May 15 – Spain’s FC Barcelona will launch a team in the US National Women’s Soccer League for the 2018 season. The club, which is targeting brand growth in the US, says the team will strengthen its women’s programme.
Barcelona is in the process of opening an office in New York and it is understood the team will be run from that base.
Barcelona’s board of directors approved the plan to join the 10-team NWSL which said in a statement it was pleased to hear of their decision to approve “a development plan for women’s soccer in the United States and we look forward to continuing discussions with the club regarding expansion into the NWSL.”
Barcelona already has a number of youth academies in the US, but will be the first European club side to launch a professional team in the NWSL. Of the 10 teams in the league, six are independent (not associated with MLS or NASL teams).
In Europe Barcelona’s women’s team has been progressing, reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League where they lost to France’s Paris St Germain but not before setting a record home attendance of 10,352.
“In the United States, soccer is booming, both men’s and women’s,” said Barcelona spokesperson Josep Vives. “The U.S. women’s team is one of the most powerful in the world. It’s a good place for the Barca brand to grow.”
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