This column came out about around the time that Rene Portland was resigning so I was a little preoccupied. But I filed it away because it deserves comment.
The writer suggests--actually he insists--that the revival of professional women's soccer in this country will fail and damage the "sport as a whole." In other words, it will hurt the men; all because women actually want a chance to play professional soccer. Column author, Jaime Trecker, doesn't ever use the word selfish, but he's thinking it.
I don't know why--given the large numbers of kids in this country who play soccer--the sport remains on the fringes of popularity here in the United States. Maybe we have a complex about actually enjoying a sport that everyone else in the world adores. Maybe liking a sport that the Brits, the French, the Spanish, the Germans, the Argentinians, etc. like would make us seem a little "sissy." After all we are the nation who invented football (with help from Britain's rugby of course)--the epitome of American masculinity. Why is it that the most popular spectator sport in this country is the one that so few people actually play during their lifetimes?
But considering Americans don't seem to be huge fans of soccer, we sure have a lot of it. Trecker himself notes that there are four professional soccer leagues in the country already. Four! But WUSAII is going to be the tipping point? Please.
I do think there is reason for concern, though. But it is concern for women's sports as a whole, about which Trecker does not seem that concerned. He is right--the WNBA has low attendance, and the WUSA, overall, had low attendance. Women's sports are not the draw that men's sports are. Another failed attempt at women's professional soccer would be a blow to women's sports in general. It would be that much more difficult to get investors to support future endeavors.
What Trecker and other critics who cite lack of fan interest in women's sports fail to consider is that men's sports have had centuries to build their popularity to its near fanatical state. The WNBA has been around a decade. WUSA lasted a few years. Maybe we should give women's professional sports a little more time to build an audience.