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Women's League Delay and Other Stuff

*Two reliable sources tell me that investors in a proposed national women's league have decided to wait until 2009 to launch the eight-team circuit. No official confirmation, but that's the buzz in U.S. soccer circles. Investors apparently felt that spring of 2008 was too soon to start a league, sign top U.S. players, identify and sign international players, finalize stadium deals, begin serious marketing campaigns, etc. What the investors need now is the American team to win the World Cup as well as the Olympic gold next year to build momentum toward the launch of the league.

*Meantime, the U.S. women's team breathed a sigh of relief after learning that star forward Abby Wambach's toe injury suffered Saturday in the final tuneup before the Women's World Cup is not so bad. The U.S. Soccer Federation did not go into detail, but said an X-ray revealed no serious damage. The U.S. opener is Sept. 11 vs. North Korea.

*I'm told the U.S. men's roster for the major friendly against Brazil Sept. 9 at Soldier Field is tentatively scheduled to be unveiled Thursday afternoon.

*The U.S. under-17 national team, which overcame two dismal performances to advance to the round of 16 at the U-17 World Cup in South Korea, will play favored Germany on Thursday (7 a.m. Eastern, ESPNU).

*Might the Kansas City Wizards play their home games at a small, minor league baseball stadium across the river in Kansas starting next year until they build their own place? Click here to see the facility and click here to read about the possibility.

*And finally a moment of silence for Sevilla defender Antonio Puerta, 22, who died after collapsing during a La Liga match over the weekend.

I will be back later with news from United's training session.....



By Steve Goff  |  August 29, 2007; 8:26 AM ET
Categories:  Misc.  
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Next: United News & Notes (updated)

Comments

first!

Posted by: first | August 29, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back Goffer, the a.m. wasn't the same without you :)

Posted by: Huey | August 29, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Third, and glad you're back.

Any word yet about what the 8th women's league city will be?

Posted by: seahawkdad | August 29, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

A reminder and a request:

Please do not post links or references to "reports" on Web sites produced by anonymous authors. If the folks responsible decide someday to step out of the shadows, put their name on their work and be held accountable for what they write, I'll be more than happy to offer a forum to discuss the issue. Until then, it is not welcome here.

Many thanks!

Posted by: Goff | August 29, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse

the whole stadium issue could be averted if KC simply folded

Posted by: d, dc | August 29, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

A plausible piece of speculation about the new women's league suggests that the investors did not want to deal with the Olympics in the league's first year. Not only would it have to compete for an audience in August, but it would lose marquis players for at least a month. The league has enough obstacles to hurdle, so I can understand them wanting to avoid one that occurs only every 4 years.

Posted by: ho | August 29, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Glad you're back Steve.

Sounds like the new women's league wants to see if the US wins the cup (for advertising purposes) and who the most exciting players are before making commitments. I humbly suggest that they simply market Heather Mitts.

I never thought that DC would start a soccer/baseball dual use stadium trend. Can't wait for the soccer/baseball/football astroturf stadium.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | August 29, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

from Markgraf interview on Federation website:

"it looks like in 2009 it's going to start back up again. What we're hoping for is the media buzz that we're going to generate from kicking some serious butt in this World Cup and, again, the same in the Olympics, will lead up to a great start in 2009."

Posted by: WNT fan | August 29, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

All due respect, Goff, but isn't a forum like this the place to post and link to rumors, opinion, etc? I mean, it's not like we're so dumb that we think you endorse the rumor just because its posted on your site. We trade rumors and opinions, and look to you to set the record straight through your impeccable sources and hard work. We respect what you do and the integrity of the Insider, but, please, don't stifle the masses! "As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, Amen."

Posted by: Grotus | August 29, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Again, I respectfully ask that Insider loyalists refrain from links and references to anonymous web sites. When Soccer by Ives, bigapplesoccer, Sports Illustrated or the New York Times (sites that have actual known authors) breaks a story, I'm happy to offer a forum to discuss it.

Sorry, that's my rule.

Posted by: Goff | August 29, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back! Hope you had a good vacation. We definitely missed you! Thanks for the updates on the womens league, it makes sense to wait for 2009.

Posted by: m | August 29, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Thank God he's back.

Posted by: DC Centurion's Shield | August 29, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

So does that mean you will not address the trade rumors swirling around Bobby Boswell and Brian Carroll? Glad to have you back. Can you please enlighten me as to what is going with Adriano? He is such a talented player that looks like will go to waste. I can't believe how far he has fallen. I thought he would be the next great Brazilian stiker after Ronaldo. What gives with him?

