Women's United Soccer Association

Last updated
Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA)
Women's United Soccer Association logo.svg
Founded2000
Folded2003
CountryFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Confederation CONCACAF (North America)
Number of teams8
Level on pyramid 1 (USA)
Domestic cup(s)Founders Cup
Most championships Bay Area CyberRays
Carolina Courage
Washington Freedom (1 title each)
TV partners Turner Sports

The Women's United Soccer Association, often abbreviated to the WUSA, was the world's first women's soccer league in which all the players were paid as professionals. Founded in February 2000, the league began its first season in April 2001 with eight teams in the United States. The league suspended operations on September 15, 2003, shortly after the end of its third season, after making cumulative losses of around US$100 million. [1]

Womens association football association football when played by women

Women's association football, usually known as women's football or women's soccer, is the most prominent team sport played by women around the globe. It is played at the professional level in numerous countries throughout the world and 176 national teams participate internationally.

2000 in sports describes the year's events in world sport.

2001 in sports describes the year's events in world sport.

Contents

History

Establishment

As a result of the US women's national team's (USWNT) first-place showing in the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup, a seemingly viable market for the sport germinated.

United States womens national soccer team Womens national association football team representing the United States

The United States women's national soccer team (USWNT) represents the United States in international women's soccer. The team is the most successful in international women's soccer, winning four Women's World Cup titles, four Olympic gold medals, and eight CONCACAF Gold Cups. It medaled in every World Cup and Olympic tournament in women's soccer history from 1991 to 2015, before being knocked out in the quarterfinal of the 2016 Summer Olympics. The team is governed by United States Soccer Federation and competes in CONCACAF. The United States women's national soccer team recently just won the 2019 World Cup for the 4th time by defeating Netherlands 2-0.

1999 FIFA Womens World Cup 1999 edition of the FIFA Womens World Cup

The 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup was the third edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup, the world championship for women's national association football teams. It was hosted as well as won by the United States and took place from 19 June to 10 July 1999 at eight venues across the country. The tournament was the most successful FIFA Women's World Cup in terms of attendance, television ratings, and public interest.

Feeding on the momentum of their victory, the twenty USWNT players, in partnership with John Hendricks of the Discovery Channel, sought out the investors, markets, and players necessary to form the eight-team league. The twenty founding players were Michelle Akers, Brandi Chastain, Tracy Ducar, Lorrie Fair, Joy Fawcett, Danielle Fotopoulos, Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Shannon MacMillan, Tiffeny Milbrett, Carla Overbeck, Cindy Parlow, Christie Pearce, Tiffany Roberts, Briana Scurry, Kate (Markgraf) Sobrero, Tisha Venturini, Saskia Webber, and Sara Whalen.

John Samuel Hendricks is an American businessman and is the founder and former chairman of Discovery, Inc., a broadcasting and film production company which owns the Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet networks, among other ventures. On March 20, 2014, after 32 years at the helm, he made public his decision to retire as chairman of Discovery Communications after the annual shareholders' meeting of May 16, 2014. He moved on to found CuriosityStream, an ad-free, on-demand nonfiction streaming service.

Discovery Channel is an American pay television network and flagship channel owned by Discovery, Inc., a publicly traded company run by CEO David Zaslav. As of June 2012, Discovery Channel is the third most widely distributed subscription channel in the United States, behind TBS and The Weather Channel; it is available in 409 million households worldwide, through its U.S. flagship channel and its various owned or licensed television channels internationally.

Michelle Anne Akers is an American former soccer player who starred in the 1991 and 1999 Women's World Cup and 1996 Olympics victories by the United States. At the 1991 World Cup, she won the Golden Shoe as the top scorer, with 10 goals.

Initial investment in the league was provided by the following: [2]

Time Warner Cable Former American cable telecommunications company

Time Warner Cable (TWC) was an American cable television company. Before it was purchased by Charter Communications on May 18, 2016, it was ranked the second largest cable company in the United States by revenue behind only Comcast, operating in 29 states. Its corporate headquarters were located in the Time Warner Center in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, with other corporate offices in Stamford, Connecticut; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Herndon, Virginia. From 1971 to 1981, Time Warner Cable, as Warner Cable, owned Dimension Pictures.

Cox Enterprises company

Cox Enterprises, Inc. is a privately held global conglomerate headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia with approximately 55,000 employees and $21 billion in total revenue. Its major operating subsidiaries are Cox Communications, Cox Automotive and Cox Media Group. The company's major national brands include AutoTrader, Kelley Blue Book, Cox Homelife, Gamut and more. Through Cox Automotive, the company's international operations stretch across Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America. Cox Enterprises is currently led by Alexander C. Taylor, a fourth-generation Cox family member and great-grandson of founder James M. Cox. James M. Cox's grandson, James C. Kennedy and other members of the Cox family are on the company's board of directors.

