And We’re Back…
It’s been several weeks since we’ve had a new post here on Two Touch Pass, and I’ve spent a week or so contemplating my first post back. I suppose the reason we went away for awhile had to do with our busy lives, full of new adventures, big moves, and the many distractions we have in life. But, I’ll be completely honest, my absence has been due to a post-Olympic hangover that has required me to catch my breath (weeks later) after stressing for 3 weeks. Life as a professional, gold medal-winning athlete must be tough. But few recognize the stress that dedicated fans experience. I think I lost half of my hair and gained 10 lbs throughout the Olympic games. I wanted my girl Alex to come up big… and she did. I wanted Carli Lloyd to prove she deserved a starting spot… and she did. And I wanted Hope to say something ridiculous and cause a stir/controversy/entertainment… and she did. What more could I ask for? Canadians are still complaining about the officiating in the semi-final game, and I’m still complaining about Canadians in general. So I guess in the end it all works out.
So where do we go from here? One of the worst things about being a women’s soccer fan is the gap between the Olympic games and the World Cup. We’ve had two amazing years full of excitement, drama, and a wave of international support. But how do we keep it going? For those of us that have been around for longer than last year’s Brazil game, we know that the support for women’s soccer comes in waves. One year these ladies are celebrities, and the next they are working at a store to support their families. One of the big news stories at the end of the Olympics was the announcement that a new professional league would be starting up next spring in the US. Few details, other than the inclusion of the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, Sky Blue FC, and a yet-to-be named Seattle team, were given. So why did they announce it when they did? According to Bill Predmore, the owner to the Seattle No-Names, the intention was to use the USWNT to gain support. But more than anything, it was about giving the national team players a reason to not sign internationally. I think the announcement was a little premature… but I think the motive was spot on. Predmore has said more announcements will come in the next few weeks and I am not-so patiently waiting to hear more.
So for all those diehards out there, what do we think we need to do for this new league to be successful? We’ve seen the rise and fall of the WUSA. We’ve seen the introduction of the WPS, the drama that followed, and the fall of yet another league. So how will this league be different? Predmore states that the league is about creating sustainable teams. He knows owners will lose money. He knows these teams will have to fight for fans. While that’s a good start, there has to be better management and a healthy balance of short and long term goals. They have to be reasonable in the venues they play in, while providing players with a comfortable salary. They have to be realistic in their budgeting, and need to reach out to sponsors… including those that have nothing to do with the sports realm. And more than anything, they have to build a partnership with players that are willing to be their best advertisements. I think the Breakers and the Seattle Sounders Women did a great job of that this year. Build a strong support system while advertising their big name players. If this league is to be successful, they have to find the kind of support that will stick with the team through thick and thin.
You’ve heard my rant… now I want to hear yours. What do you think that the new league needs to do to exist years from now? I’m hopeful… after all, third times a charm… right?
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For more info on the new league, check out these great sources: