New U.S. professional women's soccer league set to begin in spring 2013

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New U.S. professional women's soccer league set to begin in spring 2013
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New U.S. professional women's soccer league set to begin in spring 2013

Professional women's soccer is returning to the United States in the spring of 2013.

In a conference call Wednesday, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati announced a new eight-team women's league will begin in March or April of 2013. The teams will be in Boston, New Jersey, Western New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Kansas City, Seattle, and Portland.

"U.S. Soccer will essentially run the front office of this league [and] fund the participation of approximately 24 players in the league," Gulati said.

After Women's Professional Soccer officially folded in May of this year, the U.S., Canadian and Mexican federations will fund and run the new league, hoping that a leaner, meaner pro division will prove financially sustainable where previous iterations were not.

The U.S. federation will fund the participation of 24 players, helping to ensure that some of the bigger names in women's soccer will be paid appropriately to participate in the new league. The Canadian federation will fund 16 of its own players, while the Mexican federation is funding a minimum of 12 players.

"From our perspective, the most important thing here is to have a sustainable model," Gulati said.

Gulati said the operating budget of the as-yet unnamed league is "substantially" different than one from the now-defunct WPS. Part of the cost-cutting measures will include playing in smaller facilities than WPS teams did, avoiding high operating costs for match days.

The U.S. Soccer president also confirmed there is a handshake agreement in place with a national sponsor for the league, and there have been preliminary discussions with a television partner.

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