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WUSA 2.0

By Todd McClamroch in News on Mar 1, 2007 4:16PM

2007_03_01_wusa.jpgThe Women's United Soccer Association was the first full-time women's soccer league in the world when it was founded in 2000. Franchises existed in Atlanta, Boston, Chapel Hill & Cary, NC, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Jose, and Washington D.C. After three full seasons, the WUSA suspended operations in the fall of 2003.

The WUSA failed for a variety of reasons including a lack of attendance and significant television ratings, and blowing through $100 million due to inefficient management. Chicagoist believes one of the biggest failures was for Major League Soccer and the Women's United Soccer Association not co-operating with each other to build the sport.

The Women's Soccer Initiative Inc. has announced their intention to bring back the WUSA. The have submitted an application to the U.S. Soccer Federation for first-division status for the league. As they plan for the second go of a women's league, WSI is focusing on making teams more efficient by limiting the size of staff and travel expenses as best as possible while rebuilding investors' faith in the league.

The league has commitments from investors for six initial teams with other cities possibly investing in expansion franchises. Chicago is one of the cities that is expected to have a franchise when the league returns in 2008. Chicago will likely be joined by Dallas, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, St. Louis, and a yet-to-be-named city. The Chicago effort is being led by former Chicago Fire GM Peter Wilt.

Expectations are that the new and improved WUSA will leverage relationships with Major League Soccer teams and United Soccer League teams. In Chicago, it is anticipated the franchise would share Toyota Park as their home field with MLS' Chicago Fire. The league's goal is to get at least 4,500 to each game.