Organizers of first US women’s professional rugby league hope to launch inaugural season in 2025

The first women’s professional rugby league in the United States is targeting 2025 for its start with six to eight 30-player teams, organizers said Wednesday.

Women’s Elite Rugby said in a news release its plans call for private investors to provide funding for salaries and full-time front office staff. Locations for teams have not been determined.

The WER president is Jessica Hammond-Graf, an assistant professor in the Vermont State University Sport Management & Athletic Leadership programs and a former international rugby player and college athletic administrator.

WER said it expects to build off the success of the amateur Women’s Premier League. Hammond-Graf said WPL’s pay-to-play, cross-country model is not sustainable. WER is inviting WPL teams to join the startup for the inaugural season.

“The mission of the WER is to be the defining standard of rugby in the United States,” Hammond-Graf said. “We are so proud of everything the WPL has done since 2009 to become such a strong blueprint for us, and we’re ready to take our bold, exciting, and empowering sport to the next level.”


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