The Women’s Professional Soccer league has officially disbanded. While this comes as no surprise after the league suspended its 2012 season earlier this year, it is still as sad development for women’s soccer and for women’s sports in general. While many players were planning to skip the WPS season this year to train for the Olympics, several individual players found homes with teams in other leagues; most notably, stars Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, and Megan Rapinoe are all playing in the W-League for the Seattle Sounders. The loss of the WPS leaves a hole in the women’s soccer world, at least in this country. However, there are some hopeful signs that some of the other leagues, the W-League and the WPSL, may be able to step up and fill the gap.
It’s a daunting task to create a space for any sport within the crammed landscape in this country that is dominated by the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and even the MLS. These giants cast long and dark shadows that make it difficult for new leagues to sprout and to thrive. This is not a problem just for women’s sports. The MLS is growing in popularity but it has taken almost twenty years and much tinkering to reach this point. Both Arena Football League and NFL Europe have both closed down in recent years despite the absurdly high popularity of football. As disappointing as it is that another women’s professional soccer league has failed to make it, it is encouraging to see that there are other leagues that may be able to find the formula for sustainability.
I know it sucks that the league shut down, but I’m here for you. I scoured the interweb to find out where you can see some of your favorite players take to the pitch. Don’t forget, so many lovely footballers will be gracing your television this summer when the London Olympics start. See, there is a silver lining after all.
Megan Rapinoe, Hope Solo, Sidney Leroux, and Alex Morgan
While the US Olympic team has not been finalized, these four players all have excellent chances of making the squad that will compete in London this summer. Before July all four players will be lacing them up for the Seattle Sounders of the W League. If you go to a game look for Trish Bendix, she’ll be the one jumping up and down in the Rapinoe jersey (she and 50 bazillion other lesbians).
When the WPS suspended its season the United States lost its best shot to see Marta take the field. Marta took her incomparable skills to Sweden where she plays for Tyresö FF. She and Brazil will travel to London for the Olympics this summer where they seek revenge for the U.S.’s last second heroics in the quarterfinals of last summer’s Women’s World Cup.
Alex Scott and Kelly Smith
Both Scott and Smith are favorites to make the Great Britain team that will hope to win a Gold Medal for the hosts at the London Olympics. Until July you can see both players, who used to play for the Boston Breakers in the WPS, compete for Arsenal’s ladies team.
Finally, as we reported earlier, the US Women’s National Team will play two more games on US soil (May 27 and June 30) and a couple in Sweden (June 16 and 18) before they head over to London to bring home something gold and shiny.
How upset are you about the loss of the WPS? Do you think either the W-League or the WPSL has a chance to succeed? What other players are you watching to numb the pain?