The United States Soccer Federation announced Wednesday the formation of a new professional women's soccer league. The league will feature eight teams in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The announcement was made by USSF President Sunil Gulati, according to Reuters. This will be the third attempt at creating a professional women's soccer league. The first attempt at a pro women's league was the Women's United Soccer Association, which started in 2000 but closed its doors in 2003. The most recent was Women's Professional Soccer, which folded in May 2012 after just three seasons. The WPS featured Brazil's Marta, United States national team captain Hope Solo and Abby Wambach.
While the previous two leagues failed due to financial problems, Gulati promised that this one will be more viable thanks to a shared economic plan.
According to ProSoccerTalk, USSF will providing funding for office and administrative costs. Player salaries will be split among the USSF, Canadian Federation and Mexican Federation. Each federation will be responsible for its national team players. There will be 24 U.S. Women's National Team members, 16 Canadians and at least 12 Mexicans.
Most importantly, the cost-sharing among the three biggest soccer nations in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) should provide the league with some stability, according to Gulati. The federations have also considered other factors to reduce cost, include choosing more affordable stadiums and reducing travel costs by having teams located closer to one another.
Another important incentive for the professional women's soccer league's success will extend beyond just monetary growth and the sport's growth, according to ProSoccerTalk. PST notes the U.S, Mexico and Canada all need a way to train new players for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. The U.S. is a women's soccer powerhouse with Canada close behind. Mexico is developing its women's soccer program and would definitely want a place to nurture talent.
The league will kick off in March. The eight U.S. teams will be from Washington, D.C, Boston, Chicago, New Jersey, Kansas City, Seattle, Portland and Western New York, notes Reuters.
The season will last 22 games, according to The Washington Post. There have been few details released, including basics like the league's name, playoff structure, any sponsors or investors, team names and stadiums. The Washington Post reports that the D.C. women's team will play in the Maryland SoccerPlex, with ticket sales starting next week.