Response to the Marta Post

12 11 2008

These are some quick responses to criticism or comments on the previous post. I labeled all of the feedback as ‘Critique’ to distinguish it from my ‘Response’

Critique: The comparison with MLS is dubious.

Response: I think there are differences between MLS and the WPS, but there are a couple connections I see and was trying to point out.
1. At the core of every league is a strong presence of domestic players and stars. Recent leagues, such as the MLS (or K-League, J-League, and A-League) have been built around the same idea.
2. Both the MLS and the WPS are in a position where they must carefully examine each decision they make because of the lack of previous knowledge or experience. The WPS has a handful of information from the WUSA and the W-League, the MLS has a short 13 year history. The less information you have, the more limited you have to be with your willingness to assume (‘we can afford Marta at X price, because we assume she’ll bring in X dollars’).
3. My connection of players like Kara Lang and Fabiana Vallejos to the likes or Marcos Etcheverry and Mauricio Cienfuegos is this: you do not need the best in the world to inject that special addition you look for in foreign acquisitions.

Critique: I agree that they should proceed cautiously, but if they’re too cautious, they’re going to relegate themselves to permanent second-tier status.

Response: If I read this correctly, the worry is that if the WPS develops too slowly, leagues such as the Australian W-League or England’s future league will pass us by. First, there are just too many female soccer enthusiasts in this country to permanently fall behind other countries, unless of course we continued to fail at building a stable league. In my mind, the only people who can stop us are ourselves.

Critique: I think rumors of her demanding 500,000 to 1 mill are bologna. Last I heard they had offered her $350,000 which sounds more reasonable.

Response: Like I said in my post, I wasn’t sure about the validity of the news coming out involving the WPS. She should be signed if she is requesting a more sensible contract.

Critique: …if this league wants to boast as being the best in the world then they must have the best in the world. The US does not have the star power of Mia Hamm anymore. I don’t want this league to be just a little step above WPSL or USL-W.

Response: The quality will be better than the WPSL and USL W-League. Even if the WPS failed to sign a single player from abroad, you are playing in your first season with only seven teams. That is like seven all-star teams formed from the 41 W-Leaugue teams and over 50 WPSL teams. Mia is gone, but not completely. She made people watch then, but hopefully she made people continue to want to watch. You don’t want people tuning in for one person, you want them tuning in for the game.

Critique: Marta is going to make $350,000. But, not from this soccer league. There is no way they can afford that. Unless, of course, they get all her endorsements.

Response: I don’t have specific information on team budgets, expenditures, and projections, but that lower number sounds more appealing. I completely support the use of endorsements as a way to improve the league and get more money for players.

Critique: Its not just the money. She as well as other foriegn players will be in a bigger market with better facilities and on a full time professional team. I would think the Home Depot Center (and other stadiums like it) as well as the TV deal with FSC who is not only showing games with pre and post game shows but will also feature segments on Fox Soccer Report and Fox Football Fone in, counts for a lot. I don’t think she will get more than the league can afford, and I don’t believe she is asking for such.

Response: I agree, and this is a similar idea to what I was getting at when I said “They will be salivating to come play in the worlds best league in due time- if the WPS can first carefully build a sound and stable league.” The WPS has a lot to offer foreign players, if it can first actually exist.

Thanks for feedback, and I’m open to more. I actually would love to see Marta playing in the WPS. However, I believe there is a line you cross where she isn’t worth it, at least not in year one. That was my primary point.

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