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Posted at 12:25 AM ET, 12/14/2010

Tuesday kickaround: WPS demise, MLS re-entry draft, Edgar Castillo loan, Club World Cup

By Steve Goff

*Women's Professional Soccer launched less than two years ago with seven franchises. Today, only Boston, New Jersey and Washington remain from the original group. On Monday, Chicago became the fourth founding team in 11 months to shut down. The league pledges to press on with six clubs -- Atlanta, Philadelphia and Western New York have joined in the past year -- but Washington's new owner says he might split home games between D.C. and South Florida and change the name into a tacky commercial label.

The regular season has been cut to 18 matches from 24. The league will take a two-week break this summer during the three-week Women's World Cup in order to avoid scheduling conflicts. However, with almost all of the U.S. national team players competing in WPS, clubs will be shorthanded ahead of the tournament in Germany and probably again during the late stages of the Cup.

For much more.....

*The list of players available for Wednesday's second stage in the MLS re-entry draft is the same as the initial offering, minus the two players chosen last week (Joseph Ngwenya by D.C. United and Aaron Hohlbein by Columbus) and Los Angeles veteran Jovan Kirovski, who withdrew from consideration and presumably is re-negotiating with the Galaxy. United has the first pick again.

While players picked up in Stage 1 were signed to predetermined salary figures, those chosen in Stage 2 will enter negotiations for a new contract. Should no agreement be reached and an offer is made, the club will hold on to the player's rights in MLS. Players not selected in Stage 2 will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

*Edgar Castillo, an American defender based in Mexico, is going to be loaned to Puebla from Club America, which owns his contract. Castillo, 24, spent the Apertura season with San Luis. According to his agent Eddie Rock, the deal should be finalized today and Castillo will join Puebla this weekend to prepare for the Clausura season. He has one U.S. cap.

*Soccer on TV:
Club World Cup semifinal, Mazembe-Internacional 11 a.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Deportes

The winner will advance to Saturday's final against Inter Milan or Seongnam, who play one another Wednesday.

By Steve Goff  | December 14, 2010; 12:25 AM ET
Categories:  Americans Abroad, Club World Cup, MLS, Mexico, TV, Women  | Tags:  Club World Cup, MLS, WPS  
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Next: D.C. United signs Maryland's Ethan White to homegrown contract; Terps goalkeeper Zac MacMath is also turning pro

Comments

Dangit, thought we had a shot at Kirovski. He was in the ManU youth system, ya know.

Posted by: benonthehill | December 14, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to see us pick Cory Gibbs. When healthy, he's one of the more talented CBs in the league, and would be a tremendous addition alongside James and Jakovic, who could split playing time. He's not very expensive, especially when you consider the other high-caliber CB, Jimmy Conrad's salary, and he's a few years younger than Conrad. This would allow us to focus on drafting a really exceptional striker in the first round, because clearly that is our most deficient area and it seems as though there are more good attacking players than defenders in this year's draft.


On a different note: has Namoff made any progress? I'd love to see #26 back out there. That would give us a back line of Namoff, Gibbs, Jakovic/James, and Zayner. If Bryan could get back to even 80% of his prime, we'd have one of the better back lines in the league, especially with a refocused Perkins and an extremely talented Hamid splitting time between the pipes and the Simms/McCarty pairing in central midfield.

If nothing else, we seem to be accumulating depth, which has been an issue for this club in recent years. When the starters got frustrated/ineffective, Onalfo and Benny did not have anyone to replace them with, and thus had to stick with guys who weren't playing well. Now we at least have options and more competition for starting jobs. I don't think we'll make the playoffs this coming year, but we should at least go down fighting, unlike this past year.

Posted by: kdiff813 | December 14, 2010 2:00 AM | Report abuse

tacky commercial name? like, say, the Red Bulls? hey, anything that keeps them solvent and operating is OK by me. I'd much rather have the Washington YellowCabs or whatever than just the memories of the Freedom. Or just the memories of women's professional soccer (lower case intended).

Posted by: troy6 | December 14, 2010 3:25 AM | Report abuse

As a season ticket holder, I am not thrilled at the possibility of the team being re-branded as Magic Jack, for a couple reasons. 1) part of the re-branding will be to remove the DC affiliation and appears to be the first step in moving the team to FL. 2) having the name 'Jack' in any team name is just asking for it.

