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The Telegram
  • Editorial: New professional women's soccer league to debut in 2013

  • Will the third time be the charm for a women's professional soccer league in the United States? U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati announced Wednesday during a conference call in Chicago that an eight-team league will begin play in the spring of 2013.

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  • Will the third time be the charm for a women's professional soccer league in the United States? U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati announced Wednesday during a conference call in Chicago that an eight-team league will begin play in the spring of 2013.
    The league is slated to kickoff in March/April 2013. Wednesday, Gulati was joined by representatives of the Canadian Soccer Association, the Federation of Mexican Football, and Boston Breakers Managing Partner Michael Stoller, speaking on behalf of the owners.
    Two previous professional women's leagues in the United States ultimately folded, beginning with the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA), which ran from 2000-2003, and the most recent Women's Professional Soccer (WPS), which lasted from 2009 through 2011.
    The new professional league will include the Boston Breakers, Western New York Flash, Sky Blue FC of New Jersey, the Chicago Red Stars, and one team each in Washington, D.C., Portland, Ore., Seattle, and Kansas City. Gulati said that 24 U.S. Women’s National Team players, 16 players from Canada’s National Team and 12 from the Mexican National Team will be a part of the league.
    "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," Gulati said. "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.
    "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," he said. "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."
    Stoller believes the current setup, with all three federations in the mix, will help sustain a successful and sustainable league.
    “We, as the owners of the teams, are all very excited about this league and the return of professional women’s soccer to the sports landscape in North America," Stoller said. "There has been a tremendous amount of work done over the past several months. We are also very appreciative to the Canadian and the Mexican Federations for supporting the league and joining in on this effort.”
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