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Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni on NWSL’s Ability to Compete for Top Players

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The Orlando Pride head coach talked after the NWSL Draft likes the idea of an MLS-style DP rule for the NWSL.

Matt Starkey

LOS ANGELES — After the NWSL Draft was complete on Thursday, Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni addressed the media on a myriad of topics, ranging from the draft itself, to the status of the league and it’s competitive edge.

Yesterday, we covered Sermanni’s thought’s on the draft as well as his thoughts on building the Pride team for 2017.

With the question of Alex Morgan currently looming over the Pride, Sermanni was asked about if he felt the NWSL was more competitive than women’s teams in Europe or Asia.

“I think without a doubt that (NWSL) is the most competitive league in the world,” Sermanni said. “If you look at Lyon last year, they had a goal difference of 150 for and four against. I wouldn’t mind coaching them! But we are definitely the most competitive league by a long way, but it’s getting that balance right.

“We need to look at strategies now, to make sure we can compete with those European clubs or those Asian clubs to get the best players in the world here and we’ve got to do that without breaking the bank or without the league going bankrupt. So, that’s some of the things that are our next challenges and they’re always challenges.”

Talking about the “high price” on some players that are going overseas, Sermanni touched on his experience trying to sign a player from overseas to come to America and play for the Pride in Orlando. It didn’t go well.

“We approached a Brazilian player a couple of months ago and now she’s earning six figures in Asia, and they just blow you out the water,” he said. “It’s the same in Europe. The better European clubs or even clubs that play in the Champions League are able to come in and offer players money that we can’t compete with.”

One way that Sermanni recommended the NWSL combat the lure from European and Asian clubs is to introduce the Designated Player rule that MLS is known for, into America’s top flight for women.

“That would be a good place to start and I think it would be handy, as long as it doesn’t change the equality within the league too much,” he said. “But I think, in reality, it’s probably something we need to look at.”