But, as troy6 says, call them the YellowCabs, just give me a team. However, it's unclear we'll have much. The team has been without a coach for almost 3 months (Gabarra resigned 9/28), without a GM for more than three weeks (11/23) and we have no indication that there is progress being made on either front.

Free agents are getting signed left and right, including some key players from the Freedom 2010 roster (Harris, Long, Asante, Bock) and the current Freedom employees are getting their news the same way I am: from blogs.

If the WPS wants to be a professional league, they should start behaving like one, as should the individual teams.

Posted by: YesMomStillPlaying | December 14, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Blatter, good for a stupid comment a day. I think we are beginning to see the silver lining of the Qatar decision/purchase.

Posted by: Reignking | December 14, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Shouldn't it be the Magic Jills?

Posted by: Reignking | December 14, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

As a season ticket holder, I am not thrilled at the possibility of the team being re-branded as Magic Jack, for a couple reasons. 1) part of the re-branding will be to remove the DC affiliation and appears to be the first step in moving the team to FL. 2) having the name 'Jack' in any team name is just asking for it.

But, as troy6 says, call them the YellowCabs, just give me a team. However, it's unclear we'll have much. The team has been without a coach for almost 3 months (Gabarra resigned 9/28), without a GM for more than three weeks (11/23) and we have no indication that there is progress being made on either front.

Free agents are getting signed left and right, including some key players from the Freedom 2010 roster (Harris, Long, Asante, Bock) and the current Freedom employees are getting their news the same way I am: from blogs.

If the WPS wants to be a professional league, they should start behaving like one, as should the individual teams.

Posted by: YesMomStillPlaying | December 14, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse


There are rumblings that the team is making free-agent moves, and that an announcement will happen soon.

Posted by: stwasm | December 14, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Why isn't the World Club Cup soccer tourny played in the USA like the world series baseball tourny is?

Posted by: 9Nine9 | December 14, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to hear about the Freedom. I agree--this is the first step to a move to South Florida. And I don't think it's logical that (a) "there are a lot of Brasilians in S.florida" so therefore it follows (b) "they will therefore pay money to see Marta." If that were true the Brazilian women would draw fans in their home country and get funding from their national federation. Love Marta as a player. But....I think a lesson to be learned from WPS and WUSA at this point is: it's not about the players. You can have the best players or flashiest players in the world on your roster and that won't guarantee fans and money.

Eager to hear about the re-entry draft. And no, we aren't going to solve our finishing issues with the superdraft. Anything less than a professional player with some pedigree and a record of finishing is going to be a "check back in 2013". Remember Jason Garey? Won a National Championship, fine finisher in college. He's not chum, being tossed around from team to team in MLS. I think I'd side with Conrad over Gibbs. I think Conrad is a better organizer than Gibbs and probably better in the clubhouse (no slam on Gibbs, just a statement about the rep that Conrad has in that regard). And frankly, I'd like us to take a run at Angel. I don't expect miracles. But if he can stay fit enough to start 20-24 matches and give us 10 goals (plus serve as the best threat and defensive attention-getter in the box we've had since Emilio's inaugural season) than that will be a huge asset to this team. We've got a lot of guys who--when healthy and in-form--will chip in with a couple of goals and I full expect us to draft a rookie striker who can add 2-3 goals as well. But we're not a good enough team to score goals by committee--we need a good, clinical finisher upfront. That isn't Pontius and it isn't Ngwenya.

Posted by: JoeW1 | December 14, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Why bother moving to Florida? The league is done. They were dumb enough to re-launch when they did.

Good thing Kennesaw St. decided to create a new football program to fill that nice new stadium.

Posted by: Reignking | December 14, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Why isn't the World Club Cup soccer tourny played in the USA like the world series baseball tourny is?

Posted by: 9Nine9

They want to spread the game to new corners of the globe.

Posted by: Reignking | December 14, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

kdiff813:

I'm not so high on Gibbs. He's extraordinarily injury prone; if it's not a hamstring or a calf strain, it's something more severe. Also, he was a near-constant for the worst defense in MLS this past season (50 goals conceded). In the past 2 seasons, he hasn't looked any better than what we already have (in fact, I'd argue he looks slightly worse).

