New USL Super League seeks to grow women’s professional soccer in the US

A new women’s professional soccer league that has received top division sanctioning from U.S. Soccer seeks to give more players careers at the elite level and give fans greater access to the women’s game.

The USL Super League will kick off in August in eight U.S. cities. It will join the National Women’s Soccer League at the top tier of the sport.

Super League President Amanda Vandervort said Tuesday that the focus will be on the experience for both the fans and the players.

“I want the fan experience to be unbelievable and I think it takes not only quantitative metrics, but also qualitative: Do the fans feel like they belong? Is the experience amazing in our stadiums and they can’t wait to come back and bring a friend with him the next time?” Vandervort said. “So focusing on what that experience is like, but then also for the players, we want to make sure that the players feel supported, that they’re in an environment where they can perform consistently at the elite level and that they’re getting better every time they step on the pitch.”

The eight host locations are: Spokane, Washington; Charlotte, North Carolina; Brooklyn; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; the Dallas/Fort Worth area; Washington, D.C.; Lexington, Kentucky, and Tampa Bay, Florida. Plans are in the works to add more teams in the future.

The two professional leagues aren’t likely to be in direct competition because the NWSL is embarking on its 11th season and already is well-established. The leagues will also play different schedules.

The Super League will follow the international calendar with an August to June schedule and will take an extended winter break and the summer off for big tournaments like the Olympics and Women’s World Cup. The NWSL plays from spring into fall.

The leagues also play in different markets, with the exception of the Super League team in D.C. area, which is already home to the NWSL’s Washington Spirit.

The Super League has already laid a foundation with the amateur W League, which launched last year and provides competitive games for players largely from the college level, and the USL’s girls academy

The Super League was originally seeking second—tier status when it was announced in 2021, but last year decided to apply for the top division, which U.S. Soccer approved Friday at its annual general meeting.

The match schedule is expected to be announced later, along with commercial partners and media rights.

The NWSL, whose 14 teams feature star players from the U.S. and abroad, has become the most successful women’s pro soccer league in the United States since it launched in 2013.

“As we have seen from our record attendance, viewership, sponsorship revenue and expansion fees, the NWSL is growing at an exceptional pace, and we’re excited about our future,” the NWSL said in a statement. “As the most competitive women’s league in the world, there are limited roster spots available in the NWSL. More opportunities to compete professionally is a good thing and we’re interested to see how a new league might contribute to the continued growth of our game.”


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