The United Soccer League has gone all in on women's soccer.
Almost six years after it folded the W-League, the USL has announced plans to launch two leagues.
It previously announced plans for the USL W League with 16 teams already signed up and 30 expected to be ready for its launch in 2022. On Tuesday, it announced it will apply for Division II sanctioning from U.S. Soccer for the USL Super League, which will begin in 2023.
The USL enters a small but growing pro women's soccer market.
The NWSL, which has operated with 8-10 teams in its first nine seasons, will add two teams in 2022. The USL expects to double the number of professional women’s teams in the United States when the Super League begins in 2023.
USL CEO Alec Papadakis
“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 old W-League launched as the United States Interregional Women's League in 1995 and grew to 41 teams at its height in 2008. Other women's leagues are the Women's Premier Soccer League (founded in 1998) and United Women's Soccer (2015). In January 2021, UWS announced an alliance with NISA to form a women's pro league in 2022. Within two months, that alliance collapsed, at least as far as working together on a pro league.