New Year..Same Old Song

Happy 2016, Everyone!

If you follow the USWNT and you follow me you know I have some strong opinions on how they conduct business. For instance, I was a supporter of Ellis and I was an advocate for letting her do things her way when it came to selecting the WC 2015 roster. That opinion wasn’t popular with many USWNT fans, but I stood behind it and defended it. And now I have another opinion that isn’t popular with many USWNT fans, I think that if the USWNT players are asked/required to play in the NWSL in order to be on the team, it’s a reasonable request by an employer.

I know, I know..we’ve been down this road before (see blog title). The same was asked/required of players before WC selection.

PSG announced today that Lindsay Horan had terminated her contract with them to play in the NWSL, “to join a franchise in her homeland to meet the criteria to represent her country.” Many USWNT fans are up-in-arms over this, like it’s some sort of revelation that players are being asked/required to play domestically in order to be considered for selection. USSF president Sunil Gulati said as much back in 2014.

It’s extraordinarily important for several reasons. It was actually part of our contractual agreement with the women’s national team that they would play in this league,” he said. “That’s important for the league, to have the best players playing in it. For Tom it makes the scheduling a lot easier – he met with them last week. And so the reason we made it a requirement that they’re here is for the league, but also because next year especially is because once we get into (World Cup) qualifying in the fall and beyond, then the schedule and everything will have to be fit around not just our program, but the Canadian program and the Mexican program as well.”  – Equalizer Soccer

Like it or not, the reality is that US Soccer employs the NT players. Playing for the NT is their job. NWSL is not able to sustain them in the same way that some European leagues can sustain their players. If US Soccer signs the check, they get to dictate the terms of employment. The leagues and big teams in Germany and France and Sweden are mostly able to pay the NT players enough that they don’t need to travel far from home to play. Even if European players wanted to play in NWSL many European national teams have intimated that they wanted their players close to home during the WC year..and I’m guessing that also carries over to this Olympic year.

It’s also partly logistics that dictates where a player laces up their boots prior to a WC or Olympic roster selection. While video and jets make observation of players possible, it’s not optimum for evaluation, as anyone who has watched video or flown across more than a few time zones will tell you. That doesn’t even factor in the costs and time spent of air travel..

There are also those pesky little FIFA dates & player contracts to take into consideration. Teams are not obligated to release players on non-FIFA dates to fly across the globe for a camp and a look.

Do I think it’s the best way to do it? In a perfect world, no. We do not live in a perfect WoSo world. We do not live in a world where our NT players can make their living playing in a domestic league, and not in most foreign leagues either. The hard realness of it all is that if we want to have a team as successful as ours is, we have to accept that for a while it means players don’t get to play where they want and still be in prime consideration for selection to the NT. We have to accept that until the NWSL is able to allow players to make a living that US Soccer will be calling the NT shots. We have to accept that USSF, US Soccer and the coaching staff are not the bad guys here. There is no bad guy. What there is is a situation that all parties are working through until it gets better.

As a fan I am most passionate about the game when I see the players play with joy and freedom and fearlessness. I would love for every player to play professionally, if they desire, in a situation that allows them all of these things AND allows them to make a living while they do it. And as a fan I am acutely aware that the women’s game around the globe is nowhere near that realization. We are fortunate in the US to have some of the best conditions for players to develop and realize their dreams, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way or even the best way for every player.

In many, many countries players have no domestic option to play and if they want to pursue a dream they have to leave their home country to do it. So while it seems harsh to many that US Soccer is making demands of their players, it’s far from the worst thing that could happen to them.

When Rio is over and done and the 2016 NWSL season is over I’d put my money on more than a few NT players making a move to play overseas. And I think that international players will also be making moves to sign in the NWSL. For two years everyone will be happy because players will be free to move about..and then comes WC 2019. Hopefully by that time the NWSL will have grown enough that it will need minimal support from US Soccer and the players will have negotiated a good CBA that allows them some freedom of movement. And if not, we will be singing this song again…

 

So Many Thank You’s

Hi, WoSo peeps!
Just a short little note to say Thank You! to all the people who do what they do to make WoSo a thing in my life. I’m grateful to you all, whether we see eye-to-eye on a particular facet of the game, or not. To all the owners, administrators, staff, players and the people I have no idea what you do or where you work, thank you! To all the people who devote countless unpaid hours in support of the game I love, thank you!

I will most certainly be giving my 2 dollars and 2 cents worth about this past NWSL season in the days to come, but I couldn’t wait to say thanks to all the wonderful people involved. I don’t think you all hear it often enough.

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

WoSo Pros – Where Are You?

I just spent 8 hours following or watching (yes, I watch those streams) women’s football from Europe. Four hours of that was consumed by UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-finals. I also managed to multitask Liverpool v Chelsea in EPL play during that time.

During that time I saw one, count it, one tweet from a player I follow (no I don’t follow them all, but I do follow all USWNT/FC Kansas City/Boston Breakers players) about UWCL – or any women’s soccer. I did see lots of tweets from women players about men’s soccer. Do you see where I’m going with this?

If women’s soccer is ever to be taken seriously by fans and supporters it has to also be taken seriously by the players. It is HARD to follow women’s soccer, but that’s no excuse, As easily as you can pick a men’s team or league to follow you can pick a women’s team or league to follow. Picking is the easy part, following is the hard part. Following is the part that takes dedication and effort. Following is what makes a fan and eventually a supporter. Players say they want to lead by example, well that has to extend to what happens in WoSo elsewhere in the world. American professional women’s soccer does not happen in a vacuum. International players bring a lot to the American professional game and international leagues cultivate those players. International leagues also provide some very good American league coaches. And I’d bet you that many (read most) of the women in NWSL had no idea about Laura Harvey or what she’d done at Arsenal Ladies, until she came to America. I could be wrong about that, but nothing in interviews or on social media shows anything to the contrary.

