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NWSL to Vancouver

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One of my friends has started a grassroots campaign to bring an NWSL team to Vancouver. Like many of you, I am passionate about bringing the game to Canada in hopes that this ultimately help create a pathway for our national team. If you are willing I would love if you could show your support through twitter!

@NWSLVancouver

We've already had a bunch of folks in the Canadian Soccer scene show their support and anyway you can help drive this message would be greatly appreciated! 😁 🇨🇦
 

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I've said this elsewhere, so I'll quickly repeat myself here. 

I hate this campaign. It's entirely 100% focused on putting 1-3 Canadian teams in an American league and 0% focused on what is actually good for Canadian women's soccer. We need a Canadian league with teams in those big 3 markets, not another situation where we are forced to depend on the benevolence of Americans, begging at their table for scraps. 

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We can barely keep a men's league afloat here.  How are we going to run a high-level league for women?  They haven't even figured out how to do that for hockey, let alone soccer.  If it's a Canada-wide league for women or nothing, then it will stay at nothing.  Better to take a more pragmatic approach and get there in steps if necessary.

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7 hours ago, rkomar said:

We can barely keep a men's league afloat here.  How are we going to run a high-level league for women?  They haven't even figured out how to do that for hockey, let alone soccer.  If it's a Canada-wide league for women or nothing, then it will stay at nothing.  Better to take a more pragmatic approach and get there in steps if necessary.

Both of your points are apples and oranges. For one, women's soccer is arguably just as popular as men's, which is not true for hockey. I wrote something on that elsewhere, so I'm just going to paste it in here:

Quote

Meanwhile, in soccer, the women's national team is arguably more popular than the men's - their last home game was a friendly vs Mexico at BMO Field, 19,610 in attendance. The men played their last game against the US, a bigger rival, in the nations league, a competitive game, but only had 17,126 in the stands. The last 5 home men's games, most of which were competitive (albeit including games vs French Guiana and Dominica), average 15,344 whereas the women's last 5 average 21,442. So it's actually possible a CPL-W would be more popular than the CPL-M - remember, doing it without the NWSL means they could add in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver with ease.

This is simply not the case in hockey. I don't even need numbers to prove it, just look at the crowds and attention paid to the men's world junior team every time it's in Canada. It's not even the senior team, yet they usually sell out NHL sized venues. Meanwhile in 2016 the senior women's world championship was hosted in Kamloops, and Canada played in front of crowds of just 4,453 (vs Russia) and 4,234 (vs Finland) in a venue that only seats 5,464 - you think they'd have chosen such a small venue for the men? Hell, there were only 4,007 in attendance for Canada's semi-final vs Finland.

As for keeping a league afloat, you're comparing one league that doesn't have a team in Montreal, Vancouver, or downtown Toronto with one that would. You're also talking about a league that is unable to pay/attract national team players - let's be honest, they can make more than 60k annually playing in Europe or MLS. But the salary structure in CPL is about the same as the NWSL (mandated as 20-50k). A Canadian women's league would therefore be able to afford the big names from the national team, unlike the CPL, which increases attendance, which increases revenue. 

Obviously it's conjecture, but so is the pro-NWSL argument. Much like MLS, they have no interest in developing Canadian talent, they just want to capture the Canadian TV market. They're not going to make money from having more than 3 teams in Canada, assuming the US federation would even allow them to, so that'll be their cap - they might even want no more than 1 team in Canada. So we go that route and we completely ruin the chance of a Canadian league. You think putting a men's league together without the big 3 markets was hard? Good ******* luck getting a women's league. 

Angel City was announced for 2022. Which suggests the earliest you're getting a Canadian team in NWSL is 2023. So you're willing to wait 3 years to get American scraps, but not willing to wait 3 years for CanPL and the three MLS sides to put together a women's league? You're telling me that MLSE, Joey Saputo, Greg Kerfoot, Bob Young, Atlético Madrid, and Tom Fath couldn't afford to successfully spin off their existing clubs to add a women's side? You're not starting from scratch after all, you have the structure in place already.

