Gulati: USWNT in NWSL ‘extraordinarily important’

Jeff Kassouf January 17, 2014 225

Sunil Gulati says it is critical for U.S. players to be in the NWSL.

PHILADELPHIA — Thursday brought buzz of the National Women’s Soccer League’s struggle to keep players from going to Europe. Several coaches admitted that the NWSL could not compete financially with top European clubs.

On Friday, during the NWSL College Draft, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati and NWSL executive director Cheryl Bailey didn’t seem to share the concerns.

“That’s the first I’ve heard of it,” Gulati said. “Our players are under contract. Players move internationally, so if they move, that is part of the sport. But it’s going the other way right now, with players coming from the Champions League.”

That trend has been one under scrutiny of late, with U.S. players abroad — Christen Press, Yael Averbuch, Whitney Engen, Meghan Klingenberg and Amber Brooks — flocking back to the United States. Press, now a Chicago Red Stars, recently wrote about the pressures from the USSF for Americans to be playing in NWSL. Gulati explained why U.S. Soccer wants their players

“It’s extraordinarily important for several reasons. It was actually part of our contractual agreement with the women’s national team that they would play in this league,” he said. “That’s important for the league, to have the best players playing in it. For Tom it makes the scheduling a lot easier – he met with them last week. And so the reason we made it a requirement that they’re here is for the league, but also because next year especially is because once we get into (World Cup) qualifying in the fall and beyond, then the schedule and everything will have to be fit around not just our program, but the Canadian program and the Mexican program as well.”

[MORE: Complete coverage of the NWSL College Draft]

There were murmurs of other federations joining the U.S., Canada and Mexico in the allocated player system, but Gulati said talks fell through for the 2014 season and the 2015 World Cup will decrease the availability of national team players. He would not confirm whether or not the federation in question was Brazil.

“It becomes harder for next year. We talked with one other federation – they looked at it quite seriously, they liked it and in the end they decided not to participate,” Gulati said. “But what you need is a federation that doesn’t have many of their pool players playing abroad and/or in a strong domestic league, and then and/or the funding. We had one with eight players that could make an impact – or nine now – but they decided not to since it’s not one that has not had as much resources on their program, necessarily, as we would.”

Western New York Flash coach Aaran Lines said he expects Australian players – Sam Kerr, for the Flash — in preseason training camp.

Gulati pointed to three recent indicators for optimism regarding the NWSL: The recent addition of the Houston Dash, backed by and MLS team; the hiring of Randy Waldrum as Dash coach, who left a secure job at Notre Dame and put faith in the league; and the addition of 2013 FIFA World Player of the Year and Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer on what was described as a fiscally responsible salary.

“I’m actually very cautious about this, but I have more faith in the stability of this league than any women’s league in any year over the course of the last 20 years.” keeping teams, adding teams, more teams interested.

Bailey said the league is hoping to have a schedule release in early February, and there should be formal announcements about national sponsors in the coming weeks.

  • Guest

    “we made it a requirement”

    I wouldn’t mind it as much if it were a free market, but they are making it a requirement and then artificially limiting their earning ability on top of it all. If what they’d make in Europe matched what they make in NWSL I’d have less issue with this.

    For players with endorsement deals or who are a sure thing for the WC roster (and yes, there are players who have already punched their ticket more or less) the trade off value of staying domestic is at least visible, but some of these players being required to come home aren’t going to have endorsements or a roster spot in the WC and were needlessly removed from good European teams and good pay to basically stock NWSL. All for a carrot they don’t even get to properly pursue what with how Tom has been running his Friendlies the last ten months.

    If this is what it has come down to I want to see Tom bench the vets and at least let the players who have given up everything for the shot of making the WC roster playing time in the upcoming Friendlies. And I’m not talking 20 min subs or out of position trials. Abby, Carli, and HAO can sit out the next four friendlies.

    • Ben

      You must have also miss this part

      “It was actually part of our contractual agreement with the women’s national team that they would play in this league”

      This means that it is part of the CBA that USWNT play in this league and one must think they also agreed on the salary level as well.

      • wosofan

        Exactly. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of surprise on the part of some in the media that National Team players should be compelled to do what’s in the interest of their Team and very league that is largely sponsored by the USSF. But, Sunil’s not stupid. He’s not going to put serious USSF dollars into the NWSL without requiring the best federation players to play in the NWSL. Quid pro quo, and all that good stuff.

        Now, if Press would prefer to make serious bank, she’s free to run to PSG or Man City, whatever oil baron will pay the most, and she can watch the 2015 WC on the telly. (Or, she could honor the CBA, play in the NWSL, become a huge American star at the 2015 WC, and make most of her money from Coca Cola and Nike, like Alex Morgan/Solo/Wambach do).

        • newsouth

          Press has more talent but she’s in the same boat as A-Rod and Tasha (they never got those big coke and nike deals). As long as she is playing 10 min Wambach sub, those big contracts aren’t coming. She knows that.

          • Elaine

            I beg to differ. Look at Syd. All 2012 a sub player off the bench. Now look at her with her Nike contract.

          • kevin

            Even Allie Long got a Nike Contract and she is no where near the caliber of National team players.

          • luke

            Haven’t you got the memo? Allie Long is top world class playmaker. Fact confirmed by all two Thorns coaches. :)

          • newsouth

            That all get clothes and boots. Nike, Addidas, Asics, etc have plently of athletes you don’t here about that have those minimum type deals. Why you think they don’t release the financials behind the deal?

          • Joyce

            that’s because of her close affiliation with alex morgan. that won’t last long.

          • newsouth

            Sydney has been championed and pushed since her Us by Jill Ellis who many say has a lot of pull at USSoccer. Bench warmer or not, She’s like a Reggie Bush, can under perform but the name recognition from college and Us can carry her pro/nt career. Even Mewis has a baby Addidas deal. of course Press can get a minimum deal with gear and boots and 1-2k a month. Holiday has one of those. I’m talking star stuff here that matches her output. Press is a star by Euro standards and a bench warmer/extra minute sub by USSoccer standards.

          • Elaine

            I think you are selling Christen short as to her marketability. She will be playing in the the US real soon. I wouldn’ t be surprised if she poses for Nike catalog this year.

          • newsouth

            The push doesn’t come from the NWSL, or Holiday would be getting big billing by Nike. As usual, she’s just another mid-fielder on the NT. Press will get a clothing and boot deal in her current position. In her mind Sweden is worth more. BTW, for all the big name sponsors of Morgan, it’s estimate by sports agencies/ESPN her take is about 1.2-1.5M a year. That’s good but small when you compare Serena got a 30M/4-5yr deal from Nike alone. i’m just saying the money for soccer players is still down the scale even when you are the most marketed player. now, take a bench warmer who is a out of position sub. she’s gets a minimum deal. as far as some people jumping on sydney, like i said, think reggie bush and when her name generated buzz. .

          • NYRick

            I would say a more accurate guess would be Morgan 3 mil a year, Abby 1.5 and Hope 1.0 as far as US players. But you may be correct as well, not sure. Like you say, the women tennis players like Serena, Sharapova and Ivanovic are pulling in the big numbers you mention.

            With the big US 3 of Morgan, Abby and Hope for the US sponsors, there really isn’t much more room for anyone else. The sport is still too fringe for the US public. That’s why I think CP’s strategy (and it WAS a smart one) was to become a big star in Europe and work on making her money with Euro sponsor money. Almost like becoming a new Lotta, and position herself as a European star, live her life full time there and just bank. I think most US fans want to see her play here, but this NT carrot is kind of ridiculous for someone like her at this point. She can make the US roster for WC and OG in her sleep for the coming cycle, but the only chance she has of playing (and I’m talking starts and real minutes as a forward) are with long term injuries to the other 3, or at least 2 of them. She can light it up in the NWSL (and I’m not implying that she will), but it wouldn’t matter for her NT role. She is not playing. It’s that simple.

          • newsouth

            you are so right. press was looking to be the new marta/schelin in europe. that;s worth with sponsors probably 250-500k a year. less money than the usa but nice if she played into her 30s. she gets money in the usa but she will never be the wonderkind they would have made her in europe. she was on the fast track to being a marta type. and i’m not sure wambach will walk away in 2015, thinking more 2016 for a 3-peat in the OGs. the gig is too good, as you say

          • Steglitz49

            I doubt that lady soccer players have much sponsorship income in Europe. Maybe an odd native player from a populous country like Lena Goessling or Louisa Necib, who is handsome as well. The amount is likely to be about 1/10th of what you guess.

          • Elaine

            When Lauren came on the scene she was marketed, not by Nike but by Under Armour. She was touted as their “new face” and was seen in many print ads for them. She was even a featured athlete for Chobani yogurt in 2012. So, yes, Christen will have her share of sponsors once she’s here. But of course, this being women soccer, the money does not compare to women tennis players and golfers.

          • NYRick

            Good points Elaine. I like Lauren, but she has a couple of things against her to lure the big sponsors. For one, she is not the scorer on the NT. For another, she is a little boring. Bucks only goes to the players who put the ball in the net for the NT (Alex, Abby, Mia). The GK is a freak of nature who happened to not only be a good player, but also be a lightning rod for controversy during her career. That’s why Christen’s case is interesting. She is definitely being held back for a starring role on the NT, and it is costing her some major money for it. She would score as frequently as Alex (not saying she’s better before people jump down my throat). Just saying she would score as much or even more. It’s what she does, and she has looks to boot.

            But she was not “first in” in the marketing game for the young, attractive scoring machine for women’s team. Alex beat her to that, and that can never be recouped. Only a starting forward spot on the NT and BIG TIME PRODUCTION on her part would change her situation. She would probably even have to win a golden boot at the WC and have to have the US win the title with her scoring the winning goal in the final to slightly move the needle at this point.

          • Elaine

            Lauren started off as a forward on the NT. And you’re right, most (except for Hope) who are heavily marketed are the goal scorers. And Christen is certainly a goal scorer. So why wouldn’t sponsors sign her up? Syd is not even a starting forward yet and she still got a Nike contract, being in the Nike catalog, workout video, and commercial. Why wouldn’t they do the same for Christen? But if your goal is to have her eclipse Alex’s star power at the moment, that’s a different story. It may happen still for Christen, depending on what happens at the WC. Alex was a virtual unknown back in 2010. And look at her now, after WC11 and Oly12.

          • NYRick

            My goal is not to have her eclipse Alex’s star power. That is an absolute impossibility at this point for really any women soccer player. My point in that regard was “first in” and Alex beat her to that in a big way.

          • Elaine

            Agree that Alex was “first in”, and we can’t change that fact. But it doesn’t mean she’s the “last”. Far from it, as long as USSoccer is here to stay, and the US continue to churn out talented soccer players.

          • NYRick

            Actually, that “first in” thing holds true for Syd as well. She was ahead of Alex on the Under teams and was viewed as the brighter prospect for stardom in the program. I guarantee you that in her quiet moments when she really thinks about it and sees all the attention around Alex, she has to say, “that could have or should have been me.” She’ll do just fine, but it was a huge missed opportunity for major stardom for her too.

          • Elaine

            Well, what if it was Syd who headed that winning goal in the 123m against Canada…..what “might have been” she asked. Will you post the same things on here about Syd’s stardom as you do Alex’s? Not that it’s wrong to post on the EQ, mind you.

          • newsouth

            morgan was established by than. sydney wouldn’t have been any different than lloyd (she’s one a couple of games for them on last second shots) hitting a winning shot again. it’s not about 1 goal, it’s about starts and numbers with the national team. the question is, if jill ellis had pushed sydney before pia fielded morgan, what would have happen? a-rod is replaced by sydney who develops from those caps. you can see the fast development with her under TS. and i’m not sure there isn’t much more than a 10-20% difference between her and morgan right now. morgan wouldn’t have had ellis to champion her. now, what you might have is a dog fight between morgan and press for 3. no one knows.

          • Elaine

            That’s right, no one knows who would be on top if one redo the past. But why find fault and criticize the one that did.

          • newsouth

            who’s criticizing morgan? it’s always someone is criticizing her. she’s got the top spot. that’s that. no matter the sport, someone is always shooting at the position in the top spot. it just turns into circus when it’s women’s soccer. scenarios are fun to play with in any sport.

          • Elaine

            Sorry, you’re “the” newsouth right. I must be reading endless posts from another newsouth then :) Anyway, I understand it’s all just talk around here, nothing personal.

          • newsouth

            i love the debates but i do not hate morgan. as someone said on big soccer, we’d probably be buddies if i knew her. i’m more anti-ussoccer and wambach than i will ever dislike morgan, who is the best at what she does in the direct game and a pretty attractive girl but i can’t say the same about her fan base. i have no problem with morgan winning the WC for the usa but i’d prefer the get beat before i have to watch program after program about the great career of wambach. no matter how it plays out, it will be the wambach show. let them wait til 2019.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point, that it is strange that Carli Lloyd has not been marketed more effectively, is on the money. Any ideas why?

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            Sex appeal. A large part of why Hope and Alex are two of the faces of US Soccer.

            Some people are athletes who are also pretty, and other people look like models who happen to be good athletes.

            Let’s face it. Advertisers are cutthroat. They want a “face.” And, at least as far as soccer is concerned, they want the game-winning goal to go along with it.

            Or, it could just be that someone has a better agent.

          • luke

            Facts:

            Morgan is faster than Leroux.
            Morgan is better assistant than Leroux.
            Morgan is better dribbler than Leroux.
            Morgan shots more precisely than Leroux.
            Morgan operates with her weaker leg better than Leroux.
            Morgan jumps higher than Leroux.
            [...]
            Syd may be a little bit stronger and has better stamina.

          • NYRick

            You would have to have quantifiable tests to prove what you are saying. Not just your eyes can say that. You may be correct on a lot of it, but one thing is certain: Syd has greatly closed the gap on Alex this past year.

          • newsouth

            That’s all I was saying since TS has been capping her and giving her the run of play which didn’t happen with Pia. Thanks. Going into 2014, hairs separate the three of them as far as field play, but in the minds of fans and media pushers there can only be one highlander, morgan.

          • luke

            Football is unquantifiable and we (rest of the world) like it that way. Deal with it. ;)

            And whatever she’ll do, no matter how hard she’ll work, Syd will never be as good as Alex.
            The gap between her athleticism and Alex’s athleticism is too big, same thing with soccer intelligence.
            Alex looks and walks like a woman, but run like a man, you know that. It’s kinda freakish if you ask me – I doubt Alex would be happy if someone has told her “you look like a woman, but you run like a man”, but it’s a fact.

            And some players see things on the field other can’t and will never be able to see, it’s just the way it is. Alex see much less than Morgan Brian or Tobin Heath, but much more than Syd.
            Gap in talent between Alex and Syd is huge man.

          • newsouth

            You’re going over the top now. They said Serena plays like a man. Actually, Ally Courtnall running form is similar to a male track athlete. Morgan is just more polished than Sydney. The other stuff is over the top.

          • newsouth

            Morgan has an odd leaning back running style and sydney looks like a t-rex.

            here is a style similar to a man: all leg power and upper body is compact with balanced arm movement. classic 100 mete spinter. Rampone and Dunn have this style. That’s why they are faster than Sydney and Morgan.

            now, tell me that’s not true. word out of ussoccer is rampone and dunn are the fastest on the squad.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8QLILfFesE

          • newsouth

            also, notice she leans forward and continues to accelerate, didn’t even reach top speed.

          • NYRick

            Regardless of who may be faster in a straight 40 yard dash or so, I have to say that Morgan has an uncanny ability to turn it up into another gear when the moment dictates. As in when she is running down a long ball. It seems like a defender or two is right with her, then bang. She’s gone and has that two or three step advantage out of nowhere. That is god-given athleticism, nothing more.

          • newsouth

            i’ve already said she is the direct forward from hell but this guy went off on a left tangent and started talking about power and running like a man. sydney has a good bust. ran past a lot of athletic brasilian girls in florida. not the best players but still pretty fast. as i’ve said after watching 2013, i can’t tell the difference between the three. they look interchangeable to me. as i’ve said in the past, it’s morgan’s 55-60 caps which separates them. put them all at 60 caps and come and tell me their soccer feats.

          • NYRick

            I’ve always been in your court on that.

          • kernel_thai

            Morgan’s great gift is she can move at speed without sacrificing her balance. Most players slow down to turn or handle the ball. Morgan seems to do everything at 100% which makes it very difficult for defenders to react..

          • luke

            Are you reading my mind? That’s the first name that came into my mind! :)))
            I just wanted to write: Ally Courtnall could (completely potentially) be better striker than Alex Morgan, Kealia Ohai may become better striker than Alex Morgan, Christen Press may become (already is) better striker than Alex Morgan, etc..
            But IMHO Syd is not able to get to Alex’s level. There is simply not enough talent.
            I know it’s not a very nice thing to write about 23yo aspiring and ambitious young lady, but that’s the way I see it.

          • newsouth

            in actual soccer play as of 2013, a hair separates their field play. on the sponsors’ books it’s a mile. there is nothing else. actually, i’m not reading much of what you are writing, just taking a glimpse and responding.

          • luke

            I’m not discussing 2013 Alex Morgan right now, I’m discussing top form Alex Morgan and top form Syd da Kid.
            Syd has had way much better 2013 than Alex, there is no doubt.

          • NYRick

            You see that’s an interesting point you just made: “Syd had a way much better 2013 than Alex.”

            Now that’s Syd, who wasn’t even remotely considered for FIFA Top 10 last year. Alex won this year’s US Female Soccer POY and missed by a hair of being in the top 3 for FIFA POY. Yet when I, or others say her acclaim RIGHT NOW is due to her popularity not play, we are attacked on here. It’s fact, nothing more and we should just acknowledge it and move on. Certainly not defend it in any way.

          • NYRick

            So technically, if I’m reading correctly, what you are saying is simply that Alex is a better athlete than Syd, and because of this she will never get to her level, correct?

            I respectfully disagree with that, mainly because Syd is a great athlete too, and the difference (if there is one), is not as great as you see it. A good coach has a lot to work with when dealing with Syd’s talent. And the difference from last year to this year has shown me a lot, and she’s still only 23. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if she, not Alex, not Abby, not Press was the big name performer at WC15.

          • luke

            How long Syd has been under arguably the best coaching woso machinery in the entire world? It’s been written how she was the greatest prospect in north american women’s soccer even before Morgan appeared on the scene?
            Who won U20 chile golden boot?
            You wanna convince me that now ater several years, some special coach will appear and provide revolutionary ways of training that will extract her hidden talents?
            Cmon man.

          • NYRick

            I’m confused? You act as if she’s a complete bust? She certainly is right now one of the ten best forwards in the world in my opinion. And she still is just 23. Also, the right coach can make a big difference for a player in terms of confidence and teaching. Or maybe the lightbulb finally went off in her head. Maybe she’s come to the realization that, “Hey I’m just as good as Alex and Press.” Now I’m going to prove it. She is a big time talent. Is this a Canadian thing? Are you Canadian? You are being a bit hard on her.

          • luke

            Everything you’re saying about Syd’s improvement is right. I never negated it. She exploded in 2013, I’ve seen it, I confirm it. Maybe she is top 10, I haven’t thought much about that, I’m not denying it.
            I’m not denying she and other forwards are being treated unfair when it comes to USWNT roster spots.

            I’m just saying she ain’t Alex Morgan and she has not enough potential to be at her level. That’s all.

          • NYRick

            Fair enough. You are entitled to your opinion, and you may certainly be correct in your assessment.

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear! Syd exploded in the wrong year. If a tree falls in the forrest and there is no-one to hear it, does it make a sound?

            Alex starred two years running on the world stage. Everyone who had eyes saw her; the rest heard about it.

          • newsouth

            i thought you were on the heath wagon. you’re at the wrong hay ride.

          • Steglitz49

            I am on any wagon that gets a rise.

            TS’s position is unenviable if not dreadful. He has to bring back the trophy from Vancouver. Anything less is a failure. We are talking Hungary 1954 or Brazil 1950 here. Brrr!

          • Elaine

            Total of 16.3 million set of eyes in the US saw Alex and the USWNT compete in the WC11 final and Oly12 semifinal. Not all became her fans, of course, but at least 1 million did (according to her twitter following).

          • luke

            Yes, exactly.
            Syd is competetive, fierce and has great stamina.
            Syd in some 2013 games was very impressive, almost scary, scoring machine. Syd deserves all the praise and respect for 2013, she should have won “most improved USWNT player” trophy if there was one.
            Finally Syd is great athlete, but she’s not a freak of nature Morgan is.

          • guest

            Leroux is arguably a better athlete than Morgan, though perhaps Morgan is the better footballer.

          • Sydonia

            Morgan is not manish in any way. If you believe women must run in a certain way to prove womanhood, then I feel sorry for you.

          • luke

            “Prove womanhood”? :D
            How on mother earth did you come up with that?
            Where did I write anything about “proving womanhood”?

            I just wrote that imo she runs in a manish way, that’s all, smh.

          • Steglitz49

            I put it to you that he means that Syd has more curves than Alex and that the difference is accentuated with soccer wear.

          • kernel_thai

            The fact that Courtnall is that fast and not a forward tell me she wouldnt be a great one. I mean everyone in the US starts out as a forward, right.

          • Steglitz49

            What do people remember of Alex from the WC final?
            – Scoring a goal.
            – Speed like greased lightning.
            – Being brought down in the dying seconds of extra time (with the subtext that had she not tumbled, she would have scored and the US would have won.)
            – and a few might remember Alex providing the cross (assist) to Abby’s 2-1 goal.

            What has Syd done?

          • NYRick

            I actually think the cross she made to Abby for the 2-1 goal in the WC final was the best and most clutch play of her career.

            In fairness to Syd, she hasn’t had a stage (like a WC) or vehicle yet as a starter to provide that memorable moment yet. Although it should be noted that Alex did provide her big early moments as a sub. I think caps are the more important number as to moments provided though.

          • newsouth

            you won’t know much about press, sydney or even a tymrek in qualifiers because they will steam roll everyone but canada if herdmann has his act together. we won;t know anything until elimination games in the WC, the Vacation Cup don’t count because Japan and Germany will not bring full squads as usual vs the USA playing for their $1000 a game. and the WC is up in the air because Wambach will force his hand to be on the pitch at the end of games. There is no way he will sub her out in the 70th min of elimination games. that’s why syndey and press will not get an opportunity for a winner. it won’t happen. morgan plays the full minutes. he subs if they have a game in control. if he subs wambach and they get beat, she does a solo and says she could have pulled it out for the team. you know this!

          • NYRick

            I don’t think Abby would do that to the other forwards if that scenario occurred. That would just make her look bad and soil part of her legacy. She’s way smarter than that.

            As for the WC Qualifiers, let’s face it, our B or C teams can roll in those matches. That’s why I would play Brian, Press, Tymrak, Syd and certainly Dunn a lot in those matches. If anything, it makes the roster deeper and gives them experience in bigger matches, and most importantly…it allows the US to play possum a bit. Maybe it give Neid and the Japanese genius a little more to think about for WC15. But you and I know that Sermanni is going to try to win this with Pia’s crew. He’s a safe coach, and he’ll take the safe route. If he fails, he was a good soldier, followed orders well and the sword won’t be his to fall on.

          • newsouth

            if she can go on tv and say she’ll sit practices to play more games, then she is hell bent on being on the pitch at the end of games in the world cup, esp the elimination games. he’ll sub because they will wreck at least 2 of the 5 elimination teams by half time. she won’t do it as direct as solo. you and i know that but she’ll do it under the tongue. she will finish the WC games because he will be forced to let her rest for practices between games. 70th min lloyd and wambach are laboring and playing poorly against germany and sermanni calls press and sydney for warm up. you know neid would do it but TS will do down in flames with them. probably lloyd comes out but he ain’t even really tested a 4-3-3 correctly if he needed that fire power late in the WC.

          • NYRick

            If I were Sermanni and had one goal for all of 2014, aside from qualifying of course for the WC (which they can do in their sleep) it would be to perfect or at least try (and seriously try) a 4-3-3 with Alex, Syd and Press. And as you say Dunn pushing forward (maybe KO on the other side if she’s healthy), and Pinoe, Tymrak and Brian in the midfield. You still have any combination of Engen, Brunn or Rampone for the center back line, and with Solo, arguably the best keeper in the world who is also a big game performer if all hell were to break lose against you.

            It’s a no-brainer. Best for the fans. Best for the sponsors. A truly exciting time and opportunity to grow and advance the sport in this country, and also help grow the NWSL. Not going to happen though.

          • luke

            “4-3-3 with Alex, Syd and Press. And as you say Dunn pushing forward (maybe KO on the other side if she’s healthy), and Pinoe, Tymrak and Brian in the midfield.”

            If I ever witness this team playing match of football I’ll probably evaporate in front of TV to the football heaven. You’re teasing again Rick. :-/

          • Steglitz49

            4-3-3 is OK against a weak team but against strong sides 4-4-2 is a wiser formation. Indeed, who would the 3 starting midfielders be?

          • NYRick

            I hear this over and over regarding the US and this proposed 4-3-3. All I’ll say is just try it for a good stretch of games and then let’s talk. I guarantee you that Neid and Sasaki might soil themselves at the sight of that lineup. And my 3 starting mids as stated would be Brian, Pinoe and Tymrak. And now you are going to tell about “no holding mid” and such. And what about Amber Brooks?

            Take a look at what Phila. Eagles coach Chip Kelly did with the Eagles this year. He revolutionized the way college football offenses are presently run with the what he did at Oregon the 5 previous seasons. Now he has the Eagles offense in high gear doing many of the same things. They are out of the norm, and the critics scoffed at them before this year for working in the NFL. Think of it as the US women’s version of replacing Boxx as the “holding mid.” My theory is that Brian can do that job, but revolutionize the position as well. It’s called progress. And when you have an embarrassment of riches like team US, you can take chances.

          • luke

            Brian can do that job for sure. It’s mind-boggling that player with such fantastic offensive repertoire has fine defensive skillset as well. It would be obvious waste of her talents if she was forced to do “standard” DM job, but as you say – she is by all means capable of revolutionizing the position.
            I have unlimited belief in this girl, she is just great soccer mind.

          • Steglitz49

            Essentially you can play soccer in two ways. You can either hold the midfield, the most common variant, or concentrate on attack and defense, which is essentially what the Dream Team of 1970 did.

            The advantage the ladies have over the men is that the Dream Team has not yet played, though some would argue that the 2011 Nadeshiko can lay fair claim to that title, at least for now.

          • guest

            Eagles did well this year but still lost in the first round of the playoffs. And what works for one year in the NFL doesn’t necessarily work the next. This is especially true for college strategies. We’ll see how teams adapt next year to the Eagles though NFC East is pretty weak.

            With that said, I still think a midfield of Brian, Tymrak and Pinoe is a bit risky, but I’d still want to see them run out with that line-up.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            Even a first half as 4-3-3 and second half as 4-4-2 would be interesting to see. Make it the goal of the US to attack quickly. See if you can get a couple points on the board in the first 45. If there are problems in midfield, you can always switch to 4-4-2.

            Put midfielders in who are excellent with the ball at their feet, who can keep possession under pressure. I would love to see a 4-3-3 with the women on this team. SO MUCH POTENTIAL.

          • Silver Frost

            TS tried this 4-3-3 against NZ, and got a 1-1 draw. Pathetic. Where was the firepower?