Cox Communications is an American privately owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises providing digital cable television, telecommunications and Home Automation services in the United States. It is the third-largest cable television provider in the United States, serving more than 6.2 million customers, including 2.9 million digital cable subscribers, 3.5 million Internet subscribers, and almost 3.2 million digital telephone subscribers, making it the seventh-largest telephone carrier in the country. Cox is headquartered at 6205 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd in Sandy Springs, Georgia, U.S., in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

The US Soccer Federation approved membership of the league as a sanctioned Division 1 women's professional soccer league on August 18, 2000. [3]

Organization

Media coverage

At various times, games were televised on TNT, CNNSI, ESPN2, PAX TV, and various local and regional sports channels. [4]

Teams

The WUSA franchises were located in Philadelphia; Boston; New York City; Washington, D.C.; Cary, N.C.; Atlanta; San Jose, Ca.; and San Diego:

For the inaugural season, each roster primarily consisted of players from the United States, although up to four international players were allowed on each team's roster. Among the international players were China's Sun Wen, Pu Wei, Fan Yunjie, Zhang Ouying, Gao Hong, Zhao Lihong, and Bai Jie; Germany's Birgit Prinz, Conny Pohlers, Steffi Jones and Maren Meinert; Norway's Hege Riise, Unni Lehn, and Dagny Mellgren; Brazil's Sissi, Kátia and Pretinha; and Canada's Charmaine Hooper, Sharolta Nonen, and Christine Latham.

The league also hosted singular talents from nations which were not at the forefront of women's soccer, such as Maribel Dominguez of Mexico, Homare Sawa of Japan, Julie Fleeting of Scotland, Cheryl Salisbury of Australia, Marinette Pichon of France and Kelly Smith of England.

WUSA Awards

Founders Cup champions

The Founders Cup (named in honor of the 20 founding players) was awarded to the winner of a four-team, single-elimination postseason playoff.

SeasonChampionScoreRunner-UpCity
2001 Bay Area CyberRays 3–3 asdet
4–2 pen
Atlanta Beat Foxboro, MA
2002 Carolina Courage 3–2 Washington Freedom Atlanta, GA
2003 Washington Freedom 2–1 asdet Atlanta Beat San Diego, CA

WUSA's sudden death overtime was 15 minutes long (2-seven and a half minute periods) and only used in the play-offs.

League suspension

The WUSA played for three full seasons, suspending operations on September 15, 2003, shortly after the conclusion of the third season. Neither television ratings nor attendance met forecasts, while the league spent its initial $40 million budget, planned to last five years, by the end of the first season. Even though the players took salary cuts of up to 30% for the final season, with the founding players (who also held an equity stake in the league) taking the largest cuts, that was not enough to bring expenses under control. In the hopes of an eventual relaunch of the league, all rights to team names, logos, and similar properties were preserved. Efforts to line up new sources of capital and operating funds continued. In June 2004, the WUSA held two "WUSA Festivals" in Los Angeles and Blaine, Minnesota, featuring matches between reconstituted WUSA teams (often with marquee players borrowed from other teams), in order to maintain the league in the public eye and sustain interest in women's professional soccer. [5]

With the WUSA on hiatus, the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) and the W-League regained their status as the premier women's soccer leagues in the United States, and many former WUSA players joined those teams. [6]

A new women's professional soccer league in the United States called Women's Professional Soccer started in 2009. However, that league suspended operations in January 2012. [7]

See also

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References

  1. King, Bill. "Confident, yes, but can new league survive?". Sport Business Journa. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  2. Miller, Gretchen; Scheyer, Jonathan; Sherrard, Emily. "Women's United Soccer Assocation". Soccer Politics. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  3. "WUSA Granted U.S. Soccer Membership as Division I Women's Professional Soccer League". USSF. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  4. "Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) Announces Television Coverage for Every Game During Inaugural Season". USSF. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  5. Longman, Jere. "SOCCER; Women's Soccer League Folds on World Cup's Eve". The New York Times . Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  6. Smith, Michelle. "SOCCER / Collapse of WUSA leaves void / College, pro players ponder their futures". San Francisco Gate . Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  7. Bell, Jack. "Goal Goal The New York Times Soccer Blog W.P.S. Suspends Operations". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 April 2019.