A new league will be kicking off in August 2024 with 10 to 12 teams that will play at the same level as the National Women’s Soccer League, the top tier of women's soccer in the United States.
The USL Super League announced Tuesday that it will apply with U.S. Soccer for sanctioning at the top level. The Super League had originally been seeking second-division status.
"Our aim is to significantly expand opportunities in women’s soccer through strategic growth, build a pathway that connects talent with opportunity, and engage communities by celebrating a universal passion for the game expressed through local culture," Super League President Amanda Vandervort said in a statement.
The league announced eight planned franchises and ownership groups Tuesday. The host cities include: Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas/Fort Worth; Lexington, Kentucky; Phoenix; Spokane, Washington; Tampa Bay, Florida; Tucson, Arizona, and Washington, D.C. The additional franchises will be announced at a later date.
The Super League also has plans for five more franchises, pending stadium agreements, that won't be part of the original group. Those would be in Oakland, California; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Indianapolis; Jacksonville, Florida, and Madison, Wisconsin.
The new league said it hopes to close the “opportunity gap” between men’s and women’s professional soccer in the United States. There are more than 100 men’s pro teams in contrast to 12 women’s teams.
Unlike the NWSL, which plays a spring to fall schedule, the Super League will follow the international calendar, playing from the fall to the summer.
“We welcome more opportunities for women to play professional soccer in the United States,” the NWSL said in a statement Tuesday.
The NWSL, whose teams feature star players from the U.S. and abroad, has been the most successful pro women's soccer league in the United States.
The NWSL has 12 teams and will add franchises next year in Utah and the San Francisco Bay Area. NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman said recently that she expects to add two additional expansion teams to start in 2026, brining the league to 16 teams.
The NWSL already has a team in Washington D.C., the Washington Spirit. The USL team in that city will be affiliated with Major League Soccer's D.C. United.
AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports