Influence at the Intersection of MLS and NWSL (or how to start a good debate)

It was announced today that Mia Hamm Garciaparra is one of 22 part owners of the “new” LA MLS team Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC).

It didn’t take long for the conversation to begin about why Mia would put her money into MLS and not into NWSL. Let me preface the rest of this by saying no one has come forth to say if Mia is, or has been asked to be, involved in NWSL. So there’s that.

I truly see the arguments on both sides of this, but I definitely do not agree with the side that says she should invest in NWSL because she’s Mia Hamm; because she has money and power, because she – I don’t know, “owes” soccer something?

Mia Hamm has carried the torch for women’s soccer in the U.S.A. and in many parts of the world for over 15 years. She was part of the 1999 World Cup team that started the idea that there could even be a women’s soccer league in the United States. She was one of 20 founding players of WUSA in 2001. Mia Hamm has been influential and has lent her name and likeness and experience to so many things supporting women’s soccer I can’t even begin to list them all.

MLS (and NWSL) in the United States is a business, like any other professional sport. If a prominent retired women’s soccer player wants to put her money anywhere in the sport, it is truly a disservice to criticize where.

Has anyone been able to find out if she has been involved in an NWSL team or a team looking to get into the league? Has anyone asked her to get on board? Maybe she is is involved with LAFC looking to incorporate a women’s team in the future. Maybe she’s sick of all the fan back-biting and wants none of it. The fact is, we don’t know if either of these scenarios, or any others are true. Wouldn’t women’s soccer be better served if someone were to answer these questions before they start the discussion?

I guess my problem with the discussion as it stands is it comes from such a negative perspective. Wouldn’t the sport and it’s fans and leagues be better off by celebrating the fact that an ex-women’s soccer player has ascended to this level in the soccer world and look for ways to leverage that?

I always think there will be questions that need answers, but we should make sure we’re asking the right questions.

If you think the right question was asked, I’d like to see your reasoning in the comment. Let’s talk.