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Women’s Professional Soccer Announces Post-Season Format for 2009 WPS Inaugural Season

Posted by iamhannah on January 29, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO (January 29, 2009) – Women’s Professional Soccer formally announced its 2009 Post-Season format and dates today, which was approved by the Board of Governors at the NSCAA Convention on January 15, and will be covered in 80 million homes nationally on Fox Sports Net’s owned and affiliated regional sports networks.

The seven-team league will feature four teams that make the playoffs with a unique format that heavily rewards the team which finishes atop the 2009 WPS Regular Season table. The top team during the regular season will become WPS Regular Season Champion and earn an automatic place as host of the WPS Final, the league’s championship game.

In the First Round of the playoffs, the No. 4 team in the regular season will face the No. 3 team at No. 3’s stadium on August 15. The second place team in the regular season will receive a bye into the Super Semifinal and host the winner of the First Round on August 18/19. The winner of the Super Semifinal will then travel to the top-seeded team for WPS Final on August 22. The benefits of this system are many:

·         By generously rewarding the top team in the regular season with a home championship game, WPS stays true to soccer’s European roots in which the team that wins the regular season is rewarded for its performance over the course of the year.

·         With the WPS Regular Season Champion advancing to WPS Final, the league is assured of a home team atmosphere and several weeks of planning and ticket sales for the championship game, as opposed to only one week if the No. 1 team played in a semifinal.

·         By receiving a first round bye as the No. 2 team and hosting a game as the No. 3 team, each of the other playoff teams are uniquely rewarded for their performance in the regular season.

·         The format is skewed heavily towards regular season performance. To become WPS Champion means a No. 1 team that played well in the regular season and then won theWPS Final, or a team that overcame the odds to win several elimination playoff games.

·         The format provides an added storyline towards the end of the regular season as teams chase the regular season title and the opportunity to advance to the championship game as hosts. The format also guarantees three consecutive must-see WPS games for television viewers with a “win-or-go-home” theme.

Precedence for this format exists in both soccer and the American sports landscape. The NFL offers byes to its top teams in the opening round of the playoffs, while the UEFA Champions League includes a “Qualifying Round” for teams that finished lower in the table and need to play an extra round.           

“We looked at a lot of different options,” said WPS Commissions Tonya Antonucci. “With an eye towards expansion, we believed that four teams in the playoffs was a good precedent to set. We also felt that rewarding the teams for their placings in the regular season table gave a nod to soccer heritage while also upholding the American playoff tradition with elimination games. I’m looking forward to all the great storylines that will come from the 2009 WPS Inaugural Season and Playoffs.”

Unique league trophies to recognize the teams that win the regular season and WPS Final will be unveiled at the start of the season. The regular season schedule will be announced next week.

Courtesy of: WPS

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