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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: SeaWolves, Orlando Pride, and Money Problems

Tom Traxler is back, the NWSL still has no commissioner (which is good for Orlando) and can’t keep its talent pool in the U.S.

Lifetime National Women’s Soccer League Press Conference Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Lifetime

The MLS SuperDraft was held today, but the NWSL College Draft is just around the corner. We will get to that a little bit later, but with all the coverage surrounding the Pride on Wednesday, I wanted to make sure we didn’t miss some other topics. Let’s dig into the stuff that caught my attention recently.

The Good

Tom Traxler is back! The once and once again coach of the Orlando SeaWolves has returned in the team’s time of greatest need. Traxler was the first coach of the SeaWolves and took the team to a 9-15 record in their inaugural season. As we found out on The Mane Land PawedCast, Traxler was intending to stay on as coach, but felt he should have a greater say in which players would be on the team. Former CEO and majority owner Chris Kokalis felt differently and took over as coach to start this season. That plan didn’t go so well, and Kokalis stepped away from the team entirely. Fortunately, other investors have stepped in, and they managed to get Traxler back coaching the players on the floor (as he calls it). There are still numerous challenges with many of the players having left, immigration issues for the MASL in general, and building up the community involvement in the club. Regardless, Traxler’s return will help right a sinking ship, and maybe even get it pointed in the right direction again.

The Bad

What was good for the Orlando Pride is not as good for the NWSL. Orlando City SC named Amanda Duffy the executive vice president for the Pride. Duffy was previously the NWSL president. She might have expected to become the new NWSL commissioner, especially since there hasn’t been one for years, but evidently someone let her know it wasn’t going to happen, and as such she took the position with the Pride. The NWSL still needs a commissioner. It has for years, but yet here we are. Duffy will be a great addition to the Pride front office, but her loss to the greater NWSL community is bad.

The Ugly

The NWSL is set up to reward American players. U.S. Soccer pays the salaries of USWNT players for the clubs. This is not an inherent evil but, when paired with low team salary caps, there is limited available money to adequately compensate some of the international talent available to play for the league. Yes, many of the best Americans play in the NWSL, but even Alex Morgan went and supplemented her considerable income when she went to Lyon (although she said at the time she primarily wanted to play with the world’s best players). The perfect example of how it hurts the league is Deyna Castellanos signing with Atlético Madrid after she finished her career at Florida State University. I live in Tallahassee and I can tell you firsthand how impressive a player she is. Unfortunately, we won’t get to see her on the Orlando Pride or even in the NWSL. Other leagues are able to negotiate better salaries, and that is something the NWSL will need to work on eventually. To be clear, the NWSL needed the current setup to survive, but the day may be coming that requires a different approach.


As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.