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WPS franchise team in Canada-- WNT against world's best?


StrandOne

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WPS seems to exist to promote the US women's national program-- limiting teams to 5 "internationals". And yet still the best Brasilians, the best English, Swedish, French & Norwegian players are on the pitch for WPS. That's cool. They build it-- their rules.

What about having a WPS team in Canada? Would it then make sense for AMERICANS to count as "internationals" on Canadian soil? Is it a prime, if not the ONLY, opportunity to have the WNT Starting 11 play the best in women's soccer? Having the WNT in residence in Vancouver was a good step but they didn't have anyone to play. The adjusted WPS schedule has teams playing 24 games this summer-- against the likes of Marta!

Can any Canadian city support a WPS team? Regular attendance numbers seem to be around the 5,000-7,000 fans mark. Are there investors out there who could back a WPS team in Canada?

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I follow WPS quite abit and there is alot of great information available on the league's website and on the Big Soccer forums (it is not often I recommend BS, but their Women's Forums are more civilized than the rest of that website), so I will have a go at this.

Listing Burnaby in the poll makes sense, since you are refering to the Whitecaps. They are by far the most likely to bring WPS to Canada, although not necessarily to Burnaby. They have had talks with WPS, both sides are interested, and Steve Nash did invest in the league, but it won't happen until the MLS launch is done. The WPS is making West Coast expansion a priority, but a return to LA after the collapse of the Sol would be their first choice.

Leaving Toronto out as a possible destination in the poll is silly. MLSE may not be interested right now because it is not profitable at the moment, but Toronto is the biggest city with the most soccer fans, soccer players, media outlets, and corporate headquarters. Even if MLSE doesn't want to own a team, it would be hard politically for them and Toronto City Hall to keep them out of BMO. For all its' faults, even Lamport Stadium would be ok as its' capacity is actually ideal for WPS, it would be cheaper to rent than BMO, and it is still nicer than some of the current WPS stadiums. WPS could appear in Toronto even without MLSE.

Having the entire CWNT on one WPS would not work. The national team plays games on the same weekends as WPS does, so you would have embarassing forfeits. Some Canadian players are already in WPS (as well as some in Europe with pro clubs) and may not want to switch teams. For example, Leblanc and McLeod are already starters in WPS, so why force them to join another team where one would be stuck on the bench? Leblanc was born in Atlanta, and there are other Canadian players who are either US citizens or atleast have their Green Cards and are therefore able to play as a "domestic" on American teams and not occupy an international spot.

If WPS does come to Canada, then they would probably just alter the rules so that Canadians were the "domestic players", but it would be better if WPS could talk the USSF into allowing a change to what the USL has and the original NASL had, which was Americans and Canadians are both considered domestics on all teams. Greater player movement is useful as it allows players to go where they are most wanted and where the style suites them instead of riding the bench. What would be ideal would be if both Vancouver and Toronto got WPS with the full ownership/support of the MLS clubs. TFC and the Whitecaps have much greater resources than any of the independently run WPS clubs could ever dream of affording. If they went in together then their greater bargaining power may lead to a better agreement for Canadian players getting access to the league.

2009 was a horrible year to start a new league. The attendence numbers were generally below the hoped-for 5K/game, and sponsorship deals were well below projections. The teams expected to lose $1M USD/team, but they actually lost $1.5-3M USD each. Two clubs, LA and St Louis, are already gone. The truth is, expansion teams will only appear in cities where there is some one who is willing to lose millions each year for atleast a few years in the hope that the league will survive and not end up like the WUSA. That being said, most of the cities suggested are nowhere near big enough to support a WPS team, since even Vancouver and Toronto would require a very patient and understanding sugardaddy who is content with losing millions.

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This is why I joined Voyageurs-- intelligent, knowledgeble, considerate soccer discussion. Thanks for that reply.

Given the attendance numbers for FIFA hosting duties @ Commonwealth Stadium (2002 & 2007), why isn't Edmonton a natural choice? Has Edmonton had fewer than 15,000 fans watch a world class soccer match @ Commonwealth? River Plate v Everton (2009) was advertised 3 weeks before they played and still drew 16,000. The wealthiest province-- which lacks a professional soccer presence-- seems the most likely place to find wealthy backers and a soccer-hungry crowd... especially in a city with so much large event hosting history.

I'm curious about the Waterloo vote. I added that to the poll because UW is my alma mater. I think it's another place to find deep pockets and soccer talent.