While I think there's at least some chance of us taking him in the 2nd round today, I'm not sure he'll make much of an impact.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | December 14, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Borislow knows how to market an VOIP device, but he doesn't know how to market women's soccer. He's going to take a team with a fan base 10 years in the making and move it to an area that didn't even support an MLS team because that's where he lives. Have any WNT friendlies been played in So. Fla.? What was the attendance? The man needs to do some market research.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 14, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

There are rumblings that the team is making free-agent moves, and that an announcement will happen soon.

Posted by: stwasm | December 14, 2010 8:24 AM
_________________________________________

With no coach or GM, what soccer-knowledgeable person is making decisions about free agents? And remember that Chicago just dumped twenty or so players onto the free agent market, so the Freedom will be falling farther behind.

Goff: With regard to the headline, here is the definition of "demise":

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/demise

Since WPS will be around next year, perhaps you meant to say "decline"? As Clemens might have put it, "demise" is somewhat exaggerated.

Posted by: universityandpark | December 14, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

@ReignKing -- The WPS isn't a dumb idea. Maybe you don't think about this, but those players serve as EXCELLENT role models to young girls. Not only that, these women play for the love of the game and are TONS more fan friendly than their male counterparters normally are, sticking around after games to sign autographs, and providing an affordable, family-friendly alternative to many cash-strapped groups. Given this age of athletes committing crimes, making more money than you and I will ever see in our lifetimes combined, and walking around with a sense of entitlement, it's nice to see a down-to-earth group of people who just happen to be women put out a high-quality product.

Posted by: stwasm | December 14, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

@ReignKing -- The WPS isn't a dumb idea. Maybe you don't think about this, but those players serve as EXCELLENT role models to young girls. Not only that, these women play for the love of the game and are TONS more fan friendly than their male counterparters normally are, sticking around after games to sign autographs, and providing an affordable, family-friendly alternative to many cash-strapped groups. Given this age of athletes committing crimes, making more money than you and I will ever see in our lifetimes combined, and walking around with a sense of entitlement, it's nice to see a down-to-earth group of people who just happen to be women put out a high-quality product.

Posted by: stwasm

That's great if you are running a charity, and not a business.

Posted by: Reignking | December 14, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

@stwasm: I agree with your points on the attributes of the WPS. I take my sons to Freedom games and I show my U9 boys team videos of outstanding plays that include women's games. But the WPS, as a business, just isn't solid. The market for role models is secondary to the market for soccer. And, for women's soccer, the current market is not sustaining the league.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 14, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I am not a fan of the WPS, my girls would rather watch DC United than the Freedom. BUT, those who mock the WPS should know that those same arguements are being made about MLS by folks who don't like/watch soccer. Be careful about the stones you throw.

Posted by: boda-united | December 14, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

@ReignKing -- The WPS isn't a dumb idea. Maybe you don't think about this, but those players serve as EXCELLENT role models to young girls.

Posted by: stwasm

That's great if you are running a charity, and not a business.

Posted by: Reignking
--------------------------------

+1

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | December 14, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

"it's nice to see a down-to-earth group of people who just happen to be women put out a high-quality product."
-stwasm

@stwasm: I feel ya about the role model, feel good thing. Before I became a parent, I enjoyed the old Freedom WUSA matches (more than the DCU matches for much of the same period) and I loved taking my daughter to matches.

Personally, I think that RK's use of the word "dumb" was harsh (although I do find it funny that a lot of people say the same thing about MLS or the trying to grow the sport in any version here in the USA).

But the market place has spoken. Not enough of us care enough to purchase the high-quality product. I don't think that it is a coincidence that the protagonists "happen to be women".

You can bring the highest quality product to the market but if not enough people want tyo buy it and you don't have deep enough pockets to continue to fund it at a loss then your business cannot sustain itself.

Love the product. There's just not enough people who do who are willing to purchase it.


Posted by: yankiboy | December 14, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

@ReignKing -- The WPS isn't a dumb idea. Maybe you don't think about this, but those players serve as EXCELLENT role models to young girls. Not only that, these women play for the love of the game and are TONS more fan friendly than their male counterparters normally are, sticking around after games to sign autographs, and providing an affordable, family-friendly alternative to many cash-strapped groups. Given this age of athletes committing crimes, making more money than you and I will ever see in our lifetimes combined, and walking around with a sense of entitlement, it's nice to see a down-to-earth group of people who just happen to be women put out a high-quality product.

