United States women’s team captain Christie Rampone has it absolutely right when she expresses concern that national team fortunes are powerfully entwined with WPS (or a national league of similar quality.)
“Players become good after they leave college,” Rampone just told Gol.com.
Rampone (second from right in picture) said in the article that she hasn’t been updated on WPS recovery efforts since January. That’s no great news considering pro soccer’s critical role in the developmental puzzle.
“All of the countries are catching up and I don’t want for us to struggle to realize that we need a league here,” she said.
Which is all true. Unfortunately, this unarguable “need” is hardly the central piece of this difficult equation. It’s all about economics; this is not and never will be a charitable venture. Business leaders interested in soccer must get together, pool the very best ideas and find a way to make the women’s pro game financially feasible.
And, perhaps just as critically, they absolutely must learn from history. The models certainly exist on how not to do it. WUSA showed everyone how over-ambition and hubris could smash a glistening opportunity. The lessons are still being sorted out from WPS, but they surely include the jeopardy of adding ownership when goals are not aligned for the common good.