Women's Professional Soccer

Women's Professional Soccer

Infobox football league

pixels = 250
country = United States
confed = CONCACAF
founded = 2007
teams = 7 (2009)
10 (2010)
levels = 1
domest_cup =
confed_cup =
champions =
most successful club =
season =
tv = Fox Soccer Channel,
Fox Sports Net
website = http://www.womensprosoccer.com

Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) is the top level professional women's soccer league in the United States that will begin play in Spring 2009. The league will replace the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA), which folded after the 2003 season. WPS will field teams in the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey/New York, St. Louis and Washington, D.C. in 2009 and will add Atlanta, Philadelphia, and the delayed Dallas franchise for 2010.

The league, which had gone by the working name "Women's Soccer, LLC", announced its name and logo in January 2008.

=2009 Teams=WPS Labelled Map|float=right
* Bay Area (unnamed)
* Boston Breakers
* Chicago Red Stars
* Sky Blue FC (New Jersey/New York)
* Los Angeles (unnamed)
* St. Louis
* Washington Freedom

Future expansion

* Atlanta (2010) [cite press release
title = Atlanta to host Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) team in 2010
publisher = Women's Professional Soccer
date = August 11, 2008
url = http://www.womensprosoccer.com/newsitem_ektid4218.aspx
accessdate = 2008-08-11
* Philadelphia (2010) [cite press release |url= http://www.womensprosoccer.com/newsitem_ektid2884.aspx |title= Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) plans to expand to Philadelphia in 2010, bringing league to eight teams | publisher = Women's Professional Soccer |date=May 27, 2008 |accessdate=2008-08-11 ]
* Dallas Sting (2010) [cite web |url= http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/spt/soccer/stories/080608dnsposting.46851a2.html |title= Sting seeks Dallas home for women's league season |accessdate=2008-08-07 |publisher=Dallas Morning News]


After the folding of Women's United Soccer Association, which played its third and final full season in 2003, WUSA Reorganization Committee was formed in September of that year. The committee led to the founding in November 2004 of the non-profit organization, Women's Soccer Initiative, Inc. (WSII), whose stated goal was "promoting and supporting all aspects of women's soccer in the United States", including the founding of a new professional league. [cite web
url= http://www.wsii.org/wsii/about.html
title= An Introduction to Women's Soccer Initiative, Inc.
publisher=Women's Soccer Initiative, Inc.

Attempts to relaunch WUSA in full fell through in 2004 (when the league's member teams played the WUSA Festival instead) and 2005.cite news
title=Will WUSA live again?"
work=San Diego Union-Tribune
] In June 2006, WSII announced the relaunch of the league for the 2008 season. [cite news
title=U.S. Women's Pro League Prepares to Blast Back Onto Soccer Scene
date=June 28, 2006
work=Fox News
] In December 2006, the organization announced that it reached an agreement with six owner-operators for teams based in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Washington, DC, and a then-unnamed city (Boston and New York/New Jersey were announced later). [cite news
title=Relaunch of WUSA set for spring 2008
date=June 28, 2006
] On May 27, 2008, the league announced that it would expand to Philadelphia for the 2010 season, with the franchise likely sharing facilities with the expansion Major League Soccer franchise. Despite being the eighth named team, the league is still considering adding an eighth team to play in the league's inaugural season. [cite web |url= http://www.womensprosoccer.com/newsitem_ektid2884.aspx |title= Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) plans to expand to Philadelphia in 2010, bringing league to eight teams |date=2008-05-28 |publisher=Women's Professional Soccer] As of August 9, 2008, the eighth team for the inaugural season was tentatively announced as being located in San Diego. [cite web |url= http://www.womensprosoccer.com/soccer_ektid3606.aspx |title= San Diego Finalizing WPS Ownership Group |date=2008-08-09 |publisher=Women's Professional Soccer]

In September 2007, the launch was pushed back from Spring of 2008 to 2009 to avoid clashing with 2007 Women's World Cup and the 2008 Olympic Games and to ensure that all of the teams were fully prepared for long-term operations. [cite news
title=Women's pro soccer team put on hold
work=St. Louis Business Journal

