We’ve got Sporting and we’ve got the Missouri Comets but starting next spring we will have a new kid on the block attempting to capture our hearts, allegiance and money. Yesterday, US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati announced the formation of a new professional women’s soccer league.
While the league has yet to establish it’s official name, Kansas City has been awarded a team as have Chicago, Boston, Western New York, Washington DC, New Jersey, Portland and Seattle. A few of the franchises have already selected their names including our hometown squad which will be known as FC Kansas City and nicknamed the Blues.
The league’s initial season will consist of a 22 game schedule which is expected to run from spring to fall. The set up of the league’s regular season will mesh nicely for the ownership group of FC Kansas City which happens to be the same group that runs the Missouri Comets. Since the schedules of the Comets and the Blues don’t overlap, the two teams will be able to use the same front office and support staff for the two clubs allowing them to be focused on soccer year-round.
While there is reason to be skeptical regarding the success of this particular league – start-ups are hard regardless of sport, and plenty of them fail – it boasts significant backing on a local and international scale. Not only will US Soccer be heavily involved, the Canadian Soccer Association and Mexican Football Federation are also backing the venture. These organizations will fund the salaries of the senior national team members assigned to each club and in the process reduce the financial commitment of each ownership group.
Each of the three national teams will see benefits from the venture as their players will gain additional development time and game experience, not to mention the growth of a bigger player pool for those teams to draw from for international competition.
Specific to KC, we’ve developed into a soccer hot-bed that should have little trouble supporting an additional team. We also have an advantage knowing that FC Kansas City is going to be run by a quality ownership group with deep soccer ties and experience running a professional team.
While FC Kansas City does not have a home yet, four venues in the area are being considered to host the games. One of the venues in the running is confirmed to be Livestrong Sporting Park, but a smaller venue may wind up being a better fit as the team works to establish itself in the market.
More details about the league, and the teams themselves, are expected to follow in the coming weeks. Based on what we know today, this league appears to have all the backing and support it will need to grow into something special on both a local and national level.