The Five Billion Person Party

Notes of a wandering American soccer fan

When the talent flows the opposite way

Posted by steigs on August 20, 2008

Here in the US, we’re getting used to our best players being lured across the pond (‘bye, Jozy!  See you, Maurice!).  Prime-age US national team players rarely ply their trade here at home in MLS.  And when they do, we often wonder what is wrong with them.  (Yes, we’re looking at you, Landon.)

But as with much in women’s soccer, the situation is reversed.  As a revived women’s league prepares to launch, it’s the English teams who worry about their best players leaving:

The Premier League has entered what will almost certainly be the final season of its current format with an ominous warning from the Arsenal manager, Vic Akers, that American predators could rob the proposed new Super League of its top players.

The Football Association board is expected to rubber-stamp proposals for an eight-team summer league, projected to start in March 2010, at its meeting on Wednesday. But in the US the Women’s Professional Soccer League, the successor to the ill-fated Women’s United Soccer Association that folded in 2003, kicks off next summer and several England internationals are being headhunted with the carrot of professional contracts.

At the least, perhaps the pressure of US teams offering — oooh — “professional contracts” might give the English women players a bit more leverage to get EPL teams to spend a bit more on their women’s teams and give the sport a nudge there.  If they fail, well, we’ll get to enjoy their stars over here, for a change.

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