Posted by: DC United Fan | August 29, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Atletico Madrid with another huge signing -- Riquelme. This team will challenge this year...

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=458112&cc=5901

Posted by: RK | August 29, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Hey, KC could sell out that park!

The women's league is doomed -- it absolutely needs the push from a successful Women's World Cup -- that's what got it up and running last time.

Perhaps they are waiting to see if the UNWNT does well this year. If we don't, we won't have the momentum or the names to start a new league properly.

Posted by: RK | August 29, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Canadian Soccer Association President steps down - is this a position that Yallop would have any interest in?

http://www.canadasoccer.com/eng/media/viewArtical.asp?Press_ID=2853

http://sports.yahoo.com/sow/news?slug=txcanadalinford&prov=st&type=lgns

Posted by: emanon | August 29, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

speaking of Ives -- he speculates on local product Gooch to Fulham -- anything to it?

Posted by: WNT fan | August 29, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

The baseball stadium KC wants to use has a capacity of 5,768. About 5,000 seats more than KC's needs.

Posted by: Basesoccerkickball | August 29, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Glad you decided to return Goff! You sure deserved the rest. Anyway, welcome back. I am sorry to hear about the women's league delay! Athletic women running around playing quality soccer, two of my favorite things melded together. If only I were a rich and talented baseball player, then I could have married Mia Hamm. Anyway, is your sense that the financial backers are getting cold feet, need more incentive, or that there is really just a lot of work to be done to launch a league?

Posted by: T. Henry | August 29, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Why not just move KC to St. Louis and give the team a chance.

Can't see a women's league making it without MLS involvement and access to their facilities. There are business models that will allow for a profit when you bring in 5,000 fans a game, but too many people seem to be thinking 'major' sports league...and fooling themselves.

Posted by: Matt | August 29, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"Hey, KC could sell out that park!"
Posted by: RK | August 29, 2007 09:43 AM
-----------------------------

Goff said no unsubstantiated rumors.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | August 29, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

What about Dunord and wvhooligan? I think these are known authors, are they cool? Not being snarky, just asking. Obv, mlsrumors and MLSunderground are out.

Posted by: DCAustinite | August 29, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

On to a more substantiated rumor, Peter Wilt guest posted on Luis Arroyave's blog that there would be an announcement about a women's team in Chicago, is that the 8th team? Let Goff and other legit journalists do the digging, more reliable stuff anyways...

Posted by: Huey | August 29, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I don't know anything about baseball, so pardon my naivety, but why does KC have a minor league baseball team when they have a major league team already?

Posted by: Baseball Noob | August 29, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

How does KC still have a team? Please move those guys to St. Louis or Philly soon!

Posted by: Greifie | August 29, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I know 5.5k packed into a stadium is much better than 10k in Arrowhead, but I would hope that KC could find a temporary place that could hold at least 15k.

I'm rooting for KC to make a comeback, then we'd have a pretty solid midwest representation with STL, Chicago, KC, and Columbus.

Posted by: Logan Circle | August 29, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

any feel on who will be called in for the Brazil game? Are the YA's coming over for this game?

Posted by: pwip | August 29, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I assumed it wouldn't be until 2009 at the earliest, but why is Spring 2008 too soon? What has been going on? Venues, teams, endorsements, player contracts, etc are all things that should have been had for a while.

That T-Bones ballpark is small. 5,768? I can't believe a MLS team would play on a baseball field.

"We're negotiating with I'll say three -- but it's really two -- primary sites and we have confidentiality agreements around all three of them, so I can't really discuss it too much," Cotton said. "No one place is on the front burner more than the other. I will tell you that we do hope to announce something in the next, hopefully, three weeks."

What's the other place(s) they could play?

Posted by: sitruc | August 29, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Baseball Newbie: Often the minor league parks have a better atmosphere, and provide a better entertainment value (cheaper tickets, cheaper beer, wild promotions, more fun). After the last strike, there were many minor league teams that were outdrawing the major-league teams in the same town.

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | August 29, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Minor gripe, but can we avoid that whole "first! second!" thing here. I expect it on the neanderthal redskins football blog, but please not here.

Posted by: greg | August 29, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

but why does KC have a minor league baseball team when they have a major league team already?

Posted by: Baseball Noob | August 29, 2007 10:40 AM
-------------------
It's splitting hairs, but the minor league team is in KC, KS while the major league team is in KC, MO. But it's not uncommon to have an MLB and a minor league team in the same urban area (Bowie Baysox, St. Paul Saints). A market exists for fans who appreciate the lower price for family entertainment.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | August 29, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like the minor league team is in Kansas City Kansas, not Missouri. Technicallya different city.

