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Real Salt Lake to launch pro women’s team in NWSL in 2018 season

November 20 – The National Women’s Soccer League in the US have announced that MLS club Real Salt Lake will launch a new women’s team in the NWSL for the 2018 season.

The NWSL, having just completed its fifth season, will remain a 10-team league despite talk of expansion.

FC Kansas City, who were acquired in January of this year by Elam Baer, founder and CEO of North Central Equity in Minneapolis, have struggled this season and are expected to disband with reports that their players will move to Real Salt Lake (RSL).

The FC Kansas City coach Vlatko Andonovski has already left for the Seattle Reign. Rumours are that Laura Harvey, who ended her five-year stint as head coach of the Seattle Reign in early November, will move to Utah.

The RSL women’s team will play home matches to be played at Rio Tinto Stadium. “We are very excited to welcome Dell Loy Hansen and Real Salt Lake into the NWSL family as the newest member of our league,” NWSL Managing Director of Operations Amanda Duffy said.

“During our discussions in this process, Real Salt Lake has demonstrated their unquestionable desire and commitment to bring the highest level of professional women’s soccer to all fans of the game in Salt Lake City and Utah. Real Salt Lake will immediately be able to hit the ground running on the business side as well as provide the players with a top-notch training ground and one of the best game venues in the country.”

RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen said in a club statement: “Our goal is build the very best women’s sports organisation in America. Only 15 days ago was I asked to look into this opportunity, and as we learned about the NWSL vision from the league office and met with A&E executives as well as US Soccer about their aspirations on and off the field, we knew we not only wanted to join as quickly as possible.”

Barcelona has previously stated they would like to own an NWSL team with an expansion team, potentially in Los Angeles, to launch in 2018. However, with the NWSL saying it will be at 18 teams for 2018, that expansion looks unlikely.

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