December 12th, 2011

WPS: Another League Bites The Dust?

Images: wps.com, AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE.

The future of the Women’s Professional Soccer league (WPS) has been thrown into doubt yet again after the termination of the majicJacks franchise. The WPS, which comprised six teams prior to the ‘Jacks expulsion, was already operating under a one year waiver of the US Soccer rule that a league must have a minimum of eight teams to be recognised. It is now in the process of applying for a further waiver in time to reap the benefits of a USWNT showing at London 2012.

Western New York Flash won the league last season. Will they be the last to do so? Image: AP Photo/Dan Cappellazzo.

If the WPS does fold, it will be the second time a women’s league has done so in the US in the last eight years. The Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA), whose founding players included 1999 World Cup winners Brandi Chastain and Mia Hamm, suspended operations in 2003, citing lower-than-anticipated TV viewing and attendance figures.

What do you make of this, Kickettes? We broke many a convention with our coverage of the Women’s World Cup earlier this year, and judging by your enthusiastic response, you enjoyed it. But it is hard to argue against economic realities, and if both support and finance are lacking, should attempts to push a women’s league structure cease? Does football as a whole have a responsibility to care for all its players? If yes, do you feel the women’s game should somehow be subsidised by the men’s, at least until it gets on it’s feet?

We just know you’ll have something to say on the subject.

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13 Responses to “WPS: Another League Bites The Dust?”

  1. littlegreenpea says:

    dude. I went to SO MANY WPS games last year. I would be so sad to see it go; it really is entertaining soccer. :(

  2. Suzanne says:

    Catie2838 (and others),
    The games, at least up to the most recent season, have been on the Fox Soccer cable channel and there is also a live "match tracker" function online on the Fox Soccer website. I hope they can continue that TV coverage

    There's also a pretty active set of forums about the WPS on the Bigsoccer.com forums, under "Women's Soccer" to get fairly up to date news.

  3. Ezm says:

    The league has been sanctioned for 2012 with only 5 teams participating. I honestly hope they can build on all the good will earned during the world cup and again during the Olympics to find new investors and bring in more teams. USA has such a good college program but the league has always struggled leading to a loss of talented players once they graduate. Heres hoping US soccer federation can find a way to make it work.

  4. haley says:

    you REALLY need to update this. THE LEAUGE HAS BEEN SAVED!!!! 2012 BABY ;)

  5. April says:

    Sad news, because some of our best female players are in this league, and others from around the world, too, since the US is one of the few countries where women may be able to be as successful as men in a sport (though, that may speak more to the lesser reception that MLS receives versus other sports). But I am not terribly surprised, given that MLS is not exactly booming. It's so hard for the sport to compete… it can do really well in college sports, but as a professional sport it is running up against heavy hitters for viewers/money/tv rights.

  6. Catie2838 says:

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that the WPS was already supposed to be working in conjunction with the MLS, both for funding, etc. to make sure it wouldn't meet the same fate as the WUSA and to help build interest in women's soccer (or it was the WUSA that was doing that…or the plan was to eventually do that…not sure). One thing I can say, I could never find women's soccer games! We have a semi-pro team that plays locally in my area, but their season had ended before we found out where. And trying to find games on TV? Forget it. I think we were able to get one women's soccer game after the Women's World Cup, and that was it. If the idea is to make the league make money, which first you have to drum up interest in, then you have to at least make the games available to people. Considering all the teams are along the eastern seaboard, that's at least 2/3 of a country who rely on televised games (granted, we may not have ordered the correct bundle of soccer channels from my satellite provider – has anyone else had problems getting the games?)

    I don't know enough about how this league was run to really say what went wrong, but I get the overall feeling that half the people working in the WPS (and I talking about those behind desks, not the players) don't care if it succeeds or not (ex: the idiot who bought majicJacks).

  7. lone- Brazil says:

    What a shame! the sport is so great pity that today do not just have talent but you need money too!

  8. Green 4 says:

    So sad to hear this…..

  9. tracy765 says:

    This is really a sad story. I'd encourage interested Kickette Army members to read up on the magicJack's demise on Deadspin. The owner comes across as a disgusting tool determined to undermine the team's chance of success every step of the way. http://deadspin.com/5863448/i-expected-nothing-le…
    In the bigger picture, I don't know what the answer is for the WPS. I am not sure the MLS is in any position to help them out financially, as I don't believe most MLS teams are currently profitable.

    • Catie2838 says:

      This guy sounds like one of those angry miserable people who will always remain angry and miserable. Which further begs the question, why on earth did he buy the team to begin with?

    • April says:

      Deadspin is hardly a site I would read anything relating to women on, unfortunately. They're just as much disgusting tools as the owner :(

  10. Rachael says:

    I think it’s a shame womens football in America isn’t catching on it’s quite popular in England and is always supported by the male version of the club. Hope they fight for survival and win.