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"As owners, instead of us going and maybe signing somebody like Marta [Vieira da Silva, the highest paid woman soccer player in the world], now what we'll do is try to look for that next Alex Morgan.
"We're doing this because it's what's good for Kansas City and it's what's good for young female athletes," he adds. "And then you get to be a part of the top players in the world and U.S. Soccer and trying to win a World Cup. That's what's good for the game."
That sounds noble enough, but is that enough to keep this new league from the fate that befell the previous two? The question lingers: Can professional women's soccer make money?
The way U.S. Soccer plans on operating the league might make it easier for team owners to turn a profit. In November, Gulati explained that the league would be highly centralized to minimize cost. "U.S. Soccer will absorb all of the costs of running the front office so there is no capital contributions needed to the normal functions of a normal front office of scheduling, promotions, websites," he said. "All of those things will be handled by U.S. Soccer," he said.
FC Kansas City has hired a head coach and an assistant coach, and TOTA is looking for a home field with a minimum of 5,000 seats. But the WPS's average attendance was 3,518 in 2011, a season that followed the popularity boost of the women's national team after the 2011 Women's World Cup.
Sporting Club, the ownership group behind Sporting Kansas City, didn't bid to acquire a team in the new women's league. That may seem telling, but Budzinski — who owns an indoor soccer building in addition to the Comets — is bullish. Cautiously bullish.
"Would we like to make a profit? Yeah, of course we would," he says. "Do we plan on making a profit? Not right off the bat. We think we can."
Psst, Hope — Come Here!
Three Players We Want in KC
Members of the U.S. Women's National Team can expect some control over where they play in the newly formed women's professional league. Here are three we'd like to see suit up here.
Goalie, age 31
Solo has reason to remember KC. In September 2011, when the National Team was training with Sporting Kansas City, Sporting forward C.J. Sapong serenaded her with a little rap. It was a wee bit awkward, but Solo was game. She's a standout keeper whose public comments have made her a lightning rod — a potential boon to local sportswriters.
Duh. Wambach, a brilliant clutch scorer, has also become the face of the National Team. And sometimes that face is a little worse for wear. In August, she took a punch to the eye in a game against Colombia. Unfazed, she scored a goal later in the game before proudly tweeting a photo of the shiner. That's grit we like.
If you're ever feeling down, just search YouTube for Rapinoe's goals and subsequent celebrations. The pure exuberance in her play is joyous to behold. And she has chops: The rising star set up one of the most remarkable American goals ever in the waning moments of the World Cup quarter-final game against Brazil in 2011. The U.S. was down 2-1 when Rapinoe's pass somehow found Wambach's head, then the inside of the net. (The U.S. eventually won on penalties.) Rapinoe is an explosive talent, and she'd grab local attention.