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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Our View: Here come the Blues

  • Will the third time be the charm for a women's professional soccer league in the United States?
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  • Will the third time be the charm for a women's professional soccer league in the United States? U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati announced last week that an eight-team league will begin play in the spring of 2013.
    One of those eight teams will be in Kansas City and possibly playing just down the road from here at Livestrong Sporting Park, home of Sporting KC.
    Kansas City's team will be called FS Kansas City and nicknamed the Blues.
    The league is slated to kick off in March/April 2013.
    Two previous professional women's leagues in the United States ultimately folded, beginning with the Women's United Soccer Association, which ran from 2000-2003, and the most recent Women's Professional Soccer, which lasted from 2009 through 2011.
    Besides Kansas City the new professional league will include teams in Boston, Western New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Portland, Ore., and Seattle.
    Gulati said that 24 U.S. Women's National Team players, 16 players from Canada's National Team and 12 from the Mexican National Team will be a part of the league.
    "The real story today from our perspective is we're starting a league in eight important markets in the U.S. with the participation of the governing bodies and trying to create an economic model that is sustainable," Gulati said. "From our perspective, the most important thing is that we've got a commitment from the eight groups we've talked about, a sustainable model."
    The eight franchises were chosen because of past support for U.S. women's soccer, as big crowds have turned out in the past to watch the women's national team.
    The Kansas City ownership group is led by Chris Likens and his two sons, Greg and Brad Likens, along with Brian Budzinski.
    FC Kansas City has yet to decide on its home. Budzinski said the ownership group is still negotiating bids with four venues, including Livestrong Sporting Park at the Legends.
    Players from the national teams will be assigned to franchises in January and the remaining roster positions filled with free agents.

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