Sounders Women owners express interest in joining top-flight league

Jane Gershovich/Sounders Women

Although no top flight league currently exists, the owners of the Sounders Women have now said they are among the groups interested in putting a team in Seattle.

The owners of the Sounders Women called a press conference on Tuesday, ostensibly to announce their interest in fielding a team at the highest level possible of women's professional soccer. Beyond that, though, there wasn't much concrete to report.

They did confirm that Amy Carnell is no longer working for them and that they chose not to extend her contract after last season. No other details around the circumstances of their separation were given.

Combined with Carnell's previously published email and the previously expressed interest of Seattle businessman Bill Predmore in fielding a professional team, we can also safely say that Seattle is the mystery two-ownership market that U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati referred to in his comments last Friday.

What does this mean, though? That's a very gray area.

Lane Smith and Cliff McElroy, who bought the Sounders Women last year, said they are going to field a team one way or another. That will almost certainly include an entry in the USL's W-League, where the Sounders Women played last year and have every year since 2001.

It gets a more confusing from there.

The biggest issue is that, as of right now, there is no pro league. Gulati suggested that some announcements could come by the end of the month, but as of right now there is nothing concrete. It's entirely possibly that this pro league will never come to fruition. A big part of this coming together is the United States national team players agreeing to participate in it. If they do, Gulati suggested the federation may either pay or supplement their salaries.

Until the framework of an actual league is figured out, it's impossible to say how many teams will be competing. It does appear that one of them will be in Seattle, but it will be U.S. Soccer's decision as to who the owners will be.

Smith said he's planning the Sounders Women to play regardless. If it's in this pro league, they could potentially field a second reserve or amateur side in the W-League. If Predmore's ownership is awarded the team, Smith said he would still want to field an amateur Sounders Women team in the W-League.

Hopefully, U.S. Soccer will provide some clarification soon, but right now it does seem like a bit of a mess.

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