The talent pool for the WNT is deep. Fielding 10 players who DON'T currently play at the highest levels of the pro ranks is feasible. The US, UK, and Sweden aren't the only countries with a depth of homegrown talent. Karina LeBlanc has made a home in New Jersey / Rutgers and Karen Bardsley's performance this season could bring a great trade that sees LeBlanc back in New Jersey. But I agree that McLeod should be the #1 'keeper for a CDN WPS team. Sinclair doesn't get the top billing she deserves, next to Marta. And where is Miss Lang?

It's an interesting prospect. I look forward to hearing more from the Voyageurs soccer minds.

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I disagree with Edmonton, let's see how well FCE does first attendance wise and then we can talk numbers. Montreal draws 40k + at the Big O but still struggles to fill the Saputo stands without giving away tickets, so big events attendance aren't a good measuring stick. Still I'd love to have a WPS team in Canada!

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FCE and WPS are two COMPLETELY different audiences. 75% of the 47,000+ crowd at the 2002 Canada v US final were little girls-- watching the exact same players who light up the WPS now. Little girls couldn't give a rip about FCE. They care about Christine Sinclair. Whitecaps numbers may be a closer barometer but Alberta is so soccer-barren that the thirst to host the world's best women's players could be considerable.

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You're right, probably the crowd is completely different between a WPS and NASL game, but I still think big events attendance does not mean anything when it comes to regular season attendance. Hope I'm wrong though!

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I think KAS is pretty close. The Whitecaps and TFC are the natural choices with their resources and infrastructure. They don't have to be the groups and the cities could get cherry picked by someone else who gets to market sooner, but barring someone magical I think they would be the teams with the best chance of long-term success.

Yes, the WPS needs to open to it's doors to it's Mexican and Canadian neighbours. As Canadians we don't look to Mexico often in soccer but they don't have a well-established dominant women's league like their men standing in the way of growth. Free trade in women's soccer would work quite well right now, especially with the failure of the SOL and Athletica. Those two are also pretty glaring examples of the need for a large market and a world class marketing machine to pull any venture off and I'm not sure if there is another market outside of Montreal in that echelon. I would gladly support anyone who tried anywhere, just not sure the likelihood of it when there is no traction in even the major markets.

The upside for the national program is huge. The last CSA approach with the Whitecaps was probably doomed from conception and ended up setting us back both on and off the field. Perhaps the v2 approach would be the same or even more resources but simply directed at assisting independent groups get off the ground. Truly sad we don't have access to federal funds to salt the ground. We put half a billion into infrastructure to develop elite athletes and then strand them on the doorstep staring down the last mile to world class. Anyone who wants to go there has to come up with their own money to buy a ticket to move to another part of the world where society does value and assist them.

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I think KAS is pretty close. The Whitecaps and TFC are the natural choices with their resources and infrastructure. They don't have to be the groups and the cities could get cherry picked by someone else who gets to market sooner, but barring someone magical I think they would be the teams with the best chance of long-term success.

Yes, the WPS needs to open to it's doors to it's Mexican and Canadian neighbours. As Canadians we don't look to Mexico often in soccer but they don't have a well-established dominant women's league like their men standing in the way of growth. Free trade in women's soccer would work quite well right now, especially with the failure of the SOL and Athletica. Those two are also pretty glaring examples of the need for a large market and a world class marketing machine to pull any venture off and I'm not sure if there is another market outside of Montreal in that echelon. I would gladly support anyone who tried anywhere, just not sure the likelihood of it when there is no traction in even the major markets.

The upside for the national program is huge. The last CSA approach with the Whitecaps was probably doomed from conception and ended up setting us back both on and off the field. Perhaps the v2 approach would be the same or even more resources but simply directed at assisting independent groups get off the ground. Truly sad we don't have access to federal funds to salt the ground. We put half a billion into infrastructure to develop elite athletes and then strand them on the doorstep staring down the last mile to world class. Anyone who wants to go there has to come up with their own money to buy a ticket to move to another part of the world where society does value and assist them.

TFC is currently pouring resources into their youth set up, why? to develop the best players, to win, to make money.(see their training facility plans) MLSE's objective first and foremost is to make money. I don't think anyone could convince them that a WPS team will do this. Likewise the ownership group of the Vancouver Whitecaps MLS franchise, while they are all soccer fans, still, I think you'd have a tough time convincing them they could make any money with the a WPS team. I think this league needs to show it can be stable and sustainable for quite a while before Canadian cities jump onboard. The day that MLS clubs moved away from marketing to kids and families(ala TFC focusing on hardcore supports groups, since replicated by every new team) is when they found a successful business model, WPS aims in the exact opposite direction.

