On Tuesday, the USL Super League announced its eight initial markets for August 2024 kickoff — and that it will seek Division 1 status, putting the league in direct competition with the National Women’s Soccer League.
When the USL Super League was first announced, the initial plan was for it to sanction Division 2 status from U.S. Soccer. The Super League will launch in late summer 2024 and plans to play a fall-to-spring schedule.
The league announced its first eight markets: Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas/Forth Worth, Texas; Lexington, Kentucky; Phoenix, Arizona; Spokane, Washington; Tampa Bay, Florida; Tucson, Arizona; and Washington, D.C. According to the league, there will be 10 or 12 teams in the inaugural 2024 season, with more team announcements to follow.
“Today marks a major milestone for the United Soccer League as we take another step in building an integrated women’s soccer network unlike any other,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “Our aim is to make the USL Super League globally recognized and admired for its financial stability, operational excellence, community building and high-level competition. We are establishing and growing our national footprint while ensuring that all our teams are owners or primary tenants of a soccer stadium. We are aligning our calendar and roster rules with the global game.”
The NWSL has been the only D-1 women’s professional league in the United States since its formation in late 2012. It has always played a spring-to-fall calendar, although there have been internal board conversations about flipping that to align with the FIFA calendar.
The Super League also listed future markets that will begin play in 2025 or later, pending the completion of stadium projects: Chattanooga, Tennessee; Indianapolis, Indiana; Jacksonville, Florida; Madison, Wisconsin; and Oakland, California.
“We’re excited to share the initial group of USL Super League markets that will bring professional women’s soccer closer to home for fans and players across America,” USL Super League president Amanda Vandervort said. “Our aim is to significantly expand opportunities in women’s soccer through strategic growth, build a pathway that connects talent with opportunity, and engage communities by celebrating a universal passion for the game expressed through local culture.
“The USL Super League aspires to be a global leader in women’s football, and we look forward to working together with all stakeholders to help shape the future of the game for women and girls in our country, across the region, and around the world,” Vandervort said. “We will actively advocate for new, compelling club competitions that drive visibility and value, and we offer our unwavering support for U.S. Soccer’s bid to co-host the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup.”
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