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Even with NWSL in place, USL Super League sees ‘opportunity gap’ with move for top-flight status

USL Super League president Amanda Vandervort explains the reasoning behind the league’s jump

Headshot of Amanda Vandervort, President of USL Super League.
Photo provided by USL Super League

Tuesday’s news that the USL Super League would apply to launch as a Division 1 women’s professional soccer league in August 2024 brought a simple, prevailing question across the U.S. soccer community: Why?

The National Women’s Soccer League is a decade into its existence as the lone D-1 league, a lifespan that more than triples its predecessors. The USL Super League initially announced intentions to launch as a second-division circuit, a level of professional soccer that has never existed in the women’s game in the United States. The message was that the USL would fill a void. That remains the narrative around the jump to the top flight, but with the NWSL already in place, the void is less obvious.

“When you look at 101 professional men’s soccer teams in this country today and 12 women’s professional teams, it’s an opportunity gap that we’re looking to fill and we’re excited to fill that,” USL Super League president Amanda Vandervort told The Equalizer.

The USL has been angling for a top-flight women’s league for five years, well before the Super League came to fruition. Vandervort, who was an important member of the front office for Women’s Professional Soccer (2009-2012), said that the Super League shifting to the top flight “is a reflection of the standards that we are committed to as a league.”

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