Save the WPS: An interview with McCall Zerboni
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • December 03, 2011 @ 12:50am
After speaking with Western New York forward Christine Sinclair yesterday, we turned to her teammate, McCall Zerboni, for a slightly different perspective on the future of Women’s Professional Soccer. Unlike Sinclair, Zerboni has yet to establish herself at the international level, meaning that she doesn’t necessarily have the name value of a Sinclair, Marta or Seger. If the WPS folds, would her promising career be derailed?
While some fans eagerly encourage U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Pia Sundhage to recall her to a training camp, Zerboni’s first year in WPS allowed her to shine—the UCLA alum excelled when the Flash’s stars were away on international duty, then demonstrated plenty of versatility and composure on the ball for Aaran Lines in propelling the Flash to a fairytale season.
Buffalo.com: What has the value of Women’s Professional Soccer been for you as an aspiring U.S. international?
McCall Zerboni: “For me, the WPS is just the type of stage where a) I can improve and b) prove myself. The more games we play, the better we’re getting and the more we’re seen by Pia, the national team coach, and I think the strength in our national team would be to constantly challenge the positions of the existing U.S. team players and constantly sharpen each other with new faces and new talent constantly cycling in and out of the program. [The WPS] is a breeding ground of great players.”
Buffalo.com: Were you surprised that the U.S. Soccer is standing so firmly behind a bylaw?
Zerboni: “It’s a little bit disappointing because you want everyone to acquiesce to the power that the WPS can have on the national team and recognize the WPS’ importance. You’d want them to do whatever it takes, and if that means bending a rule a little bit or changing our initial thought of progress, I think everyone should be willing to gut it out and be willing to make the sacrifices because we certainly are, especially the middle-of-the-pack to lower-pack players of the WPS who aren’t necessarily on the national team—we’re making a lot of sacrifices, not just financially, but also with our time and our commitment.”
Buffalo.com: Have you thought about what you’d do if WPS folded? Have you thought about going overseas?
Zerboni: “I’m trying to put all my marbles and all my eggs in this basket, and doing everything I can with what’s in front of me presently right now. I don’t necessarily want to think too much about the future, but at the same time I need to prepare myself that something might happen. Mentally, [if I was] to give myself other options, I won’t put 110% into making this WPS thing work. I think that’s what a lot of other people need to take on as well—if they think they have something to fall back on, they might not put all their efforts into making this work. If people can recognize the importance of the WPS and domestic ball specifically, then there’s no way it’s going down.”
Buffalo.com: On Twitter (@McCall2), you’ve been one of the more vocal WPS players in looking for support and pushing for awareness. You even tweeted at [Manchester United’s] Rio Ferdinand!
Zerboni: “I’m willing to do anything—I love my job and I love what I do. It gives me an opportunity to be a leader and a role model, to set an example and inspire people, and that’s what I love to do. Without my job, it’s hard for me to do that on a broader scale.”
Sign the petition to show your support for the WPS and the Western New York Flash. A decision about the future of the league may be made on Monday, but it’s possible that U.S. Soccer’s Board of Directors’ vote will be delayed by a few days.