Discussion of USA Semi Professional League
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Postby polohio » Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:02 pm

People often compare the water polo programs of USA and Australia, so I wonder why the league structure is so different. This season, they have a major sponsor in OVO, who provides live streaming of at least one men's and women's game per week. They have eleven clubs competing in 11 rounds over the course of two months before they have their championship. A quick delve into all of the clubs' websites shows that they have trainings in the morning and evenings (perhaps to allow people to have jobs?) and they run fundraisers both as a a club and each players is tasked with getting a "cap sponsor" to help contribute to the costs of competing. Many teams have a few imports, with a handful of Americans down under. After watching a few of the live streams, I've noticed that they do 10 minute halftime breaks during which they have younger kids hop in and scrimmage while the broadcasters quickly interview the coaches. I'm not privy to all the intricacies of Water Polo Australia and their OVOAWL, but it seems like they have figured out how to run a successful semi-professional national water polo league.

With the USAWP NL now in the midst of its fourth season, it doesn't seem like there's been much effort in growing the league into a truly national structure. Perhaps their intention was never to make it national, but it's now a shorter "season," has no live streaming, and has lost two club teams during its tenure, Repubblica and International. And we have colleges competing in the NL, with Cal joining this season.

What can be done to grow the league into a full-fledged national league? Creating divisions in other regions of the US and enabling the champion to compete at the USAWPNL championship tournament? Perhaps entering an all-star team from regions outside of California, similar to the ODP championships? There has been an East Coast National League tryout listed on the USAWP events page the last few years, but it was never openly advertised and there's only been a handful of East Coast players in the NL according to the rosters.

I know money is always an issue but maybe a fundraising campaign or clubs paying an entry fee could be a temporary solution.

Perhaps I'm wrong to compare the two leagues, but I had never seen them compared. I think USAWP is putting forth admirable effort in growing the sport for the young kids with splashball and other initiatives, but higher level opportunities after college seem to be few and far between.

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