Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Olympic Impact On WPS

Everyone in Women's Professional Soccer is pulling for a US victory tomorrow both from a patriotic and a business perspective.

The prevailing thought is that a return to a world championship, if not world dominance, would provide a good kick start for WPS.

A gold medal for the US would certainly provide a boost for the League for all the obvious reasons, but i think it's also important to recognize that the League benefits if Brazil wins.

WPS intends to be the best women's soccer league in the world. That will surely happen if many of the best international players are also in the League. A Brazil victory tomorrow would demonstrate to the general American soccer fan base that women's soccer in Brazil and the rest of the world has improved dramatically in the last decade. It would also go a long way to increasing the star power of Cristiane (pictured above), Marta, Daniela, Formiga and other Brazilians who could find their way onto WPS rosters.

WUSA had built in US stars from the 1999 Women's World Cup. WPS needs to create its own stars - both domestic and international. So a Brazil Olympic gold medal, while probably not ideal for WPS, wouldn't be the worst thing either. What do you think?


Alyse said...

Good point Peter. I also think Graham Hays was spot on when he mentioned that alot of people will only be turning their attention to the US for the first time in the gold medal game, not exactly noting what it has taken to get there. And in our results-driven American environment, a silver medal to the average person will be seen as a loss of Gold, rather than an achievement of some sort.
We know better, but the average American may not.
That's not to say that having a 'new' team take a World title is a bad thing by any means. We saw great parity in these Olympics, more than ever before. But unless many of these Brazilians play in WPS, I'm afraid it may be a gold lost on us.

Andy said...

As an American, I have a personal/emotional interest in the US winning gold. I am also looking forward to my favorite player finally getting the opportunity to put her money where her mouth is when it comes to big games against Brazil.

However, as a WPS staffer, I couldn't disagree more with your statement that "everyone" in the league is pulling for the USA from an organizational perspective. From that perspective, I am a neutral observer. While I wish the USWNT success, I don't believe that WPS' mission to be the world's premier league can co-exist with a stated rooting interest in one particular national team squad. WPS clubs need to develop their own identities - not serve as farm teams for the USWNT. The rest of the world has caught up to the USWNT, which only adds excitment to international play. WPS should embrace an international role, not a jingoistic one.

peter said...

Fair point Andy. i should know not to use universal terms such as "everyone"....i'll mark you down for neutral from a business perspective and pro-US from a personal perspective.

Anyone else think that from a business perspective, WPS should be neutral (or even pro-Brazil) in their rooting interests tomorrow?

Anonymous said...

I would just like to say that I appreciate the fact that Andy threw out the word "jingoistic" in a blog posting. Well played.

kevinwparker said...

The WUSA was spawned from the interest generated by the US hosting and winning the Women's World Cup in 1999. The WPS is located in the US, and people are going to be more inclined to show up to see gold medal winners than silver medal winners.

So, unless you expect to get more Brazilian national teamers into the WPS than Americans (not very likely) - and have a way of making them as familiar to US fans as our own WNTers - an American gold medal is in the WPS's best interests.