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WPS seems to exist to promote the US women's national program-- limiting teams to 5 "internationals". And yet still the best Brasilians, the best English, Swedish, French & Norwegian players are on the pitch for WPS. That's cool. They build it-- their rules.

What about having a WPS team in Canada? Would it then make sense for AMERICANS to count as "internationals" on Canadian soil? Is it a prime, if not the ONLY, opportunity to have the WNT Starting 11 play the best in women's soccer? Having the WNT in residence in Vancouver was a good step but they didn't have anyone to play. The adjusted WPS schedule has teams playing 24 games this summer-- against the likes of Marta!

Can any Canadian city support a WPS team? Regular attendance numbers seem to be around the 5,000-7,000 fans mark. Are there investors out there who could back a WPS team in Canada?

The only viable city today would be Vancouver IMHO. And you would only get attendance numbers like that in double headers with the 'Caps mens team.

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TFC is currently pouring resources into their youth set up, why? to develop the best players, to win, to make money.(see their training facility plans) MLSE's objective first and foremost is to make money. I don't think anyone could convince them that a WPS team will do this. Likewise the ownership group of the Vancouver Whitecaps MLS franchise, while they are all soccer fans, still, I think you'd have a tough time convincing them they could make any money with the a WPS team. I think this league needs to show it can be stable and sustainable for quite a while before Canadian cities jump onboard. The day that MLS clubs moved away from marketing to kids and families(ala TFC focusing on hardcore supports groups, since replicated by every new team) is when they found a successful business model, WPS aims in the exact opposite direction.

I didn't realize the Whitecaps and TFC Academies were cash cows throwing a profit. Here I was thinking they hadn't generated a dime of revenue. And all TFC has is a pretty PDF and plan. They haven't poured resources in - they're light years behind the Whitecaps, who by the way may not make a direct buck but have a W team, a great prospects team of younger players and a full slate of programming on the women's side down to U11. If an organization gets $20MM++ of public money put into their success then it's not as simple as having your cake and eating it too, and kudos to the Whitecaps for their acknowledgement of the bigger cultural implications of the game and support of the other half of the people in this country.

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I didn't realize the Whitecaps and TFC Academies were cash cows throwing a profit. Here I was thinking they hadn't generated a dime of revenue. And all TFC has is a pretty PDF and plan. They haven't poured resources in - they're light years behind the Whitecaps, who by the way may not make a direct buck but have a W team, a great prospects team of younger players and a full slate of programming on the women's side down to U11. If an organization gets $20MM++ of public money put into their success then it's not as simple as having your cake and eating it too, and kudos to the Whitecaps for their acknowledgement of the bigger cultural implications of the game and support of the other half of the people in this country.

Well you were wrong if you thought TFC didnt make a revenue. TFC makess a tidy profit. And the Whitecaps MLS group is different than the current ownership of the NASL team. iIm not certain their goals will be the same. MLSE is investing substantial sums into TFC, look at BMO's recent expansion and installation of a grass pitch this year at a cost of millions. They aren't afriad to put resources into their product to make it profitable. Cultural implications of the game are wonderful for non profits, charities, or governmental agencies. However, cultural implications don't usually attract investors as a business model or cover operating costs of a professional sports franchise

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If you read it again you'll see I said the acadamies don't make money (let alone generate revenue), not TFC. My other point was TFC isn't pouring money into their youth programs. They put $9MM into BMO and grass on the field - the government put in $35MM and every dollar of that has cultural significance, because without it there is no TFC. Half of that money comes from women. That may not be contractual and binding but a little reciprocity of even the smallest proportion (or at least a plan) would seem a fair exchange.

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If you read it again you'll see I said the acadamies don't make money (let alone generate revenue), not TFC. My other point was TFC isn't pouring money into their youth programs. They put $9MM into BMO and grass on the field - the government put in $35MM and every dollar of that has cultural significance, because without it there is no TFC.

I understand your point and thee is good logic there. But when your existence is paid for by the women of this country then a little reciprocity (or at least a plan) would seem a fair exchange.

