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WPS folds after 3 seasons because of pride

Written by Dill Pickle

Today is a sad day. Many of you never gave the WPS a chance, and find yourself sitting back saying “I told you so.”

Being a supporter of female club and college soccer, I wanted nothing more than a professional outlet for these hard-working, extremely talented ladies. For us supporters, it’s hard not to ask the question, why does women’s professional soccer keep failing? The answer is simple…PRIDE.

The most successful women’s professional sport is, without question, tennis. Women’s tennis is almost as popular as men’s tennis (at least there is a debate)! But, how did they get there? The main reason is women’s tennis piggy-backed men’s tennis until they became self-sustaining. Both men and women play in the same 4 majors, on the same courts, on the same weekend, and on the same channel. The TV rights are sold together.

The WPS refused to ride on the MLS’s coattails. They wanted their own stadiums, their own team names, their own everything. But women’s sports just can’t support themselves at this point in time. They need help from men’s sports, and that’s a tough pill to swallow. Heck, the WNBA only exists because they are subsidized by the NBA and share arenas/markets. Why not have the Los Angeles Lady Galaxy? They could play at Home Depot Center a few hours before the men’s team, and you could sell day-passes that allow fans to watch both.

Club, HS, and College soccer are played by more females than males. They deserve a professional league as well. I just hope someone learns from tennis and gives it another shot.


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  • Soccer Lover

    Fair comment for sure. Whether we like it or not, women’s soccer is not appreciated by the majority of paying soccer customers. Just go to the majority of games at universities which sponsor men’s and women’s soccer. There will be twice, maybe three times, as many spectators at the men’s game! This is still a very chauvinistic society, again whether we like that assertion or not. Combining with the men would surely give women a chance, but I doubt that (a) a successor to WPS will see it that way or (b) that the men will accept such a partnership.

    • Chauvinism has little to do with it and frankly, it’s just a cop out. The level of athleticism in Mens Soccer and virtually every other sport is just more exciting to the average paying fan. Fans pay to see athletes do what they themselves cannot. To suggest that these private, professional organizations should feel morally obligated to subsidize a womans league simply because its the “fair and politically correct” thing to due is ridiculous and just bad business. Now before y’all get your panty’s in a wad reading this, please understand that this opinion is coming from a “token male” who spends the bulk of his time and disposable income supporting women’s sports. I attend Stanford Womans Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Volleyball and lacrosse events on a regular basis. When the FC Gold Pride were here, I attended nearly every home game for two years. I attend these events and support these programs because I appreciate the athletes for their skill, not because they deserve equal treatment. Professional sports leagues and franchises are first and foremost businesses. Businesses require profit to sustain themselves and grow. It’s sad because I love the sport but If the WPS or any other business cannot sustain ITSELF in a fair and free marketplace, then it cannot and should not survive. 

  • samfan

    All I see on the official site is that they have suspended the 2012 season to work out their issues with Borislow.

  • Giggs

    “Club, HS, and College soccer are played by more females than males.”

    Sure about that? Maybe college, due to title 9 (well, not due to the legislation but do to universities not caring about soccer to have both).

  • But MLS hasn’t offered to let WPS “ride on its coattails.” MLS teams, on a tentative and inexpensive basis, have tip-toed into partnerships with willing local teams. (Vancouver is an exception, but if you read what Ciara McCormack has to say, you’ll find the situation less than ideal for women.)

    Also, WPS-MLS doubleheaders fared poorly. It was rather sad to see RFK Stadium empty while the Freedom played and United fans stayed out to tailgate in Lot 8.

    Sharing facilities, organizations and fans can help, as Joanna Lohman suggested recently. But at the same time, it’s not a cure-all. WPSL commissioner Jerry Zanelli says combined men/women organizations will drop the women’s team at the first sign of trouble, and there’s plenty of evidence from St. Louis to Hamburg to back him up.

    So I’d have to disagree that it’s “pride” keeping women’s teams and men’s teams separated. It’s skepticism. It’s the knowledge that the Columbus Crew aren’t quite as well-established as Arsenal or Lyon. It’s the fact that MLS is just now getting over the hump and hasn’t made the women’s game a priority at any level from youth to pro.

  • Anna

    I don’t see it as pride but caution.  When times get tough, there’s no guarantee men’s programs wouldn’t cut women’s teams.  Santos ditched their women’s program and I believe Hamburg just did the same.  There’s something to be said for independence and not having to worry that your program will be sacrificed to shore up the men’s finances.

  • But would MLS go along with this? Do they have the money to play the kind of salaries you’d need to entice the top talent that WPS had? The NBA is a top-3 sport and as such can afford to carry the few WNBA franchises there are, which are less than 10 years ago. And are the audiences the same for the Galaxy as they would be for the Lady Galaxy? Team sports are different from individual sports like tennis. MLS has to have a reason to want to subsidize a WMLS.

  • Anonymous

    “I will tell you one thing that certainly put the dagger in the Heart of
    the WPS, which was Team USAs failure to qualify for the London Olympics.”

    Wha…?  Did you not follow the Olympic Qualifying Tournament at which the US dominated and qualified easily before handing the hosts, Canada, a huge loss in the championship 4-0?  Maybe this is why women’s soccer is struggling so much, people don’t know what in the world they are talking about.

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