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Fans’ View: Five reasons why Philly needs an NWSL team

I’m a pretty big sports fan. I follow and support every major team that represents my city (whether or not they actually play here).

Something that has stood out to me in recent years is the rise in popularity of women’s professional sports and why one of the biggest sports towns in the country doesn’t have a team.

This more than likely has something to do with how ruthless our sports culture is. Many of the women’s leagues are still young, and trying to build success has been an uphill battle. While there’s a lot of potential in Philadelphia’s large and rich sports market, investing in a team here can be costly up front and would be a long term investment. Most sports fans in this area are difficult to win over. Once you do that though, you will have one of the most passionate and dedicated die-hard fan bases in the United States.

The problem is getting there.

Having said that, I think the ground is fertile for that to happen for women’s soccer. Here’s my list of the 5 reasons why we should be lobbying for a National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) team like we did for the Union.

Carli Lloyd

Two of the best American soccer players are from this area. One of them is trying to make their mark in the world and the other is already a legend. I’m talking of course about Christian Pulisic and Carli Lloyd.

Not only is Lloyd one of the best US Soccer players, she’s one of the best in the world.

Imagine a Philly team with the golden boot winning, world cup hoisting, gold medal wearing, New Jersey native headlining the midfield.

Simply having a team doesn’t guarantee her playing for it, but we have zero chance without one.

Women’s soccer is more entertaining

The USWNT is clearly better than the Men’s team. They play better, they play harder, and they don’t flop!

That’s right, they play to win and do it with more grace and sportsmanship than the men do.

They’ve won three World Cups and are always in the running. They also get paid less to win than the men do to lose.

If you’re a soccer fan then it’s good to support both teams, but American women soccer players have earned the right to your attention. Give it to them!

Philly girls need athletic heroes

There are no shortage of great athletes that hail from the Philadelphia area. The problem is that most of them are men. If you’re a young woman looking for a local athlete to look up to, one that knows the struggle of being recognized as a professional from their perspective, there aren’t many options.

Women’s soccer players are the perfect role models for these girls. They not only dominate on the field and play honorably, but they also stand at the forefront of the fight for equal pay and recognition.

Our players are moving overseas

Some of the best American players like Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd have been testing the markets in Europe. The lack of opportunities and acceptable pay has drawn them to greener pastures.

This is not a good development since they are taking their talent with them. This increases the competition level of those leagues and waters it down over here.

By having a team in Philly, we’re creating more positions for top-tier players, and being a big city market will boost the profile and profit for the league. This will hopefully result in better pay and benefits to keep our stars at home. It may even draw some foreign talent here too.

More teams mean more chances to win a championship

There is nothing that we are more starved for here than championships.

Every new team brings another chance to bring a trophy home. And with the way the sports scene looks, we can use all the help we can get.

I for one would happily buy tickets to a Philly NWSL team. If for nothing else, more sports to watch.

If New York can have two teams in every sport, we can handle two soccer teams.

14 Comments

  1. Chris Gibbons says:

    It would be amazing if this happened, and it would be well-attended if they played a university field in the city. Hop on the subway or catch a cab, several thousand at every match.

  2. Sure. Philadelphia could use at least one professional soccer team.

  3. I agree that it would be great to have a women’s professional team back in the Philadelphia area.
    .
    Given that two such teams have been in operation here in the past two decades – the Charge in the WUSA (based at Villanova) and the Independence in the WPSL (based at West Chester and Widener) – there may be some helpful lessons to be learned from their experiences.

  4. Andy Muenz says:

    We used to have a lot of fun at Independence games…and they went to the playoffs as many times in two years as the Union did in their first 7.
    .
    Unfortunately the attendance was never all that great.

  5. The “Women’s soccer is more entertaining” section is why I can’t stand the USWNT. There really shouldn’t be any comparisons good or bad to the Men’s team, it’s honestly annoying.
    .
    Anyone who follows the game isn’t surprised at all when the USWNT loses in a blowout to the USBNT U17’s. That doesn’t take away from the USWNT’s hard work or success. However, making generalized, borderline sexist comments about the USMNT that can’t be backed up does.
    .
    Don’t tear down the Men’s team just to try to promote the Women’s team. It’s a stupid comparison. Focus on how hard these women work to be skilled at their craft. THAT’S what makes them great.

    • The “grace and sportsmanship” line conveniently forgets just how graceful Hope Solo can be.

