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Women's United Soccer Association

From Academic Kids

The Women's United Soccer Association formed in 2001 as a soccer league for women in the United States. A successor to/competitor with the W-League, the WUSA differs from the former in that it consists purely of professional players. As a result of the US Women's National Team's (USWNT) first place showing in the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup, a seemingly viable market for the sport germinated. Feeding off of the momentum of their victory, the 20 USWNT players sought out the investors, markets, and players necessary to form the 8 team league. The WUSA played for three full seasons, however its operations suspended in September 2003, immediately preceding the 2003 Women's World Cup.

The 20 founding players are: Michelle Akers, Brandi Chastain, Tracy Ducar, Lorrie Fair, Joy Fawcett, Danielle Fotopoulos, Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Shannon MacMillan, Tiffeny Milbrett, Carla Overbeck, Cindy Parlow, Christie Pearce, Tiffany Roberts, Briana Scurry, Kate Sobrero, Tisha Venturini, Saskia Webber, and Sara Whalen.

Teams competed for the Founder's Cup, the WUSA's equivalent of the Super Bowl trophy. Each roster primarily consisted of players from the United States, although up to four international players were allowed on each team's roster. Among the international players were stars of powerhouse teams such as China's Sun Wen and Bai Jie, Germany's Birgit Prinz and Maren Meinert, Norway's Hege Riise and Dagny Mellgren, Brazil's Katia and Pretinha, and Canada's Charmaine Hooper and Christine Latham. The league also hosted singular talents from nations which were not at the forefront of women's soccer, such as Maribel Dominguez of Mexico, Julie Fleeting of Scotland, Cheryl Salisbury of Australia, and Kelly Smith of England.

The WUSA was set up such that each founding player held an equity stake in the league. There is much conjecture suggesting that the unique business form of the WUSA is what in large measure led to its suspension of operations on 15 September, 2003.

Attempts to revive the league are ongoing, and all rights to team nicknames, logos, and similar propeties have been preserved. On June 19, 2004, the New York Power and the Atlanta Beat played to a 2-2 draw in Blaine, Minnesota; on the same day the Washington Freedom and the Boston Breakers played to a 3-3 draw. The downside to this is that the former game drew just over 2,000 fans, the latter just over 5,000. A doubleheader played in Carson, California on June 28, 2004 involving the other four teams drew over 7,000, and efforts to line up new sources of capital and operating funds continue as well. Whether the WUSA will be able to resume operations as an ongoing enterprise is at this point an open question. The success of the U.S. National Women's Team in the 2004 Olympics has revived hopes that the league may be restarted in 2006, although the retirement of Mia Hamm from competitive soccer removes what was WUSA's top draw.

With the WUSA on hiatus, the W-League has regained some of the players it had formerly lost to the WUSA.

2001-2003 teams

Past Founders Cup champions

External link

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