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USL Super League to launch August 2023 with fall-to-summer calendar

The second-division USL Super League will officially launch following the 2023 Women’s World Cup and, uniquely, will follow an August-to-June competition schedule to align with other international leagues. It will be the first women’s professional league in the United States to follow such a calendar, breaking from the traditional spring-through-fall calendar which the top-flight National Women’s Soccer League — and, previously, its predecessors — uses.

Starting the season in August and ending in June will allow the Super League to launch and contest its playoffs and championship in favorable weather. USL said in a press release that there will be a mid-season winter break in addition to the summer down time between seasons. USL Super League president Amanda Vandervort said that the schedule is also about aligning with the FIFA international calendar to avoid player absences — which suggests an ambition in itself regarding the potential player pool.

“The Super League calendar is strategically designed to deliver a top-quality fan experience by enabling our clubs to field their first-choice squads as often as possible,” Vandervort said. “With key international competitions occurring nearly every summer in women’s soccer, we want to help players effectively balance their club and country commitments.”

The NWSL consistently struggles with scheduling due to summer events, frequently missing swaths of star players to summer international tournaments, as will be the case this year with several continental championships — most of which double as World Cup qualifying — taking place in July.

Vandervort also said that the Super League’s calendar will allow it to participate in the global transfer market, particularly in the summer.

“We are doing something different because we believe it will set the foundation for a long-term, sustainable enterprise,” Vandervort said.

The USL Super League will be the first Division 2 women’s professional league in U.S. history when it launches. Salaries and standards, according to Vandervort and other leadership, will be consistent with the USL Championship, which is a men’s second division.

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