece here on the Bleacher Report.
 But delving further into the story, there are plenty more that suggest it's not the end of the world, or at least the start of a crumble.
 On World Soccer Digest, Richard Barley has put together a story using lots of other links to other stories including a long five-part piece from Jeff Kassouf at the Equalizer, that sums up what happened. Although Kassouf is kind of angry with it all, Barley sums it up as not entirely bad. Perhaps just weeding out the owners that aren't actually that serious. You can also read Jeff's full piece here.
 But perhaps the one that makes most sense is from Tom Dunmore on Pitch Invasion, where he actually wonders if them folding is a good thing. Which it may be. It's a very eloquently put piece.

So what's the down-under view from GWG? Certainly I think there is positives to come out of this. The big-one? The debate above. When it comes down to it, even this professional women's league isn't anywhere near the men's when it comes to the crunch, but what will help it get there? A generation of fanatical fans and interested media who are committed to spreading the stories. At least from the hoopla happening on the interweb right now, it's obvious there are a whole lot of people from both sides who care about women's football. A tad soppy? Well, yes. But it's the lesson that I'm going to take from it. And it seems the lesson that some of the club's already have. The Chicago Red Stars have just posted on their website a statement saying they are strong, but please, if you like women's football show your support by attending a game, or buying a membership. The main message? Assert that this league matters. It's a good one for any women's football league, or any women's sporting league anywhere to take. So girls and boys wherever you are, get on board and support your team!

1 comment:

  1. & now Saint Louis Athletica have gone bust... I had a glance at their squad, so much international talent! I hope the other teams have the cash to keep players like Daniela, Elaine, Aluko, Asante, & even one-time Mariner Kendall Fletcher, in the WPS!