          • newsouth

            HOA and Fullbach were two of the forwards. I think people were saying, he should try the other three a couple of times. Maybe he isn’t that great as a coach, accesses the talent pool which can’t be that hard in America and uses Pia’s old playbooks

          • NYRick

            Oddly, he did that with HAO as part of the 4-3-3 in that match, and Alex was out for that one as well. My 4-3-3 focuses on Alex, Press and Syd and the others I named above. Try that lineup for 5, or better 10 straight matches then let’s talk about the firepower. It would be the greatest show on turf (version 2.0). Version 1.0 was Kurt Warner’s St. Louis teams.

          • guest

            Fun to watch but maybe a little too offensive-minded. Unless they’re going to press the hell out of the other team and never let them get into the final third.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            It would be great for the team to have this option, but you’re right – they need to seriously spend some time perfecting it if they need it in a big game.

            They say (in American Football) that defense wins championships. In soccer, if you can put some serious points on the board, no one is going to catch up. A GOOD 4-3-3 would have opponents shaking in their boots, trying to figure out out to defend attacks from any combination of Morgan, Press, Leroux, Wambach.

            And I know I’m a lone rider on the Wambach train, but I would put her in over the trio of Alex, Syd, Press. Those three are largely interchangable. They have speed and are great strikers, but Wambach has something they don’t have – the height, the muscle, and the ability to score with her head.

            Having 3 forwards with different styles of scoring would make a big difference in defeating any defense, I think.

          • NYRick

            I’m in agreement now that it should be a combination of all 4. This would even allow for Abby to transition over and let the other 3 do the heavy lifting in the next year leading to the WC. With Abby, I definitely want her in the mix, but not for 90. Other matches she can play 70, and rest one of the 3 turks. I even think if she played the last 20 in most matches after a defense had to deal with the pace and athleticism of the other 3 for 70, that would be devastating. She would show real leadership and it would cement her legacy if she was fully about team and what’s best for the team AT THIS POINT in her career. Opponents, even the top teams, would then have to deal with Abby’s size, experience and muscle at crunch time, if the match wasn’t decided by then.

            I also like your suggestion of a 4-3-3 for the first half, and a 4-4-2 for the second. So much talent and versatility all around. I think our young mids like Brian (who is an out of this world talent), and Tymrak (who I feel is one of the most exciting players to just watch play) allow for such. Plus, you still have Pinoe, Heath and Holiday for the experience, along with Carli for brute force. This is a coaching dream, or in turn a coaching nightmare if you screw it up. I just feel TS has been a little conservative in his approach to his personnel. It’s time to let it lose. Carli, HAO and Abby certainly do not need to play 90. But we’ll see how it shakes out. As a fan, I’d like to see it the way I outlined and you amended, but I’m not confident that’s what will transpire.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            I completely agree. Oh man, Abby coming in for the last 20 would be brutal, wouldn’t it? Especially in a situation where the US is down a goal. Everyone has seen what can happen when a score is imperative and you just need to get Abby the ball. She excels in the clutch.

            I would love to see playing time switched up with Carli, HAO, and the younger flock of talent. It should be a “what have you done for me lately” scenario. There is too much talent to have some of these ladies as benchwarmers.

          • Steglitz49

            Her goal at Old Trafford trumps the pass. The pass shows that Alex is not just a goal machine but has all round vision and judgement.

            Both the Olympics 2000 and the WC-03 were won on Golden goals. By 2011 FIFA had abandoned the golden goal.

            I wonder what the Japanese consider their clutch moment of the 2011 final? Does anyone know?

          • luke

            Not much, but that’s not my point.
            They are saying that if she would have gotten Alex’s chances, Syd would be able to achieve the same level of sport excellence.
            I’m saying not in million light years.

            Not his player.

          • newsouth

            No one isn’t saying she didnt have a great end of 2011 and 2012 minus that goal against canada via wambach’s bull $hit. when sydney is put in the light she will do the same thing as she did in the Us. they control the shots on goal and flow play against everyone, so it only matters who sermanni puts in front of the goal if it’s press, sydney, lloyd, fullbach, tymrek, one of the will finish the shot. tell me other wise. pia didn’t give her the opportunity. and she has not had the big game yet with sermanni. you posting like morgan is the only player in usa history to hit a winning goal. that’s the problem her. she did it one year/season. that’s it.

          • kernel_thai

            I would argue that Courtnall just has great sprinting form. There is no reason men and women should run differently. Courtnall has good knee lift and extension so she has a long stride as well as her high leg turnover. Obviously she has been lucky in her coaches.

          • NYRick

            Hey I’m all for going by what my eyes tell me for any sport. But you can’t say for certain things like, “she jumps higher, her shots are more precise etc.

            I think you are underestimating a bit what a fantastic athlete Syd is as well. She would be great in any sport she chose, and I’ll say it again, she has made a rapid and noticeable improvement under Sermanni.

          • newsouth

            I think that’s all everyone is saying. there’s a world of different in sydney 13 vs sydney 12

          • JAMES 18

            ALEX has a superior soccer acumen and technical ability than Syd but athletically the gap is not that big.

          • NYRick

            Elaine, I’m not finding fault with Alex. I give her immense credit for what she’s accomplished and history of course can’t be redone. Also, it’s no guarantee that whoever took her place was going to do the same. Probably unlikely is more like it. This is a comment board and we just speculate as the comments evolve and tangent and stories develop. That happens with every sport between fans. The fact that we even care is really the important thing.

            Take Phelps and Ryan Lochte for example. Don’t you think going into the London Olympics Phelps was burning privately? He had done everything and proved everything several times over, and here was the media lauding the new champion Lochte. Many said he was even better than Phelps. What happened? A champion met the challenge and showed everyone who was the real deal. That’s probably what Alex is going to do is she wants to remain elite. That’s what elite athletes do. They strive to be the best at all times and never live on their laurels. Tom Brady has won 3 SBs, but all anyone now talks about is that he hasn’t won one in 10 years. You know he burns for another right now to shut everyone up. So whenever we compare Alex to others, or Abby to others, or Marta to others, I think it’s being done as a compliment. When you get to the top of the mountain in any profession, especially something visible to the public eye like sports, someone wants to knock you off and fans want to point out who that “someone” is. It’s nothing personal here (at least speaking for myself), it’s just conversations. And that’s what makes being a fan fun as well.

          • Elaine

            I appreciate this post, Rick. Passionate fans are what will sustain the popularity of women soccer and the USWNT. Sport is certainly a cutthroat business, with everyone striving to be on top. If you’re there, you want to maintain the status, and if you’re not there, you want to do all you can to get there and knock off whoever is there. And if one is not a fan of the one on top (not talking about you but perhaps others on here), then the bias feelings and words bubble up. I get that, and nothing personal on my part too.

          • newsouth

            exactly sydney was the big name dating back to the u17s and U20s. i dont even remember press and morgan back than.

          • Steglitz49

            Cometh the hour cometh the lady!

            Alex got her chance at the start of the second half in the WC final and she took it with both hands. She followed it up with a smart PR stunt plus a critical goal in the Olympics.

            Carli Lloyd has 3 critical goals that won US two Olympic golds. Where is Carli?

            Don’t ask where Syd or Christen are. Ask where Carli is not!

          • newsouth

            Carli is a mid-fielder, she’d matter if she were in France or Germany. Goals in numbers and starts matter on the NT, not a goal in blue moon. That’s why Press scoring in limited minutes is worth. She could score the winning WC goal and be on the bench for the victory tour. Do you get it know? Star power equals how you are moving to 100 goals. We gone over it already. Mfers are a dime a dozen for FC USWNT. That why Holiday has been forgotten.

          • NYRick

            Why not Carli? Ok, we are going to finally address the 800 lb. gorilla in the room that no one wants to talk about as it relates to an outstanding female athlete:

            If Carli looked like Alex her bank account would be much different.

            There I said it.

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear! Verily. The gentleman speaks the truth.

            What Nike and the marketers need now is a hispanic lass with a hispanic name. An Anglo name wont cut the mustard.

          • newsouth

            there’s not enough action in the mid-field. lloyd even knows goals equal spotlight. that’s why TS can’t even get her to play DM right.

          • Elaine

            Found a pic of Carli and Nike. As in all marketing, the person being marketed must want to put in the time and energy. Not every person’s personality fit.

          • Steglitz49

            Such a marvelous picture. But. It does not look much like the Carli I see on the field. Maybe I need to go to the opticians on Monday morning?

          • Elaine

            There’s nothing wrong with your eyes. That’s the way Nike chooses to photo the players. Look at the one with Alex. If they asked me, I would’ve told them no need to photoshop.

          • Silver Frost

            Photoshop is always necessary, as is makeup. In Morgan’s case, she has acne flareups and needs a little help sometimes. The Carli photo is awesome.

          • Steglitz49

            We need no reminder of Alex’s skillful use of make-up.

          • Steglitz49

            Who does Nike use to market to the hispanic segment? Or, do they not bother to?

          • Elaine

            Here’s an ad by Nike featuring Nadal and Cristiano.

          • Elaine

            I forgot about the other forward on the USWNT….Arod. Here is a pic of her with Puma. She’s also part Cuban.

          • I_had_to ;)

            Carrasco?

          • Steglitz49

            Syd, like Kristi, is not the All-American girl next door. Kirsti got paid less in sponsorship deals than other skaters who had not won Olympic gold.

          • newsouth

            Sydney was on the fast track to fame. Serena ain’t no all american girl. and what is that anyway? usa is starting to look like brazil every 10 years now or mexico, lol. anyway, it’s timing. if ellis jumps pia one year earlier and forces her hand, sydney is sitting on 50+ caps or whatever morgan is at now. morgan got on the train instead and gets to ride it into the sunset but sydney will replace wambach. they become a pair at some point.