The simple truth is women’s professional soccer in the U.S. needs professional women soccer players to be a fan of their own game around the world. And to convey that interest to fans in the U.S.

If any players want tips or links to watch games I, and many fans, would be more than happy to share what we’ve learned about the trials and tribulations of following women’s soccer around the world. It IS the world’s game and that includes the approximately 50% that are women.

Step up WoSo Pros, step up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deegley’s NWSL Ticket GIVEAWAY Results

Deadline has come and gone and here are the results for week 3:

Submissions for FC Kansas City v Seattle Reign:

#bluesKCore, #bluessoKCer, #reigngiveswaytoblue – @SLFGNR8

All a little clever and the ONLY submission for this game, tickets go to @SLFGNR8

Submissions for WNY Flash v Boston Breakers:

#fromnyloveBOS, #JOLIfever, #PrideforBoston, #BOSvNYbestrivals, #twoteams48greatplayers, #wantSahlenhotdog – all submitted by @bwindover2013

@bwindover2013 gets the tickets to WNY v BOS just for being prolific.

Submissions for Chicago Redstars v Portland Thorns FC:

#theotherteamshave20problemsandtheyareallCRSplayers – @jackiebee44

Seeing as this was also the ONLY entry for this game and it’s a little clever, this one gets the tickets.

Submissions for WNY Flash v Sky Blue FC:

None

All recipients can follow me and DM your mailing address, I will either FedEx or mail the tickets depending on game dates. Thank you all for responding.

Clearly, I haven’t figured out the best way to give these tickets away on twitter, if anyone has a suggestion, please leave it in the comments.

Deegley’s NWSL Ticket GIVEAWAY Details

Everything you need to know about the giveaway..

WHO: Anyone over 13 with a twitter account is eligible for the tickets.

WHAT: 2 tickets for FC Kansas City, Chicago Red Stars, and WNY Flash games in week 3.

WHEN: Giveaway runs from 8AM ET 4/23 until 6PM ET 4/24. Recipients will be notified on twitter no later than 7PM ET 4/24.

WHERE: My twitter account: @Deegley

WHY: Because no good ticket should go to waste.

HOW: Between 8AM ET,4/23 and 6PM ET 4/24, eligible tweeters should tweet a hashtag to @Deegley that best describes the game they wish to attend. The hashtag can either be a description of the battle to take place on the field, or an inspiration for their team, or anything else that pertains to the team(s) or game. Have fun and be creative. Make me laugh and you’re halfway there. Be funny and  clever and you’ll have 2 tickets 🙂

If you have any questions please tweet me or better yet, leave me a comment.

So Many Thoughts, So Little Motivation

I have to chip the new kitten. My car A/C needs service. When will the finalized NWSL rosters come out? Did I eat breakfast? How and where do I subscribe for team streams? Why does my neighbor keep taking my parking spot? Jerk! Who designed this knee brace? They need to be in another line of work.

See what I mean..so many thoughts.

I’ve been remiss in my blogging, so look out! I’m not going to play catch-up as much as I’m going to empty out some of this stuff in my brain weighing me down..maybe then I’ll get motivated. I won’t bore you with my kitten, A/C, breakfast, neighbor, or knee brace thoughts, so that leaves NWSL.

NWSL! I truly am excited that the inaugural game is less than a week away. I will be traveling to Overland Park, Kansas on April 13th to watch FC Kansas City do battle with Portland Thorns FC in the first professional game for both teams in the first game of the New! Improved! USSF run! Fully Professional! National Women’s Soccer League!

I know, I know, there are many things we still don’t know about the teams and the league. Like official rosters, all the team uniforms, which teams will have free streams and which will have subscriptions, but you know, that really doesn’t matter to me. The teams will all finalize a roster, none of them will play naked and I will watch whatever is available, at whatever cost. I am a supporter and because I am a supporter I will suck up some of the shortcomings at the beginning to get to the payoff at the end.

The league warned us it would be less about the hype and more about the product on the field and boy have they stuck to their word. I listen to all the “wishes” on Twitter and read the comments on blogs. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have my own wish list of what I’d like to see the league doing. At this point it’s a little futile to dwell on that list, the season is at hand and it’s up to me to do as much as I can to make it a damn successful one. And If I’m joined by all the other people who say that’s what they want too, we’ll have a second season to get more of what we want as fans.

All I ask of my fellow fans is to be reasonable in your criticism and fanatical in your support, NOT the other way around. I can assure you that each team wants to do the best for the players, the team, and the league. The players want to play their best, after all they not only love the game, they’re getting PAID to do this. The coaches and owners want to give you the best product on the field and the best atmosphere in the stands, their survival depends on it. The league wants this to be a sustainable model so we can have a development path for future generations of gold medal winners and World Cup champions. I can also assure you that each team will take a slightly different journey to get there. The great thing about that is every team will be unique, every game day experience will be different and hopefully every fan will find a team, not just a player, they want to support.

So what do you say, let’s become a league wide supporters group. A group that no matter how much we don’t like the uniforms, the websites, the streams, the roster choices, the venues, the commentators, the refs, or the music selections, we support the league. A group that buys as many tickets as they can afford, as much merchandise as is available, as many streams as your eyes can handle. A group that talks up the league to friends, family and strangers. A group that defends the league to detractors, not because the league is always right, but because it is OUR league and we want it to become recognized as the best in the world.

Good Luck to all the players, teams, coaching staffs, support folks, volunteers, sponsors and owners. May this be the first season of many more to come.

O.K. I’ve got to go get out of this cheerleader costume..it doesn’t fit me, but I hope you get what I’m trying to say.

Go  Boston Breakers!