I observed a very surprising repercussion after it was revealed that the WPS would discontinue operations of the Los Angeles Sol – an actual response from the front office of various teams from around the league. I’ve been following sports for some time, especially the WNBA where I see more teams fold than clothes at a laundry mat, and I don’t think I have ever observed a public response from other franchises when a team is lost. It definitely shows resolve and commitment from the teams in Women’s Professional Soccer.
Many of the WNBA franchises are, or were, run by NBA owners who function as if its sister team is some unwanted stepchild. The owners in WPS seem to have a genuine interest in the development of women’s soccer. The letters emphasize dedication and determination to prevail and prosper.
“…we want to state very clearly that we are more committed than ever to WPS and the Red Stars. Even if we don’t get to play the LA Sol this year, we are confident they will be back and we will have our chance to compete with them again….” wrote the Chicago Red Stars in a letter which included a picture of Marta in Red Stars jersey.
Philadelphia Independence owner and CEO David Halstead writes “the foundation we have built since our March 2009 start, including sponsorships and partnerships with Philadelphia area businesses, solidifying our coaching staff and front office staff… creating a robust youth soccer club membership affiliate program …all reinforce that the Philadelphia Independence is on course with its vision to be the envy of the league and be a positive and permanent presence in this great city.”
It’s reassuring when the league front office, owners, and general managers are aware that fans take notice when negative events occur. Instead of ignoring misgivings about the state of the league, the teams let everyone know that despite the setback, WPS will move forward. The letters gives credence to the fundamental objectives of Women’s Professional Soccer – “to be the premier women’s soccer league in the world, and the global standard by which women’s professional sports are measured.”
In all honesty, it was disconcerting to found out about the demise of the Sol. Los Angeles had one of the best attendance records and was one of the most talented in the league. But I realized that a team’s success has more to do than wins and losses or the number of ticket stubs ripped at the front gate. Success can be defined in terms of commitment. If you aren’t committed to a task or enterprise how do you ever expect to succeed? If the owners are as committed as stated than I am sure WPS will be operating long after the revival of a team in Los Angeles.