They don't generate revenue today for TFC as the academy is only a few years old. What's the goal of an academy? Produce players for the 1st team and/or sell players for a profit in the future. Marcus Haber was recently sold to WBA from the whitecaps residency(academy). Just look at the midweek game when 3 academy players played for TFC' 1st team. The 1st team puts butts in the seats and makes money. To say academies don't make money is a blanket statement that will very shortly be entirely incorrect especially as the quality improves and the systems reach maturity and start graduating and selling prospects. MLSE's training facility may just be a plan today, but they recognize the importance of training and academies and are planning to put in considerable resources.

The whitecaps existance isnt paid for by the women of this country, and whose to say MLSE wouldnt have taken the long way around eventually without funding, perhaps?

I understand the frustration of female soccer players and females athletes in general and their supporters on the issues they face. I'd be frustrated if I was a female player and couldn't make a living from the game when lots of men can. I just don't think you'll ever see female professional sports work in Canada or North America. Fans just dont support them.

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Hope you're not offended or taking this too personal.

There were three academy players on the field because it was a nothing game. If it meant something they wouldn't have been there.

When Haber's on his game he's entertaining and fun to watch, but he's the only one I know of and there is no disclosure so the fee is anyone's guess. Could be big could be small. I pray they all make money on their youth programs and turn out great players. The Caps residency is a brilliant step forward in that direction.

Ever been to an LPGA event? A U.S. Open? They've been around a while and fans sure support them. WNBA averages 8K. WUSA and WPS are 5-6K. These are new leagues in new markets. In the mid-90's attendance was 0. You may think it's all going back there but I think it keeps growing in the other direction.

Did I say the Whitecaps existence was paid for by the women of this country? That would be odd because I've never had the thought in a decade. I think they definitely have been helped by a few levels of government and have paid very healthy returns to the women's game on it. I also think they care quite a bit about being stewards of the game and see the women's side as part of that.

And yes, in TFC's defense they are young and it took Vancouver a while to develop their women's program. Hopefully they can leverage their success and become a player much quicker.

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I understand the frustration of female soccer players and females athletes in general and their supporters on the issues they face. I'd be frustrated if I was a female player and couldn't make a living from the game when lots of men can. I just don't think you'll ever see female professional sports work in Canada or North America. Fans just dont support them.

Wow, as a female athlete & sports fan, that comment hurt my heart... darn near brought a tear to my eye. Just one. Then I was cheered up by the thought of the WNBA and the 4 women drivers in last weekend's NASCAR race. If what you're saying is true, how did EDMONTON (not Vancouver, Victoria or Toronto) manage the following attendance numbers for the u-19 Women's World Cup in 2002?

Canada v Denmark-- 15,000

Canada v Japan-- 15,700

Canada v Nigeria-- 15,800

Canada v England (quarter)-- 23,000

Canada v Brasil (semi final)-- 37,190

Canada v US (final)-- 47,700

Surely Edmonton is MORE ready to host a WPS team than it was 8 years ago! I'm not mad. I'm jus' sayin'...

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Wow, as a female athlete & sports fan, that comment hurt my heart... darn near brought a tear to my eye. Just one. Then I was cheered up by the thought of the WNBA and the 4 women drivers in last weekend's NASCAR race. If what you're saying is true, how did EDMONTON (not Vancouver, Victoria or Toronto) manage the following attendance numbers for the u-19 Women's World Cup in 2002?

Canada v Denmark-- 15,000

Canada v Japan-- 15,700

Canada v Nigeria-- 15,800

Canada v England (quarter)-- 23,000

Canada v Brasil (semi final)-- 37,190

Canada v US (final)-- 47,700

Surely Edmonton is MORE ready to host a WPS team than it was 8 years ago! I'm not mad. I'm jus' sayin'...

My mistake, individual women's sports have garnered success. Women's tennis and golf has done well. They also play every weekend in a different city. Theres no 10 or 15 game home schedule. Team sports are another story. A comparision between a once in a generation national team event in a country with the sustainability of a day to day running a pro league is quite funny. Canada set a record for the highest attended u20 mens world cup ever. We should be able to put pro teams in ever host city easily right? International teams play friendlies in Canada where 50,000 people watch, a domestic pro league would attract those numbers right? Your comparing apples and oranges, different products, different challanges, different markets. A short event is not the same challange as a pro league. It's a long gruelling haul to establish a fan base. Are those little girls and their moms going to show up rain or shine? will they show up to every game? I know lots of guys who will put everything down to watch the nba, I know lots of girls who played high level basketball who wouldnt put a book down to watch the WNBA. It averages 8k sure, it's also losing so much money the NBA is running as fast as they can from it.

