Atlantic Beach, Fl – On an American soccer weekend dominated by the appearance of five of the seven candidates for the position of U.S. Soccer President at the Candidates Forum hosted by GotSoccer at the company’s 10th Annual Winter Convention, NWSL Managing Director Amanda Duffy addressed the attendees on the state of the premier women’s league in the United States.
A realist, Duffy described the league as still being in “its infancy.” This, despite NWSL’s status as the longest lasting professional league in U.S. history, its five years having bested the three clocked by both the WUSA and the WPS.
Perhaps it is her background as a player for the Carolina Courage in the WUSA that keeps Duffy grounded but in addressing an audience of state presidents, executive directors and administrators Duffy took a positive, if cautious, tone in discussing NWSL.
Duffy was quick to credit the U.S. Soccer and the league’s television deal with A&E with providing stability while touting the strides the league has made through the founding of its own NWSL Media Company.
Duffy pronounced herself “very happy” that Lifetime is televising the NWSL Game of the Week every Saturday at 3:00 clock providing fans with a “fixed window” to find the league while exposing the league to an audience that may not have otherwise been aware of NWSL.
Spreading the word that, hey! NWSL exists, was part of Duffy’s rationale for traveling to Florida for the GotSoccer event. “I’ve found that there are still members and colleagues in the soccer community in the United States that don’t even realize that NWSL exists,” Duffy told GotSoccer.
Only in the job since December, Duffy concludes reasonably enough, that if the soccer community is unaware that her league is out there, “you have to then assume that outside the industry the lack of awareness is that much larger.”
Duffy looked at the chance to address the GotSoccer Winter Convention attendees as an opportunity “to talk to everyone about the league and what its structure is and what some of our challenges are but also,” Duffy stressed, “what some of our focus is, to enable us to move forward, and how can state associations help with the overall growth of the league.”
Duffy spoke just a few hours ahead of the weekend’s main attraction, the Candidates Forum, so I asked if she felt that women’s soccer and NWSL, in particular, were being overlooked in his this process.
”No, not at all,” Duffy replied. “But, I also recognize that NWSL and women’s soccer is as much a part of the game in the United States as is men’s soccer, as is youth soccer, so I think in time there will be and should be conversations about the growth on the women’s side and I certainly think it (those conversations) will in due time.”
At least two of those conversations took place following Duffy’s talk and while Duffy told GotSoccer that prior to those casual conversations she hadn’t spoken to any of the candidates, she is “looking forward to what everyone’s thoughts are, particularly as it relates to the NWSL.”