Posted by: stwasm

That's great if you are running a charity, and not a business.


That all depends on how you run the business. It's worked with the WNBA, 13 years and counting. WPS has made some mistakes, which I hope will be corrected. If you don't like women's soccer, don't watch it, and don't read articles on it and comment on them.

Posted by: stwasm | December 14, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

And, for women's soccer, the current market is not sustaining the league.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 14, 2010 10:03 AM
________________________________________

Or the market that would sustain the league has not yet been discovered. Nearly every day I get behind the wheel of a vehicle that was originally intended for a demographic that does not include me by a longshot. When this model was first put on the market 8-10 years ago, sales were surprisingly strong among other segments of the populace, and the manufacturer refocused its marketing accordingly. These things are not predictable, and there is often a lot of trial and error before a viable formula is found. At least Borislow seems to have the financial stamina to endure such costly trial and error, although I think his specific proposed innovations are quite dubious. Maybe he'll prove us all wrong, who knows?

Posted by: universityandpark | December 14, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

The WNBA started and continues to be a charitable endeavor of the NBA.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 14, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

So I am really not very good at all of this collective bargaining, labor relations type stuff but can I suggest that maybe the WPS players who were investing time looking to unionize maybe refocus that energy??? Now is not a good time to be posturing to bluff the few owners left, seeing how the commish bailed and more teams have gone under.

I wonder if any of the W-League clubs will start offering more in compensation (like Buffalo, now WNY) did last year. The WPSL clubs are not allowed to but coaching clinics can only go so far when you are trying to put food in your mouth.

Maybe some of the players will head to Sweden or Germany...

I've seen this movie before and I really hope that they don't fold two weeks before the World Cup like in '03.


Posted by: yankiboy | December 14, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

The WNBA started and continues to be a charitable endeavor of the NBA.

Posted by: I-270Exit1

That's what I've heard; I don't know if they have a goal to profit.

stwasm: I'm not commenting on women's soccer -- I'm commenting on the viablity of launching a sports league in the middle of an awful recession with very little sponsorship or billionaire backers for something that had just failed despite having the most inertia (from the World Cups) that it will ever have.

Posted by: Reignking | December 14, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Why bother moving to Florida? The league is done. They were dumb enough to re-launch when they did.

Posted by: Reignking | December 14, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

They relaunched over the course of 2006 and 2007. Were they supposed to foresee the Great Recession?

Posted by: stancollins | December 14, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

It began play in 2009. If you aren't locking in enough corporate sponsorship before that, maybe that should tell you something.

Posted by: Reignking | December 14, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Noone actually likes womens soccer anyway. They just like the idea of telling people they are better than them because they respect another sport that noone enjoys watching.

Posted by: TenoriosLaptop | December 14, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Noone actually likes womens soccer anyway. They just like the idea of telling people they are better than them because they respect another sport that noone enjoys watching.

Posted by TenoriosLaptop

Bro, I enjoy watching women's soccer. And believe me, I'm from Baltimore so I really am not in a position to tell anyone reading or around the globe that I'm any better than anyone. Besides, we are the salt of the earth type.

I do find you comment to be really funny though.

Thanks for the laugh. I enjoy watching womens soccer, professional, college and international.

maybe it's the people who theorize that no one actually digs it and that some other people only say that they do so that they can feel superior to those who do actually enjoy it whose only motive you propose is that we can feel feel superior to those who don't.

Maybe it's a loty of those types that actually have the superiority complex...

Posted by: yankiboy | December 14, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

So I am really not very good at all of this collective bargaining, labor relations type stuff but can I suggest that maybe the WPS players who were investing time looking to unionize maybe refocus that energy???

Posted by: yankiboy | December 14, 2010 10:50 AM
_________________________________________

You are assuming that the only purpose of a labor union is to extract more pay and benefits. However, there are other issues of concern to players that a union might address; e.g., scheduling fixtures in a way that enables players to balance club and NT duties.

Posted by: universityandpark | December 14, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

sarcasm

Posted by: TenoriosLaptop | December 14, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

The WNBA started and continues to be a charitable endeavor of the NBA.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 14, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse


Not true. Most of the WNBA's owners are independent. They've turned a profit, ratings and attendance are up, and are doing well.

Posted by: stwasm | December 14, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I'll drive what universityandpark is driving.

