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Women’s Pro Soccer Is Back! (Almost!)

Women’s pro soccer is back. Well not quite yet. At least it will be in Spring 2009.

Hopefully, some people will notice this time.

WUSA folded in 2003 after only three seasons. The league went all-in after the 1999 World Cup, tried to grow too soon and eventually busted. The losses were huge (of the $100 million variety).

This time they are looking for long term success by adopting the smaller MLS “grass roots” model. The salary cap for each team is $2.5 million though, which ain’t too shabby.

They got things started by divvying up the U.S. Women’s National Team.

Here are the allocation results:

Bay Area pulled in Nicole Barnhart, Rachel Buehler and Leslie Osborne.

Boston (the Breakers?) were allocated Angela Hucles, Kristine Lilly and Heather Mitts (a former Gator). 

Chi-town gets Cari Lloyd, Kate Karkgraf and Lindsay Tarpley.

L.A. (the real Gals) received Shannon Boxx, Stephanie Cox and Aly Wagner.

Boxx and Cox?

I am not even going to go there. Too easy.

Sky Blue FC (Wha?) get Natasha Kai, Heather O’Reilly and Christie Rampone. This is a pretty nice draw and in my opinion the best of the bunch. The residents of Sky Blue must be thrilled.

St. Louis snags Lori Chalupny, Tina Ellertson and Hope (“Don’t Call Me Han”) Solo.

And D.C. retained the services of Ali Krieger, Abby Wambach (another former Gator) and Cat Whitehill (from The Great State Of Alabama).

Another draft will be held in October where international players will be selected, and then college seniors who want to try out can go to the WPS combine in December in the hopes of being drafted in January. Then, open tryouts will be held in local cities in February of 2009.

Hmmm, open tryouts?

I smell a reality show.

Hey, if FSC loses the rights to the EPL to ESPN, they’ll have lots of open slots on Saturdays for WPS reality marathons.

Atlanta, Dallas (The Sting?) and Philadephia will hopefully join the league in 2010 (um, where are the Daughters of Ben?).

Heck, even San Diego could even get into the act for the 2010 season.

I guess those teams don’t get U.S. National Team members though. Bummer.

Is Mia Hamm available?

The new league’s mission is simple, but lofty. To be the best women’s soccer league in the world.

Tonya Antonucci is the league’s first commissioner. She appears to be a uniquely intelligent person (she helped launch Yahoo Fantasy Sports, for which I am forever grateful), and she played soccer in college and for the 1984 US Junior National Team.

If there’d been a pro league in the US when she graduated from Stanford, she might have been able to play professionally. I wonder if part of the reason she’s put the last three years of her life into creating this league is because she wishes someone had done it for her twenty years ago.

Well, since she didn’t get the choice whether to even go pro, I guess she’ll have to settle for being the one who gives other women that choice and chance to succeed at doing what they love at the highest level.