Will WPS stars sign up for another season?

Here’s a bit of irony: iTunes, in shuffling through my music library, has just called up Stevie Wonder’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered.

If you look at the list of players who have and have not signed with WPS teams for 2012, you’ll see that an awful lot of players are in the “have not” category. That includes most of the U.S. national team assembled for Saturday’s revenge friendly against Sweden.

A couple of sticking points:

1. When will the WPS season take place? The Olympics fall rather inconveniently in late July and early August. (Yes, if things go awry in January’s qualification tournament, that could be a concern for the Canadian players and not the Americans, but we have no reason to assume such things.)

2. The league has no collective bargaining agreement at the moment. That’s also ironic in a sense, given today’s events — there’s no salary cap, so the league isn’t preventing owners from paying Borislow-style salaries to stack their rosters.

WPS CEO Jennifer O’Sullivan had this to say in a conference call last week: “We certainly believe that a CBA is a vital component. At the same time, we have to kind of move forward as it stands. There’s a tremendous amount of talent.”

The union, though, is a little disappointed with progress so far. Here’s a statement:

This off-season the players union has been busy working with players on various matters, but talks with the league have seemingly stalled regarding scheduling, salaries, contract terms, and other issues subject to bargaining. The owners have not responded to player proposals regarding minimum salaries in any real way and are proceeding as if uninterested in a CBA. The players recognize WPS is in flux but find the league’s lack of responsiveness disappointing – a CBA would only contribute to the stability and professionalism of the league and there is no reason one could not have been reached before free agency opened. We are, however, moving forward with plans for next year and are hopeful and excited about the 2012 season and beyond.

The next key date for the league is Sunday. Each year, pro leagues and teams go through a review with U.S. Soccer’s professional leagues task force (in the past, that group has included USSF secretary general Dan Flynn, executive VP Mike Edwards and board member Carlos Cordeiro), which makes recommendations to the U.S. Soccer board. That board will meet Sunday before the MLS Cup final in Carson, Calif. For a thriving league like MLS, this review won’t generate any news. For a league that needs to apply for a waiver on the minimum of eight teams, there’s a bit more to discuss.

If you need to catch up on today’s news, check out the espnW story on Dan Borislow’s lawsuit and read the preceding two posts.

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3 Responses to Will WPS stars sign up for another season?

  1. Jane says:

    So, this confuses me.

    If the league minimum is 8 teams. How did the league exist last year with 6 and intend to move forward this year with 5 teams? And why does Barislow think (and most other people in the soccer world agree) he saved The WPS? Seems to me it was the U.S. Soccer Board that saved the league. Why would the league have folded last year with 5 teams, but not this year?
    (And by the way, how ironic that I am looking at a MagicJack Plus ad just to the right of this comment box)

  2. Beau Dure says:

    Good old Google advertising!

    U.S. Soccer can grant waivers. They seem OK with six. I’m really curious to see how the discussion goes this weekend.

  3. curiousleo says:

    I think most free agents will be signed much closer to pre-season. And perhaps some of the big names are waiting to see a) what happens with # of teams; b) collective barganning (some being key figures in the union); c) schedule.

    boxx & rampone have said they’re retiring after the olys so maybe they’ve decided to be done w/ club ball b/f that. it isn’t like they’ve been playing club ball their whole career.

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