The Full 90

Can a U.S. women's soccer league ever thrive?

We haven't written a lot about the Women's Pro Soccer league. Probably because KC doesn't have a team (even though

the possibility for a franchise has been explored

in the past).

Today, there's

news that two WPS might fold

, including the recent champions, FC Gold Pride. The other team folding would be the Washington Freedom. It would be the third and fourth team to have folded this year. The Los Angeles Sol folded in January and St. Louis Athletica went under in May. (The remaining teams: Atlanta Beat, Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, Philadelphia Independence and Sky Blue FC. A franchise in Western New York will be begin play in 2011 if the league can make it that long.)

The U.S. women's national team has been productive and entertaining for the last decade and a half. They've also been a source of pride for U.S. soccer fans and role models for young girls who play the sport across the country.

But that has never translated to professional success. Attendance has never been strong; TV ratings have been even worse. With teams dropping like flies, the future of the league is in serious jeopardy.*

*If those two fold, all the players will become free agents, including four-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta. Could you imagine if the Los Angeles Lakers folded and Kobe Bryant became a free agent? Yeah, me neither.

I've watched a few WPS games on Fox Soccer Channel. The quality of soccer isn't fantastic -- but you could say that about Major League Soccer too. A big turnoff though, is the atmosphere around the games.*

*Possibly a malady that MLS suffers from as well?

So, why can't a women's pro soccer league catch on? Will one ever? Is it the game? Lack of interest? A subconscious misogyny amongst sports fans? Does the MLS need to intercede?* Can the MLS intercede?

*The success of the WNBA is almost completely reliant on the NBA's support.
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