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Every day the earth turns. The world is changing. Women have had the vote for 90 of the 2010 years on the calendar and were banned from fields and ridiculed for much of that. 20 years ago the entire women's soccer world was amateur. It may be marginal numbers but professional women's leagues have been and are continuing to sprout up all over the planet. The future of football is feminine.

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A comparison between a once in a generation national team event in a country with the sustainability of a day to day running a pro league is quite funny... We should be able to put pro teams in ever host city easily right?

Are those little girls and their moms going to show up rain or shine? I know lots of guys who will put everything down to watch the NBA. I know lots of girls who played high level basketball who wouldn't put a book down to watch the WNBA.

Was it a "once in a generation event" that anyone could've predicted at the time? I'm sure I wasn't the only person whose jaw dropped to see 47,700 turn up that overcast Sunday in 2002. So maybe you knew they'd come at the time and we're all foolish to have been surprised. And maybe you're the wise one now predicted that it's impossible to think that 2011 is not the year for WPS to be successful in Canada. I'm sure MLS had their fair share of naysayers. In fact I'm sure that MOST radically successful ventures had buckets of naysayers insisting "NOBODY WILL BUY THIS." Thank God, some times, they're wrong.

Every day the earth turns. The world is changing... The future of football is feminine.

Wow! Thanks for your support! Nice line! Can I use that?

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Thanks Ingrid, but only the first two setup sentences are mine. The last is from FIFA President Sepp Blatter in 2007.

Beyond 2002 - Edmonton is also home to 25 years of great women's club soccer national champions. As a city they have eclipsed not just all the major cities - but all the entire major provinces as well.

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I can only see Van City as a viable WPS club. They already have close to a WPS level styel infrastructure while nobody else does in Canada. Next option would be Toronto but TFC would need to subside the operations. The supporters culture behind TFC isn't going to be there for every women's match and the core women's audience of young players & families aren't as committed to attending more than 1 or 2 matches (especially since BMO Field can be a diificult place to get to with all the events happening around it).

In women's matches I have attended, I don't see enough of a vested interest in the people attending like you see in other pro sports. It's often about themselves and their club rather than the team on the field.

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First let me say that I was an avid follower of Voyageurs Forum way back in 2001-2. It's wonderful to re-enter this avid football-loving community and hear the thoughts of folks who've been in it for years. It's great to see that Voyageurs has a longevity that stems from a loyatly to community that footie fans are famous for. BRAVA! I've re-entered the circle to temper my dreams. I'm unapologetic about dreaming of a WPS team in Edmonton. I'm not recalcitrant about comments that are contrary to my mindset. Au contraire. Shooting my dreams full of holes helps me see the Light. So I thank y'all.

In women's matches I have attended, I don't see enough of a vested interest in the people attending like you see in other pro sports. It's often about themselves and their club rather than the team on the field.

Just because Canadians do it differently from footie fans around the world doesn't mean that this particular means of enjoying the beautiful game is bunk. It's different BUT a keen GM / promoter can harness that. If it works for the girl fans today-- make it work for a WPS team. I hear y'all about the 12 HOME game season. That's a long haul. But what if a GM pulls other Canadians into the mix somehow-- Justin Bieber, Drake, popular Olympians like Joannie Rochette?? Practice / training sessions with WPS players... There's GOT to be ways to integrate a WPS team into the fabric of the community. I'm sure current GM's are doing everything they can to reach deep into their community. You gotta meet the girls wherever they're at... and "traditional" expectations & means prolly aren't gonna cut it. But I BELIEVE it's doable-- in Edmonton.

5 of the Top 12 CDN cities ranked by Discretionary Household Income are in Alberta... and 5 of the Top 12 are in Ontario. In both provinces 4 of the 5 cities are within 2hrs driving distance of each other. ENTERTAINMENT FACTOR is the big difference between the two "wealth corridors". There are far more entertainment draws in Ontario than there are in Alberta. Far more concerts, red carpet events, pro sports teams, etc. to siphon those discretionary dollars away from WPS soccer in Ontario than in Alberta. Victoria is ranked 20th on the list-- http://bit.ly/buxS1V

Go where the money is & INNOVATE.

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