Storylines of 2009 WPS Season (updated)

22 01 2009
Brandi Chastains comeback is a story line to follow in 2009.

Brandi Chastain's comeback is a story line to follow in 2009.

I was running late to work today and had to cut this post short. I took some time to finish the last two story lines though.

1. Marta Viera da Silva – She is the best player in the world, and a player who has a style that is rare and unique. Will Marta be succesful? How will she react to new things on and off the field. Will she embrace Los Angeles? Will she make the play-offs? It will all be worth following in the coming season.

2. Attendance – The brand new league has devised a plan to rely on more modest attendance numbers this time around. Fans who are intent on seeing this new league thrive will no doubt be checking attendance figures weekly if not daily to mark the new leagues financial health. Second, it will also be an indicator as to how large the following is of the WPS.

3. Brandi Chastain – She just couldn’t stay on the sidelines. A hero of the USA women’s national team, Chastain is 40 years old, but is determined to having a few more days in the sun- and on the pitch. Will she be a leader many look to? Will she be a great comeback story? Will loving fans have to feel for her all season long if she struggles?

4. Abby Wambach – There is arguably nothing a country loves more than a homegrown star who can put the ball in the back of the net. She had a dissapointing 2007 World Cup in what many consider a poorly coached and tactitioned team by Greg Ryan. Then she broke her leg in 2008 and had to miss out on the Olympic Gold medal run. Her run of bad luck has also coincided with Pia Sundage identifying and exploiting the qualities of young and rising goal scorers. Will she be ready and able to solidify herself as a US player of elite quality? Can she challenge some of the other big names for the Golden Boot? We willl no doubt be following her this next season with great interest.

5. Cristiane Rozeira de Souza Silva – She is a young and exciting player who is considered one of the best in the world, and has the ability to wow avid and casual fans as well. She will be playing in Chicago, the third largest city in the United States. What success will she achieve, and what will that mean to Chicago and the league?

6. Draftees – At first look, this is an extremely good class of players the league has brought in through the WPS Draft. The names of Christina DiMartino, Yael Averbuch, Amy Rodriguez, Carrie Drew, Kerri Hanks, Megan Rapinoe- on and on the list goes. Who will burst onto the scene faster than expected, or perhaps completely unexpected? What promising young player fails to find success at the next level? Most important, who is the next generation of young players to be both the back bone and shining stars for the league in coming years?

7. St Louis – St Louis is going to have a soccer team. You may recall a lot of progress and achievements of soccer in this country connected to this city, but not relating to an actual team from St. Louis. That is, not for a LONG time. This town is trying to secure a MLS expansion bid, and may possibly be getting a USL1 mens team, but right now they are finally getting a soccer team: the St. Louis Athletica. It will be interesting to see how this town embraces their new team.

8. Stadiums – Some big some small. Some maybe too big, some maybe too small. This is an important peice to the puzzle for WPS success, and finding the right ones is going to take some learning on the go. Will the 27,000 seat stadium in Los Angeles prove too big, or can it compensate by being a high quality facility. Will Ralph Korte stadium and Yurack field be too small or old for the new league, or will it prove to be a cozy environment for the fans and players? FC Gold Pride are playing out of an old baseball stadium, but the Earthquakes renovated the 10,300 seater into something that could be a perfect match for the new team.

7. Play-off Format – The new league has only seven teams, so they have a interesting play-off format. There a questions here to be answered. Will the lay off for the first seeded team (two byes straight to the championship final) cause the team to lose form? Is it unfair to ask the fourth seeded team to win three straight drag out matches?

8. Expansion – Dallas, Atlanta and Philidelphia all want in. Will the results of the first season scare anyone away? Perhaps it may entice a new group of investors in another city. Will the economy thwart one of the current expansion team’s plans? Does the league appear deep enough to handle expanding by 43% (three teams)?

What do you folks think of these story lines? Do you agree with mine, see any you think I’ve missed? Straight up disagree with me? You’ve been visiting but not letting me know what you think? I’m starting to listen to Simon and Garfunkle’s Sounds of Silence and frown : (




One response

29 01 2009

No one respond? These are all good and I’m real interested to see how the individual teams can find local sponsorship. Just from a marketing standpoint. Not just attendance or maybe the two are related?

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