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WPS - Save It, Or Start Over

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Women's Pro Soccer may not be failing, but it is in danger. Their sanction is in doubt as there are only five teams in the league for 2012. There is a lawsuit against WPS from a former team owner. While attendance was significantly up after the Women's World Cup there is an issue about revenue not being greater than costs.

So everyone has their own idea on what to do. Former MLS and WPS GM Peter Wilt wants to kill off the fully pro league and replace it with a semi-pro but national system. Others have started a petition to try and convince the USSF to sanction and support WPS in 2012. Beau Dure is covering the issues with WPS rather well over at his blog with some writing for www.ESPNw.com where you find more than this summation of events.

What we know is that the players want to play, but most aren't signing contracts until they know what is going on with the women's game in the USA. Now I'm certainly not an expert on the women's game, not even following teams tagentally outside of the USWNT, but I do know a little bit about women's sports.

During the 2000 and 2001 seasons I worked as a producer on the Seattle Storm WNBA broadcasts. I saw the joy in families, the pleasure in parents and hope in young women and children that they could become fully professional athletes some day. Soccer needs that as well. It needs it from a societal aspect, but there is a nagging issue with professionalism. A women's league can not be run as a charity. It must be able to cover costs, either on an annual basis or make more money on a sale than the ownership lost during their tenure.

The USA and Canada needs a women's league. It does not matter what it is called. Maybe semi-pro is the answer right now - it is the answer in Japan, and they're pretty good nationally. Pro women's sports have enough of an uphill battle without the drama at the very top. Let's hope the leadership of USSF and the various leagues (WPS, WPSL and W-League) can find a system that works for players, fans and for businesses.