So no, it's not taking the more pragmatic approach, it's taking a short-sighted approach that will ultimately harm Canadian soccer. 

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I think you have to follow the money.  Pushing ahead and expecting the money to follow is a recipe for disaster.  You are looking at crowds for national team games to get an idea of what attendance could be for league games.  I am looking at crowds at current league games (typically 100 friends and family, maybe 200 on a very good day).  I guess the attendance at national league games will be somewhere between the two, but where?  Setting the pandemic aside, I don't think you can currently get enough people into the stands to cover your costs.

CBC's Players Own Voice podcast recently interviewed Carmelina Moscato, and they lightly discussed this topic there.  Her job is to figure out how to get to a national league from here, so she knows what she is talking about.  She certainly doesn't believe it is just a matter of setting it up and letting it go.  She doesn't go into details, but gives an idea of the roadblocks.  I think it's worth listening to for anyone who's interested in this topic.

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That's all fair, though I think there's a big difference between attendance at current league games and those of a pro league - the Toronto Lynx averaged 1,350 in 2014, then TFC averaged 23,319 in 2015. Why couldn't we get, say, 4k average? The NWSL is only 7,389, it's not like we'd need 20k average to make it work.

Obviously there are roadblocks and effort is needed, but we need to go that route, we need to push for it. The NWSL does not have our interests at heart, they just want our money. And getting even one NWSL team means Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Halifax, Quebec City, etc will have to wait at least 10 years to see pro women's soccer, if not 20 - remember, from TFC joining MLS to the first season of the CPL was 14 years. We will not see a Canadian women's pro league without Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.

Again, trying to get a Canadian team in the NWSL is taking a short-sighted approach that will ultimately harm Canadian soccer. 

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Posted (edited)

I'm against it

All we're doing is helping the US programs with Canadian dollars.

A franchise job is to win and the team would be overwhelmingly Americans with a few Canadians starting here and there like in MLS. Anyone thinking otherwise are seriously delusional and this is more about being part of something "cool" than actually helping the women's program in Canada.

The consequence is way more damaging as you're discouraging investors in putting teams elsewhere in the country as they would be forced to not only compete against NWSL but potentially the 3 biggest markets who would siphon all of their media's attention making it even harder for a Canadian league to ever be viable. No one can argue that CPL BIGGEST challenge is media attention from Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto.

People needs to stop acting entitled in regards to investors dollars and dictate where they "should" be investing. We need to give them the environment encouraging them to do so and putting NWSL in Canada is just killing the chances of other cities to ever have a women's pro team which in term means WAY LESS Canadian women potentially playing pro.

Until we get our league, all this "NWSL campaign" noise and energy would be put to better use to lobby the CSA on 2 fronts instead

  1. Subsidized the salary of more players creating more spots in NWSL
  2. Keeping the pressure to have them work with CSB for a Tier 1 league while strengthening the current D3 leagues and adding more
Edited by Ansem

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I'm not a fan of the NWSL as a place for Canadian Women, even if I enjoyed watching 3 of them win the Challenge Cup.  The style of play and the coaching are all American, athletic and powerful, but not exactly technical or skilled.  The place to grow in the future has to be Europe.  That so many of the young Canadian female talent is now over there makes me very happy.

The question is what can we do to encourage development for our younger players?  It's a fantasy to think we can support a cross-Canada league for the women.  The US has a much greater population density that we do and they can barely afford the travel.  We always want to start big, we don't seem willing to put in the drudge work to grow the game locally before we jump to a D1 league (yeah, I'm reference the CPL...)  With women we need to develop real club-level teams competing in regional leagues with reasonable travel, smaller stadiums packed with fans rather than empty monstrosities, and we need to build local support.  We have to build the pyramid from the bottom first.  Sure, the NT players will not be here but the next level can.  Like a broken record I keep pointing to Canadian Junior hockey as the model and like every time I mention it, it'll be ignored among the demands for top tier play and $60k salaries. 

I'll continue yelling at clouds, I guess.

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