Was Hope Solo’s blog post an early obituary for the NWSL?

'This ice cooler reminds me of youth soccer.' -- Hope Solo. (Hopesolo.com)

‘This ice cooler reminds me of youth soccer.’ — Hope Solo. (Hopesolo.com)

I don’t know which is more troubling: The appalling playing  and travel conditions that Hope Solo documented in her viral blog post about the National Women’s Soccer League; or what those conditions say about the state of women’s soccer in America.

I had four thoughts after reading what Solo wrote and seeing the photos she posted:

 

1.

'A net with zip ties that have been haphazardly cut off -- a disaster waiting to happen.' -- Hope Solo. (Hopesolo.com)

‘A net with zip ties that have been haphazardly cut off — a disaster waiting to happen.’ — Hope Solo. (Hopesolo.com)

For years, I’ve heard Sunil Gulati, the president of U.S. Soccer, go on about his commitment to the women’s game, and to women in sports in general.

He said these things even as he fought the efforts of the U.S. women’s team to secure better pay and a more equitable contract, even as he stood mute while women from the United States and elsewhere fought in vain against the use of plastic playing fields at the 2015 World Cup.

After seeing Solo’s visual proof of conditions in the National Women’s Soccer League, I will never again trust anything Sunil Gulati says.

(To be honest, I never completely trusted him before. Gulati, a member of FIFA’s executive committee since 2013, took his sweet time to publicly distance himself from Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s former criminal in chief.)

Sepp Blatter, FIFA's corrupt president, exchanges a warm greeting with Sunil Gulati at a FIFA meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on June 11, 2014. (Alexander Hassenstein/FIFA)

Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s corrupt president, exchanges a warm greeting with Sunil Gulati at a FIFA meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on June 11, 2014. (Alexander Hassenstein/FIFA)

 

2.

Jeff Plush, the empty suit installed by Gulati as NWSL commissioner, is as much a sports commissioner as Barney Fife was a law enforcement official.

plush barney fife nwsl

Consider his forceful leadership (Plush’s, not Barney Fife’s) when one of his league’s franchises, the Western New York Flash,  moved a game to a completely unsuitable field — in the outfield of a minor league baseball stadium — because its regular home field was being used for a ’90s throwback concert.

western ny flash field debacle

 

3.

The NWSL is circling the drain.

'Pretty typical locker room bathroom.' -- Hope Solo. (Hopesolo.com)

‘Pretty typical locker room bathroom.’ — Hope Solo. (Hopesolo.com)

The conditions described by Solo confirm what most followers have long suspected: That while a couple of  franchises are doing well, the league overall is hobbled by unprofessional owners,  sickly balance sheets, and poor cash flow.

The league has no marketing strategy or budget, virtually no TV  exposure (games are carried on YouTube), and meager attendance.

However much U.S. Soccer would like to keep the NWSL afloat, if only as a gesture of support for the women’s game, no league can survive if its teams can’t afford first-aid supplies and are cheating players out of their meal money.

nwsl upside down

 

4.

However dreadful things are for women’s soccer in the United States, they are surely far worse in most of the world’s other countries.

 

 

Please click HERE to follow @finishersblog on Twitter.

Advertisements

What do you think? Tell us!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s