For Courage Players, Success Not About Money
Posted April 30, 2003 11:32 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — In a crowded sports landscape, the WUSA strives with the help of its teams, like the Carolina Courage, to ensure it has a strong future.
There's a big challenge involved in not only starting a sports league, but also keeping it afloat. Courage players recently decided to put their money where their mouths were in an effort to protect the league's future.
It's not often that champions in a professional sport take a pay cut. But that's what Courage players did.
"It was a no-brainer," Danielle Fotopoulos said. "We love soccer, and we want this league to continue. We'll do everything it takes to keep it that way."
In its third year of existence, the WUSA finds itself in financial readjustment. Having exhausted its five-year budget of $40 million after the first year, the league recently accepted an offer from players willing to have their salaries reduced by 25 percent.
"It was the right thing to do," Carla Overbeck said. "Anything we can do to make this league be around for 20, 30 years, that's what we'll do. We're willing to do it, and that's what's best for the game."
Player contracts were also trimmed, from 12 months to nine. Team rosters of 20 were reduced to 18.
Sacrificing the most were the league's founding players, some giving back nearly $25,000 this year.
"It's no longer about money," Courage coach Jay Entlich said. "It's about playing for your dreams."
Said Marcia McDermott, the team's assistant general manager: "The players on this team are role models. They get it.
"They're grateful to be competing as pros. They're strong participants in the success of the future of the WUSA."
It's a future that's continuing because of what's being done now.