December 12th, 2011

cristiano / nike bw

U.S. Soccer renews WPS' D1 status + What's Next?

Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) appears to have won a big reprieve from extinction.

U.S. Soccer's board of directors agreed Monday evening to continue its sanction of the WPS with Division 1 status, its highest for a professional league, despite it only having five teams for 2012. Finalization of the decision hinges on WPS owners agreeing to certain disclosed terms stipulated by U.S. Soccer.

"After a positive discussion, the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors approved a plan to sanction WPS as a Division 1 professional league in 2012, subject to certain conditions," said U.S. Soccer, through spokesperson Neil Buethe, in a written statement Monday. "Once the Board receives confirmation from WPS that all five teams agree to those conditions, U.S. Soccer will issue a formal announcement."

A WPS spokesperson said the league would not comment Monday night, and team officials did not immediately return requests for comment. Division 1 status is important for the WPS, as it will allow the league to continue attracting top professional international players, such as Brazil's Marta, and members of the U.S. national team such as Abby Wambach. The WPS is expected to act quickly in wake of U.S. Soccer's decision and help make it final.

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What's Next For the WPS?

U.S. Soccer's decision on Monday evening to give conditional sanctioning to the WPS as a Division 1 league for 2012 is an important thing for the league, but it brings up as many questions as it answers. Here are some of the lingering questions and issues the WPS will need to work through in the coming months, and a few answers:

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source 1 - source 2