I hope you don’t mind me addressing you as Cheryl, I feel you are as much a fan of the game as anyone and I’m writing one fan to another.
So, Cheryl what’s going on?
I recently became aware of MLS team Houston Dynamo’s interest in joining NWSL. I was very happy with the initial season of NWSL and thought the decision not to expand in 2014 was a good one. The reasons Mr. Gulati gave were all sound and seemed well thought out. Now it seems that isn’t the case and Houston is giving the impression that if they show good enough numbers NWSL will allow them in for 2014. This concerns me, how about you?
This is troubling on so many levels, but mainly it’s a trust issue for me. After two failed leagues I am totally invested in the success of NWSL. I was ecstatic when USSF announced its formation and supported it with my time and money. I bought season tickets to every team. I traveled to attend games and when I could not, I made sure that someone else was in my seat. I bought merchandise and encouraged everyone I knew to at least give the product a try. I defended short comings and encouraged better efforts, from teams and fellow fans alike. In other words, I bought-in, with words and money and time, I bought-in. And I am certainly not alone.
Now it seems that after convincing me NWSL/USSF finally got it right, it’s all going wrong. Make no mistake, I truly do support the league and that’s why I’m concerned. When so many people, on both sides of the business, invest their energy in something with the expectation that it will be better handled than their last two investments only to see things happening that question whether those expectations will be met, it’s disheartening.
I trust NWSL/USSF to say what they mean and mean what they say. When the president of USSF clearly states “no expansion in 2014”, as a fan I trust that to be true. And I’m sure that future investors trust that also. I know other teams, as well as Houston, have eyes on an expansion team, what message does this push by Houston send to them?
If USSF/NWSL has no intention of allowing Houston in for 2014, they should say so, and the opposite holds true, don’t you think? Or is USSF/NWSL so interested in getting more MLS involvement that they’ll go back on their own word to get it? And if they were to allow Houston a 2014 team, does that give the green light to other MLS teams that they can also impose their will on NWSL? And to extrapolate that out, what happens when NWSL becomes MLS-Lite and teams decide it’s too much trouble? Does NWSL fold like the first two leagues?
Are you starting to see where I’m coming from, Cheryl? I’m a fan. I love the game and support the league, but this new iteration has very little transparency of late and not enough history to make me feel comfortable with this expansion talk. As a fan, don’t you want to know what the league intends? I understand business and that most negotiations are out of sight, but the ill will this will create with other teams looking to join NWSL just isn’t necessary. As a fan I’ll put up with a lot to be able to have a pro women’s league, but I won’t go quietly when I think the league is heading down a wrong path. I think allowing any team in for the 2104 season is the wrong path. And I have nothing against Houston or expanding there, but I am against unequal treatment which seems to be the case since Houston is an MLS team.
Do you think I’m wrong? I’d like you to change my mind, or at least put it at ease. Right now I’m not feeling very happy with my NWSL, how about you? Help me out here.
Thanks for your time, Cheryl. Hope to hear from you soon.
Always a fan,