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Tuesday, December 16, 2008
ESPNsoccernet: March 26, 7:02 PM UK
Women's Professional Soccer announces home openers

The Women's Professional Soccer league took the next step toward its inaugural season Tuesday when it announced the home openers for all seven teams.

The economic downturn forced the Arena Football League to cancel its 2009 season a day earlier, but WPS commissioner Tonya Antonucci said her league remains on track to make its debut.

The WPS has yet to complete its contract with the U.S. national team players association, something Antonucci had been hopeful to have done months ago.

"I think we really are down to the final, final issues here," she said.

Antonucci would like to reach a deal by the end of the year before the league starts announcing the signings of international players.

The WPS recently signed Puma as a major sponsor. Other potential sponsors have pushed back their decisions because of the economy until February or March.

Seeking to learn from the lessons of the failed Women's United Soccer Association, the WPS has tried to be more fiscally conservative than its predecessor was. Antonucci believes that will allow the league to weather the tough economy.

"The business model is built on pretty modest expectations in the early years," she said. "Our costs are in line with those modest expectations. You could say in financial terms it's already priced in."

All seven teams still plan to play when the league launches this spring, Antonucci said. Several clubs are meeting ticket sales goals, she said, and owners understand that the league's growth will take time.

The first game matches the Los Angeles Sol against the Washington Freedom in Carson, Calif., on March 29.

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