On January 17, 2008, the new name, Women's Professional Soccer, and logo featuring the silhouette of retired player Mia Hamm were announced.cite news
title=Hamm's imprint made on new women's soccer league
work=USA Today

Business model

WSII CEO Tonya Antonucci said that unlike WUSA, which had higher expectations and employed a top-down model, WPS would take "a local, grass roots approach", and "a slow and steady growth type of approach", citing WUSA's losses of close to $100 million. She said the new league would have a closer relationship with Major League Soccer, the top men's professional league in the United States, to cut costs on staff and facilities, and for marketing.

The team budgets for the inaugural season will be $2.5 million. [cite news
publisher="San Diego Uninon-Tribune"
date=June 18 2008

Player allocation

Player allocation began on September 16 2008, after the Beijing Olympics in August, when WPS announced the allocation of 21 US national team players, three players per each, to the seven teams that begin play in 2009.cite news
title=Wambach goes full circle as women's league stocks rosters
publisher="USA Today"
date=September 16 2008
] In addition to preferences of players and teams, the league considered regional ties, as well as past team affiliations. Lori Chalupny (St. Louis), Heather O'Reilly and Christie Rampone (New Jersey), Shannon Boxx, Stephanie Cox and Aly Wagner (Los Angeles), and Ali Krieger (Washington) all grew up near their teams, while Bay Area's Leslie Osborne, Rachel Buehler, and Nicole Barnhart played for colleges in the region. Former Boston Breakers players Kristine Lilly and Angela Hucles previously played for the team in the WUSA, and Abby Wambach and Krieger previously played for Washington Freedom in the WUSA and the W-League, respectively. [cite news
title=Women's Professional Soccer U.S. national team allocation results
date=September 16 2008
publisher="The Washington Examiner"

A week later, on September 24 2008, the league held an international player draft, in which the seven teams selected four international players each.cite press release
title= Coach DiCicco Targets Attacking Flair in WPS International Draft
date=September 25 2008
publisher=Boston Breakers
] Four of the first five selections, first pick Formiga (Bay Area), Marta (#3, Los Angeles), Daniela (#4, St. Louis), and Cristiane (#5 Chicago) were Brazilian, [cite news
title=Brazilians dominate women's international draft
date=September 25 2008
publisher="Soccer America"
] and a total of 10 Brazilian players were selected. England's Kelly Smith (#2, Boston) and Japan's Homare Sawa (#6, Washington), and Australia's Sarah Walsh rounded out the first round. [cite news
title=Brazilian stars selected in women's draft
date=September 24 2008
publisher=Associated Press
] By drafting a player, a team gained the right to negotiate with the player upon receiving permission from her current club, or if she was in the last six months of her contract. The draft order was based on a weighted ranking determined by a vote of league coaches following the U.S. women's national team allocation.

A general draft was held on October 6 2008, and is to be followed by a combine for college seniors and undrafted players in December 2008 and a post-combine draft in January 2009, and local tryouts by individual teams in February 2009. [cite press release
title=Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) Announces Post-Olympics Timeline for National Player Allocation, Team Tryouts
publisher=Women's Professional Soccer

Media Coverage

Fox Soccer Channel will air weekly Sunday night matches plus the WPS All-Star Game with Fox Sports Net to air semifinal and league championship matches. The national television contract will be in effect through the 2011 season with an option for 2012. [cite news
title=Fox Soccer Channel Nets WPS Pact: Multiyear Partnership Provides For Live Women's Game Of Week; Comcast Could Provide Regional Carriage
publisher=Multichannel News


ee also

*Women's United Soccer Association

;other women's top pro-level North American sports leagues
* National Pro Fastpitch (NPF)
* National Women's Hockey League (NWHL)
* Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)

External links

* [http://www.womensprosoccer.com/ Women's Professional Soccer]
*myspace|womensprofessionalsoccer|Women's Professional Soccer

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