2018. The Boston Breakers fold less than a month before the start of preseason. The Breakers' roots went all the way back to WUSA, but they struggled on the field and at the gate in their
five seasons in the NWSL and became the third team to move or fold in a year after the Western New York Flash (now at North Carolina) and FC Kansas City.
July 18, 2018. Stories of 'sweatshop' conditions get Sky Blue FC owner-governor's attention. Sky Blue FC, whose majority owner is New Jersey governor Phil Murphy, comes under the microscope with reports of poor housing and working conditions and inadequate facilities for its players and charges of mismanagement. NewJersey.com publishes an article: "Hey, Gov. Murphy: Fix your sweatshop of a women's soccer team."
Feb. 20, 2019. The NWSL and A+E end their partnership. Less than two months before the start of the NWSL season and the third and final year of their broadcast agreement, the league ends its agreement with A+E covering a national game of the week on Lifetime. The agreement gave A+E an equity stake in the NWSL and it managed the digital and commercial side of the business. Owners consider the move in the best long-term interest of the league, but it leaves the league seriously short-staffed in a World Cup year.
Aug. 11, 2019. The Portland Thorns set an NWSL single-game attendance record, welcoming 25,218 fans for their match against Chicago at expanded Providence Park. They will become the first women's pro club in the world to average more than 20,000 fans game with an average of 20,098 for 12 home regular-season games in 2019.
Aug. 24, 2019. The Washington Spirit draws a club record crowd of 19,741 fans at Audi Field, home of MLS's D.C. United. The game against Orlando more than doubled the Spirit's record set in 2018 when it played at the new stadium. The Spirit will be one of six NWSL teams to break their single-game attendance record after the U.S. World Cup champions returned to the league in July. Buoyed by the success of its two games played at Audi Field, the Spirit will reach an agreement with D.C. United to split its 2020 NWSL schedule between Audi Field, the Maryland SoccerPlex, its home since the NWSL started in 2013, and Segra Field, which opened in 2019 as the home of Loudoun United.
Oct. 21, 2019. NWSL brings in Octagon to devise media and marketing strategy. Octagon, one of the largest sports agencies in the world with extensive background in women's sports, will provide comprehensive media rights valuation and sales strategy services and -- most important -- advice on finding a new media partner. It will also assist the NWSL with brand marketing, asset development, sponsorship valuation and fan engagement insights.
Oct. 22, 2019. Louisville is introduced as an expansion team to begin play in 2021. John Neace and Soccer Holdings LLC -- the owners of the USL Championship's Louisville City -- will operate the team, later named Proof Louisville FC. It will play at the 11,500-seat Lynn Family Stadium that Louisville City has built in the Butchertown neighborhood and will open in 2020.
Oct. 27, 2019. North Carolina Courage completes back-to-back doubles. The North Carolina Courage shows why it's the greatest team in the history of U.S. women's pro history when it crushes the Chicago Red Stars, 4-0, in the 2019 NWSL final in front of a record crowd of 10,227 fans in Cary, North Carolina.
Nov. 1, 2019. NWSL increases salary cap to $650,000 and introduces $300,000 in allocation money. The 2020 salary cap will be up from $421,500 in 2019 and $350,000 in 2018. The allocation money can be spent on players other than U.S. and Canadian allocated players and be used to pay for their salaries in excess of its salary cap over the new league maximum salary of $50,000 or pay for transfer fees for the first time.
NWSL salary cap
2020 $600,000 (plus $300,000 allocation money)
Nov. 14, 2019. Sam Kerr, the NWSL's all-time leading scorer, leaves the Chicago Red Stars for Chelsea. The 26-year-old Australian split time between clubs in the NWSL -- Western New York Flash, Sky Blue FC and Chicago -- and Perth Glory in the Australian W-League. She won the NWSL scoring title the last three seasons and was the MVP in 2017 and 2019.
Nov. 18, 2019. Sky Blue FC will play all its 2020 NWSL home games at Red Bull Arena. In the most significant demonstration of its intention to turn a page on its troubled past at Rutgers University's Yurcak Field, its home for 10 years, Sky Blue FC announced it will move into the home of MLS's New York Red Bulls, in Harrison, N.J., where it drew crowds of 9,415 and 8,314 fans for matches late in the 2019 NWSL season.
Dec. 19, 2019. OL Groupe takes over majority control of Reign FC. The owner of French giant Lyon buys out majority owners Bill and Teresa Predmore, who will retain 7.5 percent and remain involved as CEO and academy president, respectively. Frenchman Tony Parker, the former NBA star, will hold 3 percent.