The Rising Of Women’s Soccer & The Push For Gender Equality
A country as large as the USA — how can there be only ten professional women’s soccer teams? Especially when that country is the only 4X FIFA World Cup Champion. These are are the often un asked questions that clearly show the need for more professional soccer in America.
American women’s soccer has developed very differently from men’s soccer and while the majority of the investments have been devoted to the male side of the game, all the major international wins have been achieved by women. Our U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team is the most successful in the world and can proudly claim four FIFA World Cup titles. The men cannot even claim a final match and yet today there are three professional men’s leagues in the USA and several large lower level leagues as well.
Since the turn of this century, women’s soccer has not successfully faced the challenges of attracting widespread financial support or fan interest. Both the Women’s United Soccer Association (2001-03) and Women’s Professional Soccer (2009-11) failed but the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) launched in 2013 has defied those earlier odds and flourished where previous U.S. women’s soccer leagues have failed. NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird has established significant corporate in-roads and secured marketing power that had eluded women’s soccer.
Now there is a new push for a second women’s professionals soccer team that would compete not against but under the NWSL — similar to how USL Championship and National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) compete under Major League Soccer (MLS), the top tier of men’s soccer.
The as of yet unnamed league should be announcing its name and branding within the month and has established an alliance with the men’s pro league NISA and the Womens’ amateur league United Women’s Soccer (UWS) — these organizations continue to share an aligned perspective to move the women’s game forward.
But is launching another women’s league smart and is it sustainable?
We asked Carrie Taylor, the Managing Director of the new Women’s D2 Pro League project which looking to bring more professional women’s soccer to America. The league, which is applying for United States Soccer Federation (USSF) sanctioning this fall, hopes to potentially play in the fall of 2022.
Interview with Carrie Taylor on the New Potential Women’ Pro League
Diane Scavuzzo: Is a new women’s pro league sustainable? That is the most important question.
Carrie Taylor: Right now there are ten existing women’s pro soccer teams in NWSL.
However, in the college game, there are over a 1000 women’s soccer programs with thousands of talented players.
The numbers don’t lie … And, we are losing talented players overseas.
The Women’s U.S. Women’s National team is them most successful team in the world and ten women’s teams are just not enough.
It is time to rise.
We feel very confident that the time is now and that this will be a very sustainable league, and a very needed league.
Diane Scavuzzo: That makes total sense, and women’s soccer has gained considerable traction in the last few years. NWSL has attracted several major corporate partners including Verizon and Budweiser. What do you think of this support of top-flight women’s soccer?
Carrie Taylor: It is inspiriting and long overdue.
Lisa (NWSL’s commissioner) has done a great job of attracting new sponsors.
The future is female.
We believe that companies that support women’s sports will see the benefits. Investing in women is smart and long overdue. Women are over half the population and hold the majority of the buying power
Diane Scavuzzo: Why has it taken so long for women’s soccer to stabilize?
Carrie Taylor: Not just women’s soccer … I think men’s soccer has gone through lots of iteration. It has a lot more to do with carving out a space in American sports for the game of soccer than the gender playing the sport.
It has taken a long time for soccer in the U.S. to become sustainable and we started with the focus on the men. Yes, there have been women’s soccer leagues that have failed and we will learn from the past but we believe the need is there.
I know the need is there.
I have spoken to a lot of clubs, and they are excited about joining the league.
Diane Scavuzzo: Do you know if the league will be a franchise model like the MLS or more like the NISA structure of a co-operative, harnessing collective buying power?
Carrie Taylor: We are currently working on the structure and operating agreements. I cannot discuss the details yet.
Diane Scavuzzo: Regarding this new possible women’s soccer league, what is the most important message you want to share?
Carrie Taylor: The most important message we want to get out is that this new league is not just about soccer — It is about establishing independence and strength within women’s sports and with women in general.
We think this will be bigger than soccer.
We are excited to launch and show everyone what that will look like
Diane Scavuzzo: Is this a drive for gender equality?
Carrie Taylor: Does it make sense in this day and age to have ten women’s professional soccer teams while the men’s side of the game has the MLS, USL and NISA with million of dollars of TV rights?
There are thousands of talented women soccer players graduating from universities. We need more than ten pro teams.
We want our league to offer more — It is not about the wins and losses and doing the same old thing.
I believe this league will resonate with people whether they like soccer or not.
Within our league, we hope to promote female ownership as well as female coaches. Today, in the USA, in the world of professional women’s soccer, there is only one female head coach and one female general manager — and they both work for SkyBlue.
It is about rising above the established subpar standards. Our new league plans to include coaching education, mentoring programs and executive leadership development.
Diane Scavuzzo: With women-owned companies projected to over 40% of all registered businesses worldwide as of last year, it is definitely time to see more women in leadership positions in American soccer.
Carrie Taylor: I have spent my entire career, my 33 years in the game — at all levels of this sport and I am super honored to be chosen to lead this project.
Club 9 Sports is the driving force to bring a new second-level pro league to America and we have a team who are working super hard to move this project forward.
Diane Scavuzzo: You have always been a strong supporter for women in the game and a pioneer, breaking through barriers in the male dominated sport as a coach or as a coach educator.
Carrie Taylor: I have spent my life advocating for women. Within the sport of soccer or any really all sports, men have traditionally been in a place of leadership. Women have had to continue to stand up and it is tiresome and challenging. We continue to ask “Where are all the women” and we can’t keep asking the same question without doing something about it.
Note: Taylor also serves as a technical consultant for the Jamaican Women’s National Team and is the head of operations of NISA’s Stumptown Athletic. In 2020, Taylor was the only female coach in a U.S. men’s professional soccer club. Selected by Landon Donovan, Taylor was his first appointment as he built his inaugural coaching staff for the USL Championship team, San Diego Loyal.
Women Control The Money: Four Fun Facts To Think About:
- According to Forbes, “While women drive the majority of consumer spending and are 50% of the human beings walking this earth, the culture of the business world remains as masculine as a three-piece suit.”
- According to Inc., “Women Drive Majority of Consumer Purchasing.”
- As reported in Forbes, “Women drive 70-80% of all consumer purchasing decisions.”
- Women make 85 percent of all consumer purchasing decisions, and account for $7 trillion in consumer and business spending, according GirlPower Marketing.