Where Shall We Go?   1 comment

With the demise of Women’s Professional Soccer earlier this year, the landscape of women’s soccer in the United States has shifted, with no clear first-division league and with no legitimate pyramid of leagues that one can look at and determine where to place their team or club.  Currently, there are three leagues which exist on a regional and/or national level, those being the Women’s Premier Soccer League, the United Soccer Leagues’ W-League, and Women’s League Soccer.  What do each league offer and where would Milwaukee United find its best fit both at the outset and long-term?

The Women’s Premier Soccer League has been in existence since 1998 and is home to more than 70 clubs across the country which play regionally with the top teams in each region advancing to a national tournament at the end of July.  The Midwest Conference has 7 teams at present (down from a high of 11 or 12 last season), with FC Milwaukee and the Madison 56ers two of those.  Initial buy-in to the league and annual dues are fairly low and a large organizational infrastructure isn’t necessary, making it a viable home for an upstart club built on college players home for the summer or one looking to expand playing opportunities for those who age-out of a club’s youth system.

The W-League is the longest-running women’s soccer league in the country, beginning in 1995.  Incidentially (or perhaps not so incidentally), the WPSL was formed by a handful of W-League teams that broke away over league rules/management.  The W-League at present has thirty teams in the United States and Canada, with most if not all affiliated with Premier Development League (men’s U23) or USL Pro teams.  The cost to enter the league is much higher than that of WPSL (on the order of maybe 5-6x) and a larger organization necessary to operate the team.  There are currently no W-League teams in the midwest.

Women’s League Soccer started in 2011 with 11 teams based in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois.  The 2012 season is being contested by five teams (Des Moines Menace, Cincinnati Lady Saints, Fort Wayne SC, FC Indiana South Bend, and FC Indiana based in Lafayette).  I have sent questions about the league to the head of the Cincinnati Lady Saints and am awaiting a response.

Based on those initial impressions, it would look like WPSL is the most stable and thus best place for us to establish a team.  In my opinion, the WPSL is the best league top-to-bottom and structurally in the US and I could perceive that being our long-term home.  However, there is a part of me that looks at WLS and sees the Christmas tree from “Charlie Brown”, in that it could become something great for the game in this part of the country (where there is no W-League and where teams go in and out of WPSL on an almost-yearly basis) as it is not part of the WPSL/USL war (in fact, FC Indiana SB is the sister side of the PDL’s Indiana Invaders and FC Indiana’s top team plays in WPSL Elite).  It also could provide a viable 2nd division for women’s soccer, where clubs/teams could grow and perhaps move into either WPSL or W-League while also allowing for a team to remain in WLS.  I will provide updates on this question as the summer moves along and I get more information from those involved with the leagues.

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Posted June 19, 2012 by Scott in Uncategorized

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One response to “Where Shall We Go?

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  1. Pingback: A Brainstorm for Women’s Soccer in the Midwest « Milwaukee United Soccer Club

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