'We want to be competitive in the international marketplace' - USL announces plans for a women's professional league to rival the NWSL
- USL will now apply for Division I sanctioning
- Plans to add another pro first division to the U.S.
- Would coexist with, and thus rival, the NWSL
WHAT HAPPENED? The USL had previously stated its intentions to apply for Division II sanctioning for the USL Super League and launch in 2023. However, an announcement on Tuesday revealed that this has now changed, with it now set to apply for Division I and also delay its start until August 2024. It plans to launch with 10 to 12 teams.
This is a different league: The USL Super League.— USL Super League (@USLSuperLeague) May 16, 2023
Bringing professional women's soccer closer to home for more players, fans, and communities. #ReadyForMore pic.twitter.com/uBZXUr3dX1
THE BIGGER PICTURE: This would create two professional first division leagues in women's soccer in the U.S., alongside the already established NWSL. The USL Super League will not have a draft system, though, and will differ in its season dates, set to mimic the traditional European structure of a fall-to-summer schedule.
AND WHAT'S MORE: The USL Super League already has eight initial markets announced for the 2024-25 season: in Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; Lexington, Kentucky; Phoenix, Arizona; Spokane, Washington; Tampa Bay, Florida; Tucson, Arizona; and Washington, D.C.
There are five further markets anticipated to join in future seasons: in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Indianapolis, Indiana; Jacksonvilla, Florida; Madison, Wisconsin; and Oakland, California.
WHAT THEY SAID: “There’s so much opportunity in this country,” USL Super League president Amanda Vandervort told the Athletic. “Ultimately I believe we’re filling an opportunity gap, and it’s our responsibility to do it at the highest standard. We want to be competitive in the international marketplace, in the American marketplace."
WHAT NEXT? The USL Super League will now follow U.S. Soccer’s sanctioning process and continue work on its plans to get everything up and running for August 2024.