    • Yeah I found this section to be totally offensive as well. Especially when the USMNT just went down to Mexico and dealt with certain circumstances with class and played extremely hard. Please don’t compare the men’s/women’s game. We should respect the women more than to sink to that level.

  6. “Something that has stood out to me in recent years is the rise in popularity of women’s professional sports and why one of the biggest sports towns in the country doesn’t have a team.”
    .
    What popularity? NWSL through 8 full weeks has racked up 230,000 paid attendance or 5000 per match. That’s all 10 teams, combined. The WNBA averages 7500 a game. If by popular you mean as popular as an average double A baseball team, then yeah it’s gangbusters.
    .
    I would love for there to be a well funded (it would have to be) women’s team in town. I used to go to the Charge games. But the reality is women’s sports are still much closer to federal witness protection program hide out locations than popular.

  7. Scott of Nazareth says:

    I’m all for a team in the Philly area, but we’re certainly not alone in being a major sports town without a NWSL team considering the league only has a total of 10 teams.

    I have no clue on the economics involved, but would think some relationship with Union would almost have to be required to minimize organizational redundancies for it to have much chance of success.

    I do think there is a market for it, albeit a small one that’s built/centered around the local club/youth team players and families.

  8. Old Soccer Coach says:

    The east coast is much older than the Midwest and the west coast, and the Great Plains and intermountain west are the youngest of all. The city of Philadelphia was the biggest in British North America the longest ago. That’s why so many colonial era shrines are here.
    .
    That age and history influences attitudes, in spite of the disproportionately high representation of Quaker women in the nineteenth century women’s movements both before and after the civil war.
    .
    Philly is a tough nut to crack.
    .
    Second, two previous attempts have not succeeded. Harold Stassen is not a template for investment success.
    .
    How many of us know women who are rabidly passionate about men’s sports teams? Those loyalties will not disappear.
    .
    The financially successful women’s collegiate sports programs are not here, the revenue producers.
    .
    Third, the very best adult professional women play against elite older youth teams.
    .
    Please do not insult the intelligence of observers by saying they are better than the men’s teams.
    ..
    The other descriptors are eye-of-the-beholder.
    .
    But pace of play is not comparable. Neither is the fine-ness of individual technique. No woman I have ever seen play can do to those defending Messi what Messi himself does to them.
    .
    Now, were Carli Lloyd’s goal beautiful,stand alone events? You bet. I cheered and “Oh my goodness-ed” with best of them the way we all did.
    .
    Do I learn more about the game every time I watch the now-retired Japanese women’s national team captain, Sawa Homare, play? [japanese name order, surname first]. Absolutely.
    .
    Have our women’s teams been sources of pride to all of us? Of course.
    .
    But don’t make comparisons that can hold no water from the get go. please.
    .

  9. It would be great to have a women’s pro team in the area again, but it was a real struggle for the Independence to get people to a game. The club had some big names on the roster through their 3-season existence – Amy Rodriguez, Megan Rapinoe (for a little while), Heather Mitts, Tasha Kai, Lori Lindsey – and players like Carli Lloyd, Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, and Marta were lining up against them week-in and week-out, but the best players in the sport were drawing < 3,000 per game (with a TON of free tickets and youth team promotions) to the West Chester and Widener Univ. stadiums. I can't imagine any other suburban college / university doing a whole lot better. The ideal situation would be for the Union to start a women's team, but I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon.

    I can definitely attest to the role model aspect of having a local professional women's team, as I coached a girls' travel team that shared training facilities with the Independence. Splitting practice space with top world talent allowed us to watch the hard work and discipline needed to reach the top. It's been years since the pro team folded, but some of the players have maintained mentor/mentee relationships with my girls.

    I disagree completely with the sentiment behind the USWNT vs USMNT section of this post.

  10. would love to have and support a NWSL team here. ideally, not in Chester nor affiliated with the Union.

    don’t think Chester and the Union org would improve attendance, unless they bundled games before/after Union matches. frankly, i don’t think they have the bandwidth nor interest for this.

    if they expect to draw 3,000, then play, consistently, in one location, accessible by more than driving.

    i’ve been to Sky Blue matches since day 1 of the league. they play on Rutger’s campus. it’s a haul, but i’ll usually package matches where the timing works that i can catch Bethlehem and then Sky Blue in the same day.
    their attendance is among the lowest. it’s location less than interest. a college campus, not easily accessible by mass transit, between two major metropolitan areas (three if you count the ABE area).

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