          • Steglitz49

            The three lady tennis players with the highest sponsorship income in 2013 were
            – Maria Sharapova with $23m
            – Li Na with $15m
            – Serena Williams with $12m

            The blonde Maria pulled in almost twice as much as Serena.

            Ms Na topped Serena by $3m which in itself is probably more than Alex makes in a year.
            It is not enough to be good at your sport, as NYRick points out elsewhere with reference to Carli.

          • newsouth

            Sharapova isn’t American. I know she lives in Florida but take a look at some of her sponsors and the Asian player. There are more international where Serena is primarily USA based. Martina Hingis carried a lot of international sponsors when she was on top. What I’m saying is, take away the international sponsors and Sharapova and Serena are about neck and neck in the usa market.

          • Steglitz49

            “If you torture the data long enough, eventually it will confess.”

          • Steglitz49

            I expect Alex to dominate the sponsorship circus for years to come, long after stopping playing. Her PR machine will make sure of it. We will be informed about every moment of any pregnancy.

            Alex could seek a career in politics. She would be guaranteed to be shoed-in into a safe Congressional seat. Or, she could go the charity route like Kirsti Yamaguchi. Like Kirsti, Alex has written books. There is even the diplomatic track, like Michele Kwan who has married into the Pells of the Pell Grants.

          • NYRick

            I know you bring up Yamaguchi a lot. But I hate to break it to you, Michelle Kwan is the much more famous US skater. Maybe that’s because she is more recent, but she is famous for not marrying the Pells (whoever the hell they are and who cares), but for being a great and popular athlete.

          • Steglitz49

            It is 22 years since Kristi won her Olympic gold. The reason I bring her up in this context is that she got less lucrative sponsorship deals than other American women skaters of her time who did not win gold.

            Kristi’s career essentially spanned 5 years in which she started by taking the WJC and finished with 2 consecutive WC golds and the Olympic gold. At that Olympics she met her hubby to be, a hockey player.

          • Steglitz49

            Clairborne Pell created the “Basic Educational Opportunity Grants” commonly called “Pell Grants”. He came from a wealthy family. After a distinguished war and diplomatic service, Pell was senator (D) for Rhode Island for 40 years. He championed the poor and the underdog and fought against discrimination. He was also a bit eccentric. Michelle Kwan married his grandson.

          • Theodora

            Where do you get these factoids?

          • Steglitz49

            A general interest in history and current affairs. Senator Pell was a most interesting character and politically skillful, and US society owe him a lot.

          • kernel_thai

            There is a general feeling that Morgan was just standing there and all this fell at her feet. She works at this very hard. Sure she was in the right place at the right time but how many others have missed the same chance? She promotes herself at every opportunity yet she does it in a way that further endears herself to her fans. Both Solo and Morgan got book deals. Solo wrote an controversial auto biography while Morgan wrote books for kids who like soccer. Morgan is handled very well and works tireless at cultivating the break she got. Maybe the other just dont want that.

          • luke

            Ability to “stand there” is one of the top striker qualities.

            Gerd Müller could fall asleep for most of the match, but he was “standing there” in one crucial moment and boom! End of story.

          • NYRick

            Very good post. I agree with a lot of what you’re saying. I do think though that many of the players “work very hard” too, but with far less reward. At this stage she has a lot to gain by promoting herself tirelessly.

            I think for me, it’s that I just like the old Alex better (circa 2011), and that one is never returning any time soon. It comes with the territory, I understand that, but she has changed. Also, keep in mind that she is an LA born and bred girl and I think with that is enamored with celebrity. That’s why she embraces it so fully. Had she been from the Midwest per say, she may approach her celebrity differently. But again, I’m just speculating and who cares really. As for endearing herself to fans, all I’ll say is that probably in 2012 anything she did would hold true to that. I don’t think that’s case as much anymore. She got a huge break, but to her credit took advantage of that break, and certainly had the benefit of exceptional looks to foster that break off the pitch.

          • guest

            Sports is winner-takes-all. The difference between Morgan and the other players is minimal in both skill and marketability, but you can only take one player so she gets everything. It’s not fair, but economics can be a b*tch.

          • Steglitz49

            I would not say that it was “minimal” as you type, unless you refer to the body-paint stunt.

          • newsouth

            let me say this again. reggie bush carried high school and usc name going into the nfl. he was injured for his 1st five years with the sainst but collected 5 mil a year form sponsors from his usc exploits. sydney had name going all the way back to the u17, as much or more name recognition than morgan. that has carried over to the nt like reggie bush’s college fame carried over to the nfl. sydney just had to touch the pitch for the momentum to pick up and jill eliis made the pitch happen when pia stuck her on the bench and put press in the stands. press always scored goals but never her sydney’s national name recognition. morgan just go the name recognition let 2011. in reality sydney was the heir to morgan position. pia sucks, lol.

          • kernel_thai

            I concur.

          • http://www.twitter.com/originalslicey Slicey

            You could be right. Christen could = Sydney in marketing potential. Or even Alex, if the WC plays out to her advantage.

            But let me offer the cynical marketing viewpoint of why Christen wouldn’t get what Syd has. Sydney has a look and an attitude that are appealing to marketers. Women’s Soccer has been a pretty white-washed sport in America, you have to admit. A lot of pretty, safe, middle-class white girls. Besides looking a little different than Alex, ARod, and Lauren, Sydney is interesting. She has a little of that badass element, from the tattoos to the controversy. Her controversy isn’t anything like what Hope Solo had, but someone leaving their home to join the best women’s team in the world and pissing off an entire country of soccer fans while you’re at it? That has appeal. Her story was pushed during the Olympics and Syd has that “couldn’t care less” attitude about what people think/say about her. So, like Hope, it makes her marketable, and her tattoos and her mixed race background frankly help her stand out from the crowd.

            Those are things advertisers care about: looks, personality, athletic accomplishment, visibility. Sydney has all of those things, but we have yet to see if Christen will have enough to break though here in the States.

            I think she may have missed her spot in the marketing machine – I agree with previous comments that there might not be room for Press besides Alex – probably her most direct competition for marketing dollars.

            Despite the fact that she’ll likely be a defender, I would say that maybe Crystal Dunn, or someone in the newer crop of talent will actually be the one to attract the big sponsors ahead of the World Cup.

          • Elaine

            Very good analysis of Syd’s marketing appeal. Her audience might be the more adult, hardcore sports arena, and maybe the tattoo scene too. She is supposedly into female boxing and the ultimate fighters realm. Christen is a little different. American yet not a blond and looks mixed heritage. I think there is a place for someone like her in a melting pot country like the US. Crystal Dunn is also a possibility. The point being that as the popularity of women soccer increase in the US, the sponsors will continue to look for that new “face”. Right now it’s Alex, with Syd coming up right behind her. Next up could be Tymrak or Press or Dunn. Advertisers and marketers will certainly tune in right before and after the WC, and it would ratchet up in full steam after if the US wins the trophy.

          • Steglitz49

            Tennis, golf and skiing needs equipment and clothing. In many cases, apart from wearing out, these are fashion items and you covet this year’s style and would not want to be seen dead in last year’s. It is a huge business.

            Less people in the US have heard of Mikaela Shiffrin than of Alex, but her sponsorship deals are probably worth lots more than Alex’s. As for Lindsey Vonn, even when she is not skiing the lolly rolls in.

            Also, tennis, golf and skiing are international. Everyone recognizes the top dogs. Few recognize women soccer players outside their own country. Hence Alex makes a lot of money while European players little if any at all.

          • newsouth

            where did you come up with skiing? skiing is REAL fringe sport in the usa. ops, you are in sweden. without woods, no one would remember vonn. morgan fits with serena (tennis), lolo (track and field), candace parker (wnba), dani patrick (racing) and some others. wta has done a great job with women’s tennis, so serena stands above the crowd. as i’ve said, women’s soccer needs to find out how the wta does it with athletes and attracting sponsors. i mean a fringe player like rubin earned 400k a year for 10 yrs (4M carrer earnings) with basically no ranking and playing doubles.

          • Boston Red

            Lindsey Vonn certainly was a known entity before Tiger and the top skiing medal prospect before a Winter Olympics is usually pretty recognized. Anyone on the team after her… not a known entity beyond the 15 minutes of the Olympics.

          • Steglitz49

            NBC are concerned that with Lindsey out the ratings for the Winter Olympics will plummet. In the US the viewing figures for the winter olympics depends on figure skating and the Alpine skiing.

            Ms Shiffrin is not well enough known yet to take up the slack from Vonn’s absence, and Mikaela does not ski the speed events which are what the American viewing public care about, in as much as they care at all. Also, Julia Mancuso is not having a top season so far.

            The US ladies cross country ski team is looking pretty good but no-one in the US gives a monkey’s about flat skiing, and certainly not ladies’.

          • newsouth

            and one way is to, put wambach on the bench, modify a 4-3-3, push the back-line high and add another burner with dunn and push the game forward, forcing teams to exchange with morgan, sydney and press. either score with them or get blown out. the sponsors will bite because three is more diverse than one, so each attracts a different kind of sponsor. wta gets away with great bodies and a face her and there. it’s a part of the marketing. soccer fans get stuck in the nonsense about their play on the field. we know that. but their faces sell to maybelline.

