U.S. Women’s National Team allocation week of September 15, immediately followed by International Player Draft and WPS General Draft
Combines, Post-Combine Draft and local tryouts conclude player selection process
SAN FRANCISCO (July 8, 2008) – Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) announced today the details of its player selection process leading into the kickoff of its inaugural season in April 2009. WPS teams will build their rosters through an allocation of U.S. Women’s National Team stars, a draft of international players, combines, additional League drafts and local team tryouts.
WPS will begin securing domestic talent with the post-Olympics allocation of the U.S. Women’s National Team (WNT) and U.S. WNT Player Pool in mid-September, to be immediately followed with a draft of the top international players. In October, WPS will conduct a general draft for both domestic and international players, followed by east and west coast combines in December and a post-combine draft in January. WPS Teams for the inaugural 2009 season – Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Jersey/New York, St. Louis, and Washington D.C. – will then complete their rosters via local tryouts.
“The player allocation and draft process has been the top priority for the League office and Team owners since first announcing the League’s formation last September,” said Tonya Antonucci, WPS Commissioner. “WPS will be the ultimate showcase for the world’s best female soccer talent and, for those athletes competing in the Beijing Olympics, the next stage in their careers. As a North American league, our first priority is the U.S. Women’s National Team players, whose skills will be complemented by the world’s top players, as well as the domestic players who have the talent and dedication required of professional athletes.”
“This is an exciting time for the National Team players as the Olympics are right around the corner and then a few weeks after we come home from Beijing we’ll be allocated to WPS teams,” said U.S. National Team star Abby Wambach. “I’m eager to learn which team I’ll be playing for and to connect with the fans in that market.”
“From a team roster perspective, we are being very thorough in the player scouting and draft process,” said Jeff Cooper, chairman of the St. Louis WPS franchise. “The end-goal is to create a cohesive team ripe with talent and personality, and poised to win, of course.”
On a local level, teams are already rallying community support around their soon-to-be players, thanks to a Marketing Services Agreement (MSA) with the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association (USWNTPA). The MSA allows members of the U.S. WNT / U.S. WNT Player Pool to appear at community events and media functions, as well as participate in photo and video shoots on behalf of the League and teams now through next February. The power of this agreement was on display last month in Portland, Maine, when U.S. WNT forward Abby Wambach was the guest of WPS at the U.S. Youth Soccer Region I Championships Opening Ceremony. There she reminded the tournament’s more than 5,000 participants that anything – including playing professional soccer – is possible with determination and hard work. Multiple WPS-related appearances – including charity/community events, media functions, and promotional clinics – by members of the U.S. WNT are slated for later this year and early next and will be announced by the League and individual teams as details are confirmed.
“All of the WPS markets have a rich soccer tradition, and WPS will be unique because our players will be some of the most fan-accessible professional athletes in the country,” said Thomas Hofstetter, CEO of Sky Blue Soccer (New Jersey/New York WPS). “That’s important to our fans, who will be cheering the players from the stands and avidly following them off the field, as well.”
The complete WPS player timeline is as follows:
|July 8 – Week of Sept. 15||Advancement of player contract discussions between WPS and U.S. WNT / U.S. WNT Player Pool; contracts to be finalized prior to post-Olympics allocation. Note: U.S. WNT Players / U.S. WNT Pool Players have already submitted their WPS market preferences.|
|July 8 – Aug. 5||WPS teams may enter discussions with international players, in advance of International Players’ post-Olympics draft|
|August 5 – 23||Beijing Olympics quiet period; no WPS communication with any Players competing in the Olympics|
|September 2||WPS Teams submit U.S. WNT Player preferences to the League|
|Week of September 15||U.S. WNT / U.S. WNT Player Pool domestic allocation|
|Week of September 22||Draft of top International players (2 per WPS team)|
|October 6||WPS General Draft of Domestic and International players|
|December 10 – 13||WPS West Coast Combine (will include players who have completed their NCAA eligibility)|
|December 17 – 20||WPS East Coast Combine (will include players who have completed their NCAA eligibility)|
|Week of January 14||WPS Post-Combine Draft|
|Beginning February 1||WPS Tryouts in Team’s local market may begin any time after January 31. Exact dates of all local tryouts will be posted to both league and team websites.|
|March 1||WPS Pre-Season begins|
|April 4/5 (TBD)||WPS Regular Season begins|
In addition, the WPSL and W-League will hold player showcases August 28 – 31 and September 4 – 7, respectively, allowing WPS general managers and coaches to preview the nation’s soccer talent pool firsthand.
About Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS)
The mission of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) is to be the premier women’s soccer league in the world and the global standard by which women’s professional sports are measured. Play kicks off in the spring of 2009, with WPS teams based in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Jersey/New York, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. The league will expand to eight teams by 2010 with the inclusion of Philadelphia. For more information, visit www.womensprosoccer.com.
Fleishman-Hillard Sports Business