Thanks to Sounderatheart.com for the link to the story
There's been a lot of time spent the last few days talking about theoretical new sports franchises in Seattle, but today we have something fairly concrete; Seattle will be teaming up with San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Jose/San Francisco to join the new top flight Women's Professional Soccer League.
The WPSL has been a division two league for several years now, much like the W-League the Sounders Women play in now. The league will also include the Boston Breakers and Western New York Flash of the Women's Pro Soccer league, as well as some D-2 WPSL teams like Chicago and Indiana (with more teams announced soon). With the financial problems that Women's Pro Soccer (the current top-flight women's league) is having, the WPSL looks at the very least to step into that void if the league collapses (2012 season is cancelled) and at best give the country two competing leagues with representation in the west.
- It's my sincere hope that this new team plays its home matches at Memorial Stadium at Seattle Center. Nothing feels more minor-league than to have professional teams playing on college grounds, and hopefully the demand for Womens soccer in Seattle is greater than the 4,000 capacity that Starfire can supply. Memorial's 17,000 capacity may be a bit too big, but if they can replicate the Sounders success, it could be the perfect solution. This team would step in and immediately become the primary tenant, not to mention helping to keep the Center healthy now that it's clear NBA and NHL won't be played there. It's almost poetic to put another Sounders team in there when soccer mania started on those grounds almost 40 years ago.
- Is there any doubt that Portland and Vancouver would be future expansion targets? Vancouver's womens team is one of the most successful in the league, and Portland just had a great showing for the national team a few months ago.
- Keep the Sounders name. After only three years, the Sounders are right there with the Galaxy and Cosmos as the biggest soccer brand in the country. A partnership would benefit the new team in so many ways, not the least of which is tapping into an energized soccer fanbase. It would only take one in five of current Sounders supporters, along with a few people that don't care about men's soccer, to make the Sounders women a huge success.