          • NYRick

            I know your deal is shock and awe on here, and you have detractors because you get personal and to the point. But of all the things you have written on the EQ that I’ve read, this is your best. I can’t over emphasize how positively spot on I think you are but what you just said in the above paragraph.

            At the core of that, is that the SPORT grows if you do what you just said. Isn’t that more important in the grand scheme of things?

          • newsouth

            if those three were chasing 100 goals simultaneously and beating the snot out of japan and germany. geez, they did it to germany in 20 mins. i don’t care if neid brings her 1st team it won’t make a difference. espn and all the outlets would be all over it. image morgan 75 goals, sydney 65 goals and press 57 goals and they are dropping 4-8 goals on teams. you already know the faces they carry on their shoulders. wambach has hardcore soccer appeal, not appeal to the boys who were stealing gaby sabatini’s towels at the us open and putting fatheads on their walls.

          • Steglitz49

            The sponsors would only be interested if the US won the World Cup. Coming second again would cut no ice.

          • NYRick

            They came in second at the last WC and received fanfare as if they won. You can’t predict that.

          • Steglitz49

            Coming second was a big improvement on 2007 and 2003, not least 2007.

            Because 24 teams is a bit higgeldy-piggeldy the US risk meeting a strong team in not just the SF but in the QF. They prevailed in Germany and the Olympics but they were close shaves.

          • Theodora

            The machismo aspect plays a huge role. Tennis, golf, and skiing are OK for girls, but football is not. Hence, the big endorsement deals for women in tennis, golf, and skiing, but not footie. There is also a glamor aspect to tennis, golf, and skiing which attracts female consumers, but footie repels them.

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear! The lady sings the truth.

          • Lorehead

            That must be a cultural difference between Europe and the U.S. It’s very different here.

          • Steglitz49

            It varies from countries to countries but ladies like Magdalena Neuner, Maria Höfl-Riesch, Vikky Rebensburg, Andrea Henkel, Katia Seizinger, Hilde Gerg are better known in Germany than their lady footballers. Likewise in Norway, Björgen, Johaug and Berger are better known than their female footballers. Likwise for Switzerland or Austria, no contest.

          • Lorehead

            I’ll take your word for that. (People here have heard of Vonn, and I think that’s it for skiers. Some golfers and especially tennis players are well-known, though.)

            But what I meant is that soccer is not considered stereotypically unfeminine in this country.

          • NYRick

            Are you seriously putting Mikaela Shiffrin in the same sentence as Alex Morgan?

          • Steglitz49

            Yes. She is an amazing talent. I hope that Mikaela has a great Olympics.

            She skies on Atomic, like Annemarie did all those years ago (Lindsey skies on Head), and should Mikaela do well, their PR machine will have tons of material to work with and go into overdrive.

          • NYRick

            I heard Shiffrin’s name the first time about a week ago. She’s only 17, correct? Well, if she wins a gold or two in the Olympics she’ll certainly get some US fanfare and maybe a sponsor beyond ski equipment, but it will disappear shortly after the Olympics. Skiing is such a fringe sport. Really, just an Olympic sport for US fans in terms of their attention span.

            I don’t know what this girl looks like. If she looks like Vonn, she can have more staying power. Ask yourself this: who is the greatest US woman skier ever? I say it’s Picabo Street. Now ask yourself who is the most famous US woman skier ever? Vonn. Ask yourself why?

          • NYRick

            OK just googled her. She is very photogenic and has star potential if she performs well (as in Gold) at the Olympics.

          • Steglitz49

            Picabo’s career was marred by injuries. She has an Olympic SuperG gold and Downhill silver + a WC gold in DH and 2 DH cups but no overall titles. In total she had 9 race wins and 17 other podiums.

            Lindsey has an Olympic downhill gold and a SuperG bronze + various WC medals. She has 4 overall titles and 6 DH & 4 SG cups. In total she has 59 race wins (29 DH, 3 GS, 2 S, 5 combined & 20 SG) with 103 other podiums. Lindsey was also excellent at GS.

            Annemarie has an Olympic downhill gold and 2 olympic silvers + WC medals. She did not ski the 1996 Olympic year because her dad was ill. Nevertheless, she has 6 overall titles and 7 DH & 3 GS cups (SuperG did not exist in her days). She has 62 race wins (39 DH, 16 GS, 3 S & 7 combined; SG did not exist).

            The reason Lindsey is more famous than Picabo is that she was more successful, and that Lindsey won the event that counts in the US, the Olympic downhill, and she won it in the US time-zone. The race for overall race wins with Annemarie also helped keep Lindsey in the news (like Abby’s goal-rush), not least when no-one in the US would be spoil-sports enough to point out that without the SuperG wins, it was 62-39 in Annemarie’s favor.

            Atomic would sure love for Mikaela to chase Annemarie’s record. Such PR-material!

          • wosofan

            Shiffrin is a more accomplished athlete than Alex Morgan. Sorry, but true. Shiffrin’s place in the world of ski racing is above Alex’s place in women’s soccer. As for popularity/marketability, I guarantee that in western Europe, Shiffrin’s name is 1000% bigger than Alex Morgan’s name. In the USA, those numbers are reversed.

          • NYRick

            You’re seriously kidding, right?

          • Steglitz49

            Wosofan is correct. Mikaela is already a star in Europe. Much better known than Alex.

          • Theodora

            If Shiffrin wins gold, she can milk it for the next 4 years until the next OG, and collect another one at only age 22.

          • Steglitz49

            Indeed. Vikky Rebensburg’s first senior race win was the Olympic gold in Vancouver. She followed it up by winning two GS overall cups but her preparations for Sotchi has been interrupted by illness (like Petter Northug’s).

            Marie-Theres Nadig was a month short of her 18th birthday when she won her 2 Olympic golds (and bested Annemarie).

          • kernel_thai

            The NWSL has done a lousy job trying to bring sponsors to the league. While the Home Office seems more than happy to meddle in every decision, they r more than happy to leave the raising of money to the individual teams. Why is it that when the league wants something it’s the Three Musketeers but when the teams need help it’s good luck with that? The USWNT is tied tooth and jowl to the NWSL and they need to remember that. They want USWNT members to support the league. Fine I agree they should. Yet one of the rumors from Mr Gulati was the NWSL wasnt part of the tv contract featuring the USNTs and MLS. Why? If the two teams arent financially tied to the point players have to take lower salaries to play here, how is the USSF leaving them out of the tv deal? And why isnt every USSF sponsor also an NWSL sponsor? The answer is the USSF supports the NWSL when it suits them and if the league fails the first place to hang the blame will be the USSF. With WC these next two years they have as much leverage as they r going to get. They need to use it before they lose it.

          • Elaine

            Good points here. The way this looks USSF has not been “all in” as far as support for NWSL. Could have something to do with jitters if this third reincarnation of a pro league will work, sort of like I’ll put some chips into the pile but won’t bet the house on it just yet. But every season will show something new. And if success continues to grow, it will bring more opportunities to the NWSL and they may finally get that TV contract, top sponsorships, and such. And this second season, there are already news out there about HD video streaming and perhaps additional sponsorship and TV views. By the way, are you hopeful that other federations are in talk or show interest in joining this league. That’s a good sign.

          • newosuth

            People talk about Brasil and Costa Rica but the Mexico situation has to improve for that to grab any traction. Brasilian may keep an eye on Rafaelle Souza and her situation in Houston. To be honest I’m surprise Maye or Thaisa didn’t give it ago since they were at FIU. Then again, outside of Marta and a few, most Brasilian failed in the WPS, due to a possible language issue.

          • Steglitz49

            It could be that the networks are not interested in women’s soccer. At least initially, the viewing figures will be low, wherefore it will be hard to sell adverts. They could probably make more showing some other male sport.

          • Silver Frost

            One of the big US cable companies, Charter, features many sports channels, and subscribers can watch high school sports, and obscure women’s college teams playing basketball. Surely there is room for FOX2 to broadcast NWSL.

          • Steglitz49

            The teams may be obscure but women’s basket is pretty big in the US.

          • kernel_thai

            It’s a pretty common business practice that sometimes have to take something u dont want to get the thing u do want. If USSF is going to run and financially support NWSL to the betterment of USWNT then they need to be treated as a package deal.

          • Steglitz49

            The Networks might decline the package. USSF can’t afford to call their bluff because if they ain’t bluffing, it would be a disaster.

          • Steglitz49

            The Networks might decline the package. USSF can’t afford to call their bluff because if they ain’t bluffing, it would be a disaster.

          • LostMyBoot

            Holiday is sponsored by Under Armour, so of course she’s not gonna get big billing by Nike. If Press wants to get a bigger deal where she’s the main feature, she should try to get sponsored by a company trying to make a name for itself who doesn’t have a bunch of big WoSo names (like Warrior).

          • newsouth

            every single player on the usa squad has some kind of sponsor but there are two stars on that squad. as rick and i have said, two are big time scorers, not sub a goal. and the other is a media darling or freak. it depends how you look at her situation. as noted, sydney name was there when she was on the u17 squad. i mean it was out. i knew her before i even paid attention to wambach.