Posted by: justin | August 29, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

First!

Posted by: First! | August 29, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm rooting for KC to make a comeback, then we'd have a pretty solid midwest representation with STL, Chicago, KC, and Columbus.

Posted by: Logan Circle | August 29, 2007 10:44 AM

If KC did make a "comeback," would that be like 7,000 per game instead of 6,500? I've followed this league fairly closely since before opening day '96, and I don't ever recall KC getting even remotely decent crowds ever, even for their biggest ever matches. Now, they have had some good teams, but that's somewhat of a different story. They have never had support that was better than laughable. For example, they once attempted to offer $5 tickets to a playoff game and drew something like 1,500 actual people. I went to a game at Arrowhead back in 1998, sat in the shade and counted the actual people in the stadium. There were around 1,200 people in the stadium including ushers, players, coaches, and ball kids. Announced attendance was like 7,000. That team should have been moved before Miami ever was...

Posted by: comeback? | August 29, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Rochester, Philly, St. Louis, Raleigh-Durham, Seattle and Portland all deserve teams before Kansas City. The NFL and NBA often moved teams around in the early years. MLS won't be different -- except our beloved United, of course! (Though I wouldn't mind them playing in Springfield, VA...)

Posted by: Joe Doc | August 29, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

They might not be attracting the largest crowds, but attendance at each KC home game this season has been above 7,000 and is averaging around 9,700.

Toronto 7,438; Columbus 7,426; Dallas 10,141; NY 13,875; Houston 8,091; Toronto 9,485; DC 7,872; Salt Lake 11,766; Colorado 7,101; Chivas 11,649; NE 9,035; Chicago 12,468
(http://kc.wizards.mlsnet.com/schedule/season.jsp?team=t105)

Posted by: emanon | August 29, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

DCU #1 in Fox's power rankings. Still, people want to fire Soehn after another road win...

KC's average attedance this year is 9696 -- the next-closest is Chivas at 12,789 (wow, I'm surprised that they are second-lowest). Great idea to have two teams in one city!

BTW, fantastic to see three clubs averaging over 20 (LA, DC, Toronto).

Posted by: RK | August 29, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Read this in Jeff Carlisle's preview of tonight's SuperLiga final:

The fact that a scheduling conflict with landlord Cal-State Dominguez Hills will limit attendance to 12,500 fans (a little less than half the Home Depot Center's capacity) only adds to the Galaxy's woes.

What the heck does that mean? Wouldn't you think that either LAG have access to the stadium or they don't? If, on certain nights, they can only seat half the stadium then that is a pathetic arrangement they have there - you also have to wonder if that has something to do with Chivas' low avg attendance numbers. If they have a landlord, do they also not get 100% of the stadium/concession/parking proceeds? I thought that that was the whole benefit of the SSS...

By the way, KC has a team because Lamar Hunt was a major invester in the league. They probably weren't deserving otherwise. But I just checked and KC's average attendance over the years hasn't been THAT bad. Well...at least in 2003 and 2004 they averaged about 15K per game.

Posted by: DE | August 29, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if Chivas might pick up some more fans for next season simply because they have a team that is much more fun to watch than seeing the Galazy continue to fall apart.

If LA cans Yallop can Lalas be far behind? If I owned that team I'd have dumped Alexi a long time ago.

Posted by: Glenn | August 29, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Cal State Dominguez needs the parking, not the stadium. It is moving in week for thier students and since the stadium is on their campus they win.

Posted by: jgildea8 | August 29, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

"I don't ever recall KC getting even remotely decent crowds ever, even for their biggest ever matches."

comeback?-
I agree with the overall point that attendance in KC is not good, or what it should be, but I don't think it's as bad as that. I attended a game there last year, and it was decently attended - by which I mean about 10,000. I also remember that for some of their biggest games in the past they have exceeded 20,000.

I agree that drawing 20,000 for your big game is not the same as drawing 50,000 or something, but 20,000 is decent, at least to me.

I don't think KC should have an unlimited time to get itself together, but there is new ownership, they worked out a stadium for this year and seem to be trying to find a permanent solution. I say give the new folks in charge there a chance.

Posted by: Rob | August 29, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why it would limit the number of fans at 12,500 either. What if the other 10,000 all took cabs to the game? Would they not be able to buy tickets? Sounds like a pre-emptive attendance excuse from the Gals FO.

