USL expands again with launch of second tier pro-women’s league

September 22 – The United Soccer League has announced the launch of a professional women’s league that will operate as the second tier of women’s club soccer in the US.

The USL Super League will launch in 2023 with the USL saying it expects to double the number of professional women’s teams in the US. The NWSL, the top tier of women’s club football in the US, currently has 13 teams scheduled to play in 2022.

Announcing “an exciting new chapter in the growth of Women’s Soccer in the United States,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said: “We aim to make the USL Super League globally recognized and admired for its community-building, operational excellence, financial sustainability, and high level of competition. With these objectives in mind, we deepen our commitment to equitable treatment of our men’s and women’s pathways, and to create career opportunities for women to play professional soccer, women coaches, women technical directors, and women soccer executives.”

The USL is already strongly embedded in the women’s game in the US offering a pathway for female players via the USL’s Super Y League for youth players, the USL Academy platform fro those seeking a college scholarship, and the women’s pre-professional USL W League which kicks off next year with 16 teams already registered.

The USL emphasised its commitment to gender equity, saying it will have “consistent compensation and professional standards to those of USL men’s professional leagues”.The USL Super League said it will apply to the US Soccer Federation for official Division II sanctioning in the coming months.

“In our country, there are seven times as many professional soccer teams for men than there are for women,” said Betsy Haugh, USL Director of Women’s Soccer Operations. “We are going to improve that ratio, and we invite players and fans to join us in building a new, outstanding level of women’s soccer.”

The USL Super League will have the advantage of the USL’s rapidly expanded media operations, commercial and strategic partnerships, and its existing national footprint, with clubs in more than 120 communities across the country.

A key pillar on which the USL Super League will be built is the ability to play games in good stadiums. “USL Championship and League One clubs play in 26 soccer-specific venues across North America, with another 25-30 expected in the next five years,” said the USL. Expect to see the early announced teams in those cities that can guarantee high quality venues.

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