          • Reality

            Let’s not underestimate the effect of Press’s performance overseas. After all, that is what enabled her to get a shot at the NT. Now that she has done well so far with Tyreso in the CL, if they win that with her as their star, it will give her a world profile that might even penetrate her to the U.S. market. It is unlikely she will make that big a splash with the NWSL in Chicago given a second half entry and indeed might be criticized for not performing miracles for them. But, she will have her chance in the U.S. market with them and the NT and she will definitely create a higher profile for herself in the media. How that will translate into lucrative sponsor contracts remains to be seen.

          • Steglitz49

            If Tyresö win the Champions League we will be reminded that it was 10 years ago that Marta won it with Umeå, which was also the last time a Swedish team won it.

            Umeå had won the Champions League the previous year (2003) and they had lost in the final before that, and went on to lose in two more finals.

            The story will be all Marta. The President of Brazil will shake her hand. Christen will get a mention in dispatches.

          • Reality

            I’m sure that Marta will be a key part of any victory and be acclaimed as always. Press will share in the glory. That’s where the potential is right now for true achievement. The NWSL Chicago experience for Press this year will be but a prelude to 2015.

          • NYRick

            Press actually has a chance for a CL championship…and an NWSL championship if things break right. I really like the Chicago roster. The two college stars I think will be impact players right from the start too.

            Of course, she can easily lose the CL and Chicago can finish 5th as well, but it is not out of the realm of possibility that she can now win both. Throw in some performing well for the NT this year, and it will make for a very interesting 2015 for her leading to WC. Potentially, this is her starturn year in the US and the sponsors could line up for 2015 for the WC. Big year for her, hope she succeeds.

          • Reality

            All that speculation about Press’s path this year is over. Her challenges are right in front of her with the CL, the NWSL and the NT. Now it is just a matter of doing her best in each venue. While she is privileged to have these opportunities, she has also earned them through hard work, patience and perseverance not to mention talent. This is a transitional year for her where she can go from a lesser known supporting role to a major player. It’s not often that the stage is so clearly set. Looking forward to following her throughout.

          • NYRick

            Wholeheartedly agree as you know. It didn’t happen overnight for her, but that doesn’t matter. She’s still young and now at the top of her game, and from her writings and interviews, she is most definitely someone to root for to succeed.

            The table is perfectly set. She is walking to home plate. Now it’s up to her to hit the homerun. She will never have a better opportunity for US stardom in her entire career as in right now, and into 2015.

          • Steglitz49

            Your comment that “Christen is still young” is a truth in want of some modification. I would say that by ladies soccer she is middle-aged. Young is up to 22 (maybe 23).

          • Theodroa

            U-23. LOL. You are correct. Prime years for a forward seem to be 23-30.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. Maybe even 23-28 years of age?

          • Silver Frost

            Have you marked your calendar for a late summer Sky Blue home game at Rutgers against Chicago Red Stars yet? Sadly, the Blues home page does not have ticket sales ready, and won’t until the new schedule is posted next month. I’ll probably make the pilgrimage this coming season from CT to see Press and a few other big names in NWSL such as Morgan and Leroux. Field level passes are only $60.

          • NYRick

            Hey thanks for that info. LOL. I thought the SB schedule was supposed to come out in Feb., and I was actually hoping that the Chi. match at Rutgers wouldn’t be early in the year. Yes, I most definitely will be in the building for that one. I went to a couple last year, and I’m planning on 3 this year, maybe 4 (Chi, KC, Portland and Seattle).

            I never sat field level, but just to give an endorsement to anyone who’s never been to a pro women’s match, it’s great entertainment for your dollar value, so get out to a game near you. And sixty bucks for on the field is great if you want to spring for it, but you can get a good seat in the stands for far less.

          • Steglitz49

            Never was a truer statement made than that “potentially, this is Christen’s starturn year”. Let’s trust that she does not fluff her lines. She deserves to play in WC-15 but the competition for the roster is fierce, let alone to be a starter for the NT.

          • NYRick

            She’ll be on the roster, let’s stop with that, but playing time is of course another matter. Things have to fall in place for her for that to happen.

            Regarding this perhaps being her year, my favorite sports line, and really line for life is what Herb Brooks said to Team USA before they took the ice against the Russians in the 80 Olympics. “Great moments are born out of great opportunities. And that’s all you have tonight. A great opportunity.”

            Truer words never spoken.

          • Elaine

            USSoccer themselves have already touted Christen’s accomplishments in Sweden on their description of her when they nominated her as one of 2013 Female Athlete of the Year finalists. Now any US fan can look it up and note her stats. However, knowing her stats for Tyreso is not the same as witnessing it in person in the US or on TV in the US. That’s a big difference in regards to her marketability here. I’m glad that Christen will play in the NWSL, even if late. With her looks, her good nature, her smarts, she will get top sponsors in the US. I have no doubt about it.

          • Reality

            The critical difference between the two situations being that, in Europe, she is playing as a starting forward for a top team in a championship. Here in the States, she will be playing for a second tier team in the NWSL with potential for next year and as a sub on the NT. But that is the sacrifice she must make with the odds stacked against her in order to even have an opportunity here in the U.S. to achieve a comparable status.

            Her primary short term focus right now is the CL and the long term goal is starting forward on the NT. To what degree her participation in the NWSL will support that is open to question. But you are correct that she will obtain greater exposure stateside which should lead to sponsor contracts. However, the real money comes from success with the NT where she may not be afforded an real opportunity. I’m sure that won’t stop her from trying her utmost anyway…ya never know.

          • Steglitz49

            Your point that out of sight is out of mind is well taken. Swedes cheer all their lady footballers who play abroad and rejoice at them earning more than they could in Sweden, but they do not follow their stats. I doubt that many new that Lotta had scored more goals in the French league than Christen in the Swedish.

            Christen had to rebuild her career and whoever advises her has earned their keep. The second year in Sweden for Tyresö has paid dividends and the Chicago she is joining could well get tot the play-offs.

          • wosofan

            Her college teammate, O’Hara, already had a deal with Nike, and now has one with Under Armour. And if Press scores just one goal in WC 2015, and gets just a few interviews with ESPN, ABC, etc., then with her personality and looks, her stock will soar. The USWNT and the World Cup is such a great platform — nothing else but baseball will be on US television in mid-July, 2015. The timing of the 1999 and 2011 World Cups were similarly impeccable for marketing/viewership.

          • Elaine

            Exactly right. Why Rick and newsouth fail to see this, I quite don’t understand.

          • newsouth

            they all have a sponsor ship deal. what are you and elaine missing here? we are talking solo, wambach and morgan. the hardcore fan knows ohara, not the national reach that knows solo and morgan, the big money and fame.

          • Steglitz49

            Well. The 2003 and 2007 world cups were about as much use for marketing US lay soccer players as a chocolate teapot, in spite of 2003 being played in the US.

        • luke

          Maybe it’s surprising, because all over the world it’s national team coach’s job to decide who will watch the 2015 WC on the telly, not the president’s of federation.

          • newsouth

            And let me assume TS ok’ed wambach to go on tv and say, she’d cut practices for more 90 min games. i would have been pulling my hair out after that. he plays the edges, so he doesn’t get into the mess ryan was in after 2007. he’s not making 100% of the decisions, just like teams can’t control the side deals (morgan to porland, ohai to chicago, etc) over at ussoccer’s offices. it is what it is though.

        • Steglitz49

          Your point that “Ms Press is free to run to PSG or Man City, whatever oil baron will pay the most” seems a bit odd seeing that there is precious little evidence that anyone is interested in her.

      • treehill

        I don’t get it. If it really was in their contract that USWNT must play in the NWSL in 2014, why did Christen Press get a phone call “detailing the reasons why US Soccer wanted me to come back to the NWSL”?

        If there was a clear contractual requirement as to exactly when players had to join the NWSL, then there should have been no”want” involved. No need for a phone call. No talk of pressure by German coaches. No confusion. All parties should have known exactly when everyone would be joining the NWSL because it should have been written in black and white.

        Or, maybe it wasn’t so definite as it seems.

        • PMT

          When did she get allocation? Up until she accepted allocation money, the contract wouldn’t have been a factor. So they probably called her saying here’s the contract, here’s the allocation money, here’s why it’s being done this way. If they don’t want the obligation, they can refuse allocation and try to make the national team from afar.

          • Ben

            I agree with this. Also keep in mind that the contract was probably finalized in late 2012 or early 2013 when NWSL was started. By that time, multiple NT players where already under contract with other teams. That phone call could have been a “friendly” reminder

          • treehill

            As I said to PMT, if he’s right it disproves your point, so I’m not sure what you’re agreeing with. He’s saying the contract was “not a factor”, it was allocation money which supposedly was not covered under contract. That means the allocation money was used to pressure Christen. That would not be a “friendy reminder.”

          • treehill

            I’m confused, in tone it sounds like you’re disagreeing with me, but from your argument you’re proving my point and disproving Ben’s, but then he later agrees with you…I’m so confused.

            If what you’re saying is true then it means Christen WAS getting pressured in that phone call. USSF was saying “It’s our way or the highway if you want this allocation contract”. That’s pressure, and that’s what I’m getting at.

            If in return for a player buckling to their pressure USSF then gives that player very few minutes in their natural position, that’s being an a-hole, which is what the original commenter was alluding to.

        • rufan

          “…It was actually part of our contractual agreement with the women’s national team that they would play in this league,…”

          Does he mean “was” (referring to the previous agreement ) or “is” (the current one)?
          If the latter and the current agreement was settled a year ago or so, why did some players play overseas for at least part of the ’13 season?

