Another week, another chance to catch up on all the news you may have missed. The focus shifts a bit away from KC soccer, but it always finds a way to weave in.
NWSL Expansion: Boston, San Fran and SLC
There had been talk that NWSL expansion was down to three cities to choose from, but it seems the National Women’s Soccer League simply chose them all. Boston, San Francisco and Salt Lake City will all get teams according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. San Fran and SLC in 2024 with Boston coming later.
The expansion fees have climbed dramatically in this round as well. Boston and San Fran will pay $50 million each while SLC will pay between two and five million based on a prior agreement. Utah is set to bring back the Utah Royals, which were dissolved and turned into the KC Current two seasons ago.
In comparison to MLS, 11 years into their existence, Toronto FC came in for $10 million and 12 years in, the San Jose Earthquakes (re-joined) for $20 million. They didn’t cross the $50 million mark until they shattered with with New York City FC in 2015 ($100m), 19 years into the league. The NWSL is ahead of MLS, even factoring in the time value of money.
In comparison, the San Diego Wave and Angel City FC, the two most recent expansion teams, who just started play in 2022, also had fees between two and five million.
The San Francisco expansion team is partially backed by former USWNT players Brandi Chastain, Aly Wagner, Leslie Osborne and Danielle Slaton. Boston is primarily backed by Jennifer Epstein, founder of Juno Equity and the daughter of Boston Celtics co-owner Robert Epstein. Boston will be returning to the league, as the former Boston Breakers folded following the 2017 season. There is no word on the names/identities of each of these teams.
This is all building towards the NWSL separating themselves from the other women’s leagues in the world. I stick to my theory it’ll be a missed opportunity if the NWSL isn’t the “Premier League” of Women’s soccer.
Busio on the Move Again?
Gianluca Busio is the most expensive sale of a player in Sporting Kansas City history. Because of that, it’s likely we’ll always have an interest in where he ends up. Rumors are now that he could be moving to Pisa, another Italian club in the second division (Serie B).
Pisa sit in 8th place as of this writing and will be looking to fight for promotion back to the top flight. Venezia on the other hand, are 19th and looking to avoid a second straight relegation season that would send them to Serie C. Four teams get relegated in Serie B to C, so they have some climbing to do to avoid a disastrous second fall.
Busio Part II: KC and Charlotte were “really trying to sign him.”
Speaking of Busio, Tom Bogert was co-hosting Extratime and he dropped this little nugget about last summer when Sporting KC and Charlotte FC were linked to Busio in a discussion about the dissolution of the Allocation Order and what talented players were on that list.
“Busio over the summer, Charlotte and Kansas City were both really trying to sign him. Like that wasn’t just kind of smoke. Busio’s from North Carolina, he went to a Charlotte FC game, and I was kind of told at first, ‘oh no, he’s just coming back home to watch a game.’ Then when things got more serious, it’s like alright, part of that was to talk to Charlotte because they were interested.”
This gives more insight to Busio nearly coming back to MLS on loan last season, that we previously covered.
Copa America... Coming to the US
To elaborate on another earlier rumor, the Copa America looks like it’s very likely to come to the US. CONCACAF will be hosting, but the USMNT technically needs to qualify as only the top six teams will go. If the United States can’t finish in the top six, that’s a whole other problem.
CONCACAF officially announces it will host the 2024 Copa America. Six CONCACAF nations will qualify for the tournament via 2023-24 CONCACAF Nations League.— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) January 27, 2023
Top four CONMEBOL women's team will play in Gold Cup.
New club competition between two CONMEBOL and two CONCACAF teams.
In addition, four CONMEBOL women’s teams will play in the Gold Cup and there is some new competition for clubs between CONCACAF and CONMEBOL. It’ll just be four teams, so it’ll be a chance for MLS (and other CONCACAF teams) to potentially play some of the bigger clubs in South America.
That could be cool, but it could also just further crowd the schedule and be mostly useless unless there is some quality prize attached for the winner.
- The Kansas City Current added former Swedish U-19 National Team coach Caroline Sjöblom to the technical staff. Before becoming a coach, she played professionally in her native Finland and also in Sweden, in the same league new signing Mimmi Larsson came from.
- USMNT midfielder Weston McKinnie is very close to a move to Leeds United in the Premier League from Juventus. Major Leeds United in full effect with yet another USMNT player and MLS Academy product potentially joining the lineup.
- Speaking of the US Soccer, it feels like a bit of a mess stemming from the Reyna’s blowing things up. Brian McBride (general manager) and Earnie Stewart (sporting director) are both out of their roles. Stewart went back to PSV Eindhoven and McBride is unemployed I suppose.
- Tom Bogert gets you a bit more updated:
Key takeaways from yesterday's news around the USMNT ...— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) January 27, 2023
- Sporting director will name a head coach. So, sporting director first, then coach
- Anthony Hudson interim until then
- Berhalter "still a candidate"
- No guarantee they hire a new GM, might scrap the role@Extratime pic.twitter.com/eVSfQGx2tw
- Oh, and Reyna resigned from his post with Austin FC. You lose a job, you lose a job, EVERYONE LOSES THEIR JOB!
- Speaking of Tommy Scoops, he’s got FC Cincinnati on the verge of selling Brenner to Nottingham Forrest in the Premier League.
- This is some fun nonsense, but Minnesota United are not Sporting KC’s rival, no matter how bad MLS want this to be a thing.
Happy Opposite Day!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) January 26, 2023
How do you feel about seeing your team's logo in their rival's colors? pic.twitter.com/uQwFV3h5Q2
- Speaking of KC’s fake rival, Minnesota have apparently lost out on South Korean international Cho Gue-sung.
Minnesota United's pursuit of South Korea int'l Cho Gue-sung is off. The club had the biggest transfer offer to Jeonbuk on the table, but Cho won't join.— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) January 30, 2023
Cho was also linked with Celitc, Mainz and others but could stay in South Korea until the summer. https://t.co/ilgu1xvX2m
- And we’ll leave you with this. I think it’s fake, but it’s interesting. In the prior shots of Alan Pulido with his jersey sneaking out, the collar is navy and there is a little button at the top. This has neither. Hopefully we’ll be brining you the real kit reveal for Sporting KC soon enough.