NWSL has company: U.S. Soccer gives new USL Women’s Super League Division 1 status

The NWSL is no longer the only Division 1 women’s soccer league in the United States as U.S. Soccer announced on Friday that the new USL Super League has been granted top flight status.

The USL Super League will kick off in 2024 with eight teams and already has plans for more cities to join in 2025.

U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone congratulated the new league on their status and said it will create more opportunities for women’s players in the U.S.

"The USL Super League is looking to grow the women's game and to expand the opportunities for women to compete at the highest professional level. As with all our professional leagues, we look forward to collaborating with the USL Super League and extend our best wishes to the clubs as they gear up for the upcoming season this August," she said.

USL Super League gets Division 1 status

Earning the D-1 status required the league to check a number of boxes such as:

  • At least eight teams in the inaugural season
  • Three-fourths of the teams must play in markets with at least 750,000 people
  • Stadiums must have a minimum 5,000 seats
  • The league has to be in at least two time zones
  • Each team’s ownership group must be able to operate for three years
  • The ownership group must have a net worth of at least $25 million
  • Individual net worth of principal owner must be at least $15 million

All boxes were checked, and the new league has been given the green light to be in the same tier the NWSL has solely been in for the past 11 years.

Eight cities will have teams for the inaugural season.

2024 USL Super League teams

  • Brooklyn, New York
  • Washington D.C.
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Tampa Bay, Florida
  • Lexington, Kentucky
  • Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
  • Spokane, Washington

USL Super League teams 2024

Cities that will receive USL Super League teams in 2025 or later include: 

  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Oakland, California
  • Palm Beach, Florida
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Tucson Arizona

One interesting element of the new league will be the schedule. The USL Super League will run on the European season beginning in the fall and concluding in the spring. How the teams and league deal with the winter weather will be a true test.

The NWSL season runs from spring to fall meaning there will be some overlap between the two leagues. While the two entities will be competing for players, sponsors and more, the NWSL released a statement welcoming the new league.

USL Super League president Amanda Vandervort said the season beginning in 2024 will be a major moment for women’s soccer.

“This is a tremendous moment for the USL Super League and for women’s sports,” Vandervort said. “Receiving Division One sanctioning further showcases the work that our ownership groups, our clubs, and the league are doing to create a professional environment for top-level talent to compete. This is a crucial step toward realizing our vision to be a global leader in women’s soccer on and off the field. We cannot wait to see our clubs take the field when we kick off in August 2024.”

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