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U.S. Soccer moving forward with plans for new women’s league

Olympics Day 13 - Women's Football Final - Match 26 - USA v Japan

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09: Mana Iwabuchi of Japan competes against Christie Rampone of USA during the Women’s Football gold medal match between the United States and Japan on Day 13 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium on August 9, 2012 in London, England. at Wembley Stadium on August 9, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Remember that ill-timed announcement about a new women’s professional league? You know, the league that tried to make its mark on the day the U.S. women played for gold against Japan? No wonder you don’t remember, and there’s no need to. It looks like that league’s not going to happen.

Instead, U.S. Soccer is spearheading a movement to get a new professional league up and running by Spring 2013, trying to make sure the likes of Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach and Hope Solo have an option close to home.

Jeff Kassouf has the details at Equalizer Soccer (disclosure: Jeff also works for NBC).

Among the need-to-knows:

  • Ten markets are in the picture.
  • Eleven teams have expressed some interest.
  • Each of the left (west), right (east), and middle parts of the country have at least two teams among the 11.
  • "[S]elect MLS team investors” are interested.
  • The U.S. Women’s National Team are going to get more into the loop during the Germany friendlies (Oct. 20 and Oct. 23).
  • The United Soccer Leagues will be involved, providing organizational support (assumedly under U.S. Soccer guidance).

How far along are they, right now? From Kassouf’s post:

Where we are right now is talking with them as well as starting a process of vetting those potential investors on financial and other financial, operational, organizational management guidelines,” Gulati said.

Translation: U.S. Soccer, in the broad sense, knows what they would like to do. Now they’re talking to people, trying to get people to sign on; or, more importantly, trying to see what it will take to get people to sign on. Some teams - like the Chicago, New Jersey, Boston trio Kassouf mentions - are ready to go. Others will need to see the fine print.

From everything I’m hearing, professional women’s soccer this spring is more likely than not. You may not hear anybody say that (and certainly nobody’s going to commit), but there are too many people dedicated to getting this going for it to fall flat anytime soon.

Over the coming months, the movement could die out, but women’s soccer fans have reason to be optimistic. And that’s not something you get to say that often as it concerns women’s professional soccer.