Boston will have a team in the new eight-team women's professional soccer league that was announced Wednesday. The league, set to begin play in the spring, will feature national team players from the United States, Canada and Mexico, with those countries' federations paying the salaries.
The U.S. has agreed to fund up to 24 players -- three per team. Canada will pay the salaries of 16 players, and Mexico will pay 12.
"We are trying to find an economical model that is sustainable," said U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, whose office will cover the administrative costs of the league. "If we see the federations as the government, we are subsidizing the private sector here to try to make this sustainable and the investments by the private sector smaller."
The Boston Breakers are one of four teams from the now-defunct Women's Professional Soccer league who are joining the new league. They'll be joined by the Western New York Flash, Sky Blue FC (based in New Jersey) and the Chicago Red Stars. There also will be franchises in Washington, Kansas City, Seattle and Portland, Ore. The Portland team will be owned by the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer. No other teams will be owned by their MLS counterparts.
The last two women's professional leagues in the United States last just three seasons. Women's Professional Soccer stopped operations in January, and the Women's United Soccer Association folded in 2003. The Boston Breakers were in both of those leagues, and they continued operations following the demise of WPS by playing in the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) Elite this year.
"We won't start off with the sort of deficits that we started the last two leagues with," said Breakers managing partner Michael Stoller.
Gulati said the new league will keep costs down by playing in smaller stadiums, doing less marketing and possibly signing fewer elite international stars. The Breakers will continue to pay at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville.
"What we need is a sustainable mode: less hype, better performance," Gulati said. "The hype will come if we have the performance."
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