This is straight from The Equalizer, all this was Jeff's, but I felt it important to ship over here as well! Exciting news, with a note at the bottom:
"Given WPS' offseason struggles, many have wondered aloud what a women's league run by Major League Soccer would look like. The idea, some say, could be one that brings stability to professional women's soccer in the United States. Frankly, Major League Soccer getting heavily involved in WPS is a pipe dream, but there is a new league - Women's Major League Soccer - that at least provides the namesake.
WMLS will kick off in 2011 as a regional women's soccer league with a completely different approach to the league model. The USL W-League and Women's Premier Soccer League are well established as second division leagues and WMLS does not aim to challenge that. Not yet, at least.
Unlike the W-League and WPSL, Women's Major League Soccer teams will not pay franchise fees or make any payments to the league. Instead, they will be rewarded with sponsorship money based on their finish in the table. Thus far there is about $50,000 in sponsorship money (half of which will be shared among teams), according to Shek Borkowski, the man behind WMLS and the head coach of FC Indiana, a founding team. It's a revolutionary concept for women's teams used to paying league fees on top of operational losses, some of which did so in the aforementioned established leagues.
WMLS will be regionally based out of the Midwest, which suddenly has a void that needs to be filled. W-League division restructuring - which is rumored to include a heavily expanded Western Conference - resulted in the Midwest Division dissolving for 2011. So, teams like the Cleveland Internationals, who formerly were part of the W-League, will take part in the inaugural season of WMLS in 2011. As of now, eight teams will participate in the inaugural campaign: Chicago Breeze, Cleveland Internationals, FC Indiana, Fort Wayne SC, Alliance FC, Louisville, Springfield Demize and South Bend WFC. The league could feature up to 14 teams in 2012.
Many teams will focus on bringing in local talent, while FC Indiana in particular is looking to attract international players.
WMLS will also differ from other American leagues in that it will feature an international model of scheduling. Each team will play one game per week for a total of 10-12 games and there will not be any playoffs. The winner at the end of the regular season - expected to run May 15 through July 31 - will be declared league champion. FIFA substitution rules will also be followed, so unlike the W-League and WPSL, there will not be unlimited substitutions.
In 2011, WMLS will very much be a test-run strictly in the Midwest. But should the model prove successful, WMLS could expand to greater heights in the future."
Now the question is this: Years ago there was the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the American Basketball Association (ABA), eventually in the '70's they merged to form the NBA that the world currently knows. The same took place with the National Football League. WMLS is NOT aimed to be like the W-League or the USL as a 'mid-major' program, but as a serious, major league, do not be surprised if one struggles, WMLS or the WPS, that they won't merge with the other!
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