Posted by: dccal | December 14, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

stwasm: I'm not commenting on women's soccer -- I'm commenting on the viablity of launching a sports league in the middle of an awful recession with very little sponsorship or billionaire backers for something that had just failed despite having the most inertia (from the World Cups) that it will ever have.

Posted by: Reignking | December 14, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Okay, I misunderstood that. I thought you were saying women's soccer was dumb.

Posted by: stwasm | December 14, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

sarcasm

Posted by: TenoriosLaptop
------------------------------------------
sarcasm and some typos.

Posted by: yankiboy | December 14, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

@dccal: I'm guessing it's a Honda Element.

@stwasm: I do all my research on Wikipedia. But you can't deny that the WNBA was bankrolled by the NBA for years, allowing it to survive. The WPS has no such wealthy benefactor.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 14, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

The WNBA started and continues to be a charitable endeavor of the NBA.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 14, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse


Not true. Most of the WNBA's owners are independent. They've turned a profit, ratings and attendance are up, and are doing well.

Posted by: stwasm | December 14, 2010 11:45 AM
-------------------------------------------
Ok. I gotta call you on this one.

No chance, Lance is the WNBA making a profit. With the exception of the Connecticut Sun (owned by the Mohegan Sun Casino) in most cases they are being kept alive by assistance from the NBA.

They are NOT making a profit. The Sun is reportedly making a profit (again, see casino).

Those teams are a money pit. They have a hardcore niche fanbase but even that is starting to erode in some markets--just watch the Mystics fanbase erode--coz it's coming after they fired the GM & coach to save some coin because they are losing too much money.

The WNBA would have gone belly up around season 3 or 4 if it were not for the NBA.

Absolutely no disrespect intended and we can always move this to a Mystics blog but there is no way that assertion could go.

Of the two statements, the interstate is much closer to being accurate than the one that you made.

I LOVE the Mystics (less than the Freedom but I still enjoy this, especially this past season even thought they choked in the playoffs). I watch WNBA games on the tizzzube.

Unfortunately for them and those care, they are bleeding ca$h left and right, just like most of the WNBA franchises are.

If tED Leonis, Lincoln Holdings, Sheila Johnson and company are struggling and other league management sources says that multiple teams are in serious economic peril--things aren't looking too rosy for the WNBA.

They should be thankinG their lucky Shooting Stars (insert rimshot, cymbal crash here) that they have a Sugar Daddy with more ca$h than the WPS.

Ok. Now I am going over to the Mystics blog to post about the WPS.

I hope to run into you at a MagicTalk FC match sometime. Hopefully we will actually have the chance...

Posted by: yankiboy | December 14, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Sweet. Tuned into FIFACWC just in time to see some classic Brazilian defending.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | December 14, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

How does a front office reduced to 5 or so people cut anyone else?

Also, I don't think he's realized that his overhead costs are going to double. With two distinct markets, thats twice as much advertising, sales reps, customer service people, etc.

Then again, maybe he'll just utilize the MajicJack staff to run the games and sell tickets. I mean, how tough can it be?

Posted by: SoccerVA | December 14, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

the simple fact is that with precious few exceptions (eg. the Olympic Bikini Team Contest (er, beach volleyball) all around the world almost no-one pays to watch female team sports, and marginally more that pay to see individual female sport (how many really watch ladies golf or tennis, track and field does okay)?

that means boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, do not care to watch female sports. hence little advertising and very therefore small broadcasting deals to underwrite the sport.

the broadcasting of the WNBA by NBC and Lifetime was achieved by arm-twisting by the NBA (if you want to show the big boy games you must show the girl games).

ladies professional sports will never be "big time" in the US unless the women attract male viewers by, (dammit have to admit Sepp is right) sexing up their outfits.

which is why the International Olympic Committee requires the women to wear teeny tiny bikinis when playing beach volleyball while the men can wear shirts and long shorts.

get over it, get used to it.

say goodbye to WPS unless truly deep pockets that need a severe tax-offset come in.

Posted by: Section107 | December 14, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Goff: With regard to the headline, here is the definition of "demise":

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/demise

Since WPS will be around next year, perhaps you meant to say "decline"? As Clemens might have put it, "demise" is somewhat exaggerated.

Posted by: universityandpark | December 14, 2010 9:42 AM |

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----


+1

Posted by: oneborntwice | December 14, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

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