By Andrew Cohen for www.athleticbusiness.com
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Although most sports fans aren't aware of it, the blueprint for organically grown women's soccer leagues already exists in the form of the W-League, which is administered by the United Soccer Leagues (USL).
Leagues under the auspices of USL may lack a cohesive national footprint, but their footprints are all over the American landscape, with more than 120 teams competing in the men's First and Second Divisions, the W-League and the Premier Development League. As Melanie Fitzgerald, director of W-League operations, points out, the 25-year-old USL is the poster child for grassroots leagues, having started as a men's indoor league, gradually morphing into an outdoor league and pulling youth and women's teams under the USL umbrella.