An Open Letter to New NWSL Executive Director Jeff Plush

Dear Mr. Plush,

Welcome aboard.

I’ll be the first to admit I am wary of your selection. Probably a wariness borne of failed leagues and less than transparent processes, but wary none the less. It certainly doesn’t help that we (fans) found out you were even necessary by way of an errant job posting by the NCAA. See? Wary. There are many other instances over the first two years of the league and this is but one example of the lack of transparency we are tiring of quickly.

I would like to be less wary, and I would like you to have a big part in that. Your business credentials are more than up to snuff for the position of league commissioner, my concern lies in your lack of involvement up to this point with women’s soccer specifically.  I live in Colorado and therefore am familiar with your time at the Colorado Rapids organization. I am also not aware of any dealings you have had in connection with the women’s USL W-League team that held the Rapid’s name during that time. If there was any, I ( and many others) would like to know what that might have been. It seems an opportunity was there for you to be involved and yet, you weren’t. And now you want to run our league. See? Still wary.

I appreciate the fact that you were integral in growing MLS, but the women’s league is not MLS or MLS-lite and is in fact different in many ways. The women’s game hasn’t yet been tainted by big money and all the baggage that brings. That’s not to say that someday we wouldn’t like to see players earn a living wage and view playing professional soccer as a viable occupation. We’d like to have games televised as often as possible and sell out venues and have merchandise readily available. We’d like to have budgets and rosters that allow for the best in the women’s game to play here and thrive. We’d like all of that and more, but none of that is worth anything if we sacrifice our integrity or the things that make the women’s game special.

And now I guess that’s your job, you and the owners. Grow our game and our league into a viable, sustainable, entertaining, product that attracts kids and adults in equal measure, a league that values its integrity in all dealings, a league that is transparent and accessible, to fans and media and business.

Personally, I challenge you to make me (and those like me) less wary. I challenge you to make the changes and goings on more transparent, much more transparent. I challenge you to be first to make the announcement when a rule changes or a determination has been made. I challenge you to not make the league MLS-lite. I challenge you to keep those things that are so enjoyable about the women’s game enjoyable. Access to players is one of the special parts of the league and I’m sure it doesn’t have to be sacrificed as the league attendance grows. I challenge you to do all of this and more because that’s what the game deserves. I challenge you to make me your fan..which might be your biggest challenge of all.

As Red Green is fond of saying,

 “Remember, I’m pulling for ya, we’re all in this together”

Thanks for your time. I hope to hear from you soon.

Always a fan,

Diane.

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