Posted by: Chico | August 29, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

You mean students actually live on campus at CSU Dominguez Hills? I thought it was a commuter school. Regardless, that doesn't sound like a good reason to limit attendance to 12,500.

Chico's right - preemptive excuse for low attendance. I wonder if they'll even sell out the 12,500...

Posted by: DE | August 29, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

KC had good attendance in the past, but dipped when there was talk of moving the team. I don't blame people for not showing up and supporting a team that might be gone the following week. Hopefully their ownership and SSS issues will get ironed out and then attendance will likely rebound. KC's a good market.

Posted by: wisc. ave | August 29, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

just to clarify, the kansas city t-bones are an independent league team, not a minor league team.

Posted by: kurt | August 29, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"Peter Wilt guest posted on Luis Arroyave's blog that there would be an announcement about a women's team in Chicago, is that the 8th team?"
----------------------
Nope. That's been one of the cities for quite a while now: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/soccer/2007-04-17-women-pro-relaunch_N.htm
As of the date of that article, the cities were New York/New Jersey, Boston, DC, LA, St. Louis, Dallas and Chicago. And then there was, according to the piece's author, Christine Brennan, "...a market to be named later."

So, Steve, my question still is: any news on what that to-be-named-later market is?

Posted by: seahawkdad | August 29, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

This just in: The University of Michigan is limiting attendance at the first home football game to 25,000 because of classes that week.

OK, I just made that up. My point being that if Cal St. D were making lots of $$ from the match, then they'd say "screw the students," just like any big school.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | August 29, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

RE: Other bloggers:

WVHooligan is a hack and a plagiarist.

Posted by: AlecW81 | August 29, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like the minor league team is in Kansas City Kansas, not Missouri. Technicallya different city.

Posted by: justin | August 29, 2007 11:03 AM

And we can continue to call them "Kansas" and they can't complain now.

Having visited the area around T-Bone stadium (near the NASCAR raceway and a big outdoor shopping district with bars), it seems a logical place for KC to put their team, both temporary and permanent. Mind you, it's not my taste for an urban city stadium, but having grown up there, I know it's hard to extract KC folks from their cars and shopping.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Take this with a grain of salt since the last time I was there and at a game they were called just the Wiz, but moving KC to Kansas is probably a good idea. The Kansas suburbs are generally nicer and I would bet participation in youth leagues is higher. To relate it to the DC area, Arrowhead is in a location similar to FedEx (not great but not bad) and the rumored site out in the Kansas suburbs would be more like the nicer areas in Montgomery County or Northern Virginia.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2007 7:22 PM | Report abuse

The Kansas suburbs are generally nicer and I would bet participation in youth leagues is higher. To relate it to the DC area, Arrowhead is in a location similar to FedEx (not great but not bad) and the rumored site out in the Kansas suburbs would be more like the nicer areas in Montgomery County or Northern Virginia.

Posted by: | August 29, 2007 07:22 PM
_________________________________________

But would this venue be well served by public transit, or otherwise accessible to the rest of the metropolitan area? It sounds as if this is where the proverbial soccer moms live, but how about Latinos and other ethnic groups?

Posted by: Section 410 | August 29, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

The Kansas suburbs are generally nicer and I would bet participation in youth leagues is higher. To relate it to the DC area, Arrowhead is in a location similar to FedEx (not great but not bad) and the rumored site out in the Kansas suburbs would be more like the nicer areas in Montgomery County or Northern Virginia.

Posted by: | August 29, 2007 07:22 PM

That part of the Kansas suburbs is Overland Park and Lenexa. Where the article is referencing is farther north, I equate it more to Arundel Mills or north Laurel in feel. No public transit to speak of. Since it's all by car, no real advantage or disadvantage to ethnic enclaves.

Posted by: Jester64 | August 29, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

From San Diego Union-Tribune 8/17/07

"The rights to the eighth team was held by an entity called Soccer Initiative LLC, which the Union-Tribune later identified as Padres owner John Moores. Soccer Initiative LLC was supposed to designate a city by March or April, and San Diego was considered a leading candidate.

The eight charter owners, Antonucci said, signed letters of intent and made a "modest initial capital payment" to retain territorial rights.

"We're still in discussion with Soccer Initiative LLC," Antonucci said. "The situation continues to evolve. We're still engaged with them, so I wouldn't rule them out."

In the meantime, several other cities have shown interest in a franchise, including San Jose, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Rochester, N.Y., Vancouver, British Columbia, and Virginia Beach, Va.

"We continue to look at San Diego as a market," Antonucci said, "but we don't have any new developments to report."

Posted by: WNT fan | August 30, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

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