          • Lorehead

            Indeed, some are playing overseas for at least part of the ’14 season. The CBA must have grandfathered those existing contracts in.

          • kernel_thai

            Gulati is the only one saying this is in the contract…everyone else is saying the opposite.

      • kernel_thai

        I dont believe this statement is true. Gulati is speaking in generalities. While he may have the verbal support of the union for the league, I dont believe it is written into the CBA. The proof of this lies in two places. First u have Rapinoe/Heath packing up for Europe at the expense of the league start-up last season. Where was the contract then? Second, Tom Sermanni admitted that it was his preference that the USWNT members be required to play in the NWSL much like the W-League in Australian that TS founded. He said the union refused to support this idea. Then there is the case of Press and Engen. Press said she received a call from the USSF asking her to return and a deal was worked out. I would guess Press got a similar call. As both have been under full contract to the USSF since last summer I see no reason for an deal to be made if it is plainly spelled out in their contracts. Not sure what Gulati was playing at here.

        • Reality

          Two thoughts…what was the specific content of Press’s contract…perhaps Press was intending to stay in Tyreso for the entire season and Gulati wanted her back badly enough to work out the compromise.

        • J.

          Rapinoe signed with Lyon in fall 2012 and Tobin with PSG shortly after, before it was clear the NWSL would even come together for 2013.

          • kernel_thai

            And yet they both went back. I have no idea if Heath is on a multi year deal with PSG but Rapinoe signed a new deal to return to Lyon in the fall. Maybe from the Gulati perspective, partial participation in the league meets his requirement. It certainly didnt help Seattle last year tho and it wont help Chicago and Houston this year. Maybe the contractual obligation Gulati spoke of could have simply been met by Press popping back during the summer break in the Swedish league and playing a month in the league.

          • Davis

            Do you have a source for Rapinoe signing a new deal to go back to Lyon in the fall? I hadn’t heard about that. I thought she had a contract for just this season. I remember the PSG coach making a fuss last year about Heath refusing to sign a multi-year deal, so I would be surprised if she ends up going back to France after this season.

          • kernel_thai

            Rapinoe was interviewed over the summer on whether she would return to Lyon and her reply was they asked her back. If ur under contract they dont ask u back.

        • rufan

          “He said the union refused to support this idea.”

          A parent last year told me that this issue (via their player) was a subject of talks for the new CBA. I too wonder if it was not settled in USSF’s favor.. .

    • J.

      Australia also makes it a requirement for their players to play in their league.

    • ruby4

      I see what your saying but to be fair USSF decided to back the NWSL in order to help create a sustainable top flight women’s league in the U.S. Not to create a top flight women’s league to be stocked full of other federations players. They went into it backing a league in the U.S and want U.S players playing in it. All of them. Not that there aren’t some issues with some of that obviously but from a business perspective (which USSF is one) it makes sense.

      • wosofan

        Exactly. Well stated.

      • newsouth

        we know this but not 100% of the players have to be stuck in league if it doesn’t benefit them financially and career wise. we aren’t talking golf here where ladies can play into their 50s.

        • Steglitz49

          Tobin and Pinoe chose to be part-timers. It seems to have worked for them and in Tobin’s case her team won, her scoring a goal that will be repaid for a while. High time to market Tobin.

          • newsouth

            she’s just another mid-fielder on the NT even with her goal you keep pushing. nothing about her says marketer’s dream girl, nothing.

          • Steglitz49

            Too ordinarily looking?

    • treehill

      I agree, if they pressure or “require” players to come back, then don’t give them decent minutes in their natural positions, that is pretty darn crappy treatement by USSF.

      • Silver Frost

        Then they can stay in Sweden and watch WC-15 on TV.

  • nwslfan

    “that’s the first I heard of it” #out of touch, Sunil

    • Ben

      To be fair I doubt he is reading this board or Press’s blog

      • nwslfan

        it’s fair. Bailey gotta communicate + on his own napkin, the arithmetic on the salary cap is pretty simple. he’s at the press conference and didn’t do any due diligence. terrible sound byte. if it’s actually true and he never heard of the issue, he is a buffoon.

        • rufan

          He does not see any shortage of players willing to be in the league. Over 100 signed up for the college draft. Just because they may not be the players the coaches specifically want, its not his problem.

          • nwslfan

            He took the position in the press conference that he was UNAWARE of [the complaint that nwsl teams cannot compete financially w other clubs]. He didn’t say he was familiar w issue, but felt the league would maintain stability long term by churning young college grads paid min wage for 1-2 seasons, er, something like that. AND Bailey is a complete yes-gal/wussy if she REALLY and TRULY failed to communicate this significant issue to USSF brass .

  • newsouth

    He kind of shot himself in the foot. He talks about stars but USSoccer and TS don’t have the balls to promote their best hand as a trio, the best thing as sliced bread, the greatest scoring show on earth. Instead one is crying about coming back to the USA and other one is twitting how Wambach is so great and an inspiration. Good job but some poor decision coming out of USSoccer. Now, I know why they stayed far away from Neid. She and Wambach wouldn’t have worked.

    Barbie could be TS. He’d really have his name in lights.

  • Jen

    They are opening the pandora box with this stance on players coming home to play. We produce a lot of good female players in this country because there is a system there to produce them which other nations dont have. There are a lot young players who will find themselves playing in Europe and quite a few of them will become very good players without any input from USSF. Somewhere along the line they get a national team call up and she becomes an asset to the team. Does she come back home to play because the USSF says so during a world cup year?

    • nwslfan

      totally agree. Tobin/Pinoe grandfathered in by existing contracts, but who can get a Tobin/Pinoe exception for future? the pressure ussf can exert temporarily eases after WWC 2015

  • FootballFan

    Don’t they know that FIFA dates are intended exactly to avoid scheduling problems with federations and leagues? why do the players have to sacrifice $ and playing quality just because ussoccer doesn’t want to adjust to the international schedule?

    • Steglitz49

      Because USSoccer wants the best American players in the NWSL to grow the league. From those with ability to those with needs.

    • kevin

      Fifa dates favor European Leagues. Take the u20 concacaf qualifications right now it’s not on a Fifa date so the US had to play the semifinal without their best striker because she had club obligations in France. That’s also why Fifa international tournaments(worldcup,olympics) are in the summer because Euro leagues are on break during that time.

      • Steglitz49

        I do not follow your moan. What is your point?

        The FIFA dates were introduced because clubs were not releasing players for WC qualifiers and the like. If international matches are payed outside FIFA dates clubs are not obliged to release players. It is much more a problem for small countries with few good players than a big country like the US.

        The World Cup has always been in the summer for obvious reasons. The Olympics are usually held in August.

  • thebetter13

    All these talks about sponsorship deals… jeez guys, Press simply wants to make her money by playing football, not for posing (half) naked, is that so bad?
    She’s marketable enough, but that’s simply not where her interests are.

    • J.

      Well she’s not making much by playing football. Tyreso is not that rich.The highest paid player on that team I assume is Marta and most of her money comes from sponsors.And whats with the double standards Male football players pose half nude all the time sometimes with their wives people don’t bat an eye lash but god forbid a female footballer does it.I’d much rather see a female footballer do it than a male footballer pose with his WAG.

      • newsouth

        You need to talk to the women who watch football. I think an old crowd follows the game, so it’s sexist if you talk about looks to them. no one ever complained about the volley ball girls. but say a soccer player looks good vs saying they play well and watch the old fogies come out the wood works. it’s the followers of the game who are the problem. mark to more males with money like volleyball and tennis do

        • Fed Up WoSo fan

          I call bullshit. I began participating in WoSo forums as a teenager during the 99 world cup. In the years that followed, the main soccer forums had wide participation by women of all ages, at least in equal numbers to male participants. The obsessive discussions of players looks’ was relegated to the “fangirl/fanboy” sections, separate from serious soccer discussion.

          Now this forum and bigsoccer are dominated by middle aged and even older men who see no problem posting cheesecake photos and salivating in forums or threads purportedly devoted to actual soccer analysis. And surprise, surprise, the women posters of all ages have mostly fled.

          If the 3-4 men who take up 80% of the real estate on this forum stopped jerking off for a post or three, you might get enough women fans commenting to draw conclusions. RIght now your generalizations are just more male fantasy.

    • Elaine

      I think most of us think Press is very marketable here in the US. That’s what started this whole discussion about her. Of course, playing soccer for her, or any of the other players we discussed, is of utmost important to them. That’s their passion, sponsors are secondary, even though they help pay the bills. And no one on here is talking about posing half naked. Interestingly enough, the one seemingly “all sports” media (ESPN) is the one offering the “body issue=half naked” to the athletes. Go figure.

  • VaFan51

    Laura Harvey recently said in an interview in Equalizer that the bump in pay from European clubs was a conscious decision made by European leagues and clubs several years ago to compete with WPS.

    Is it that simple? Do the NWSL and USSoccer just need to make a “conscious decision?”

    • Davis

      No, it’s not that simple. They still need someone to actually provide the money to bump up salaries. In Europe, very rich men’s club teams are subsidizing the women’s teams. The USSF is providing some money to the NWSL, but they don’t have the wealth that successful European club teams do. Or, in the best case scenario, the NWSL needs women’s professional soccer to become popular enough in America to become profitable and allow teams to pay player large salaries without being subsidized.