A Launch of New Leagues: Growth in the American Women’s Game

The United Soccer League (USL), an organization that oversees three men’s leagues in the second, third, and pre-professional divisions in the United States, recently announced the creation of the USL Super League, a second division women’s soccer league that will begin play in 2023.


A few months ago, they had announced the creation of the USL W League, a “pre-professional” women’s soccer league to start in 2022, which now has the possibility of serving as a player pipeline to professional opportunities in the Super League. These two new leagues will exponentially increase the opportunities for women soccer players in the United States. Currently, there is only one professional league, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), and two amateur leagues, United Women’s Soccer and the Women’s Premier Soccer League, for women to have opportunities to play soccer after the college level.


Upon announcement of the USL Super League, USL Director of Women’s Soccer Operations Betsy Haugh stated, “In our country, there are seven times as many professional soccer teams for men than there are for women. We are going to improve that ratio, and we invite players and fans to join us in building a new, outstanding level of women’s soccer.” With the NWSL currently standing at ten teams, though a few more are soon to be joining, this new Super League should double the number of professional women’s soccer teams, which means double the opportunities for American women to play soccer professionally in a domestic league and double the opportunities for women of any country to play soccer in the United States. Additionally, the USL W League has announced sixteen clubs, so far, of the more than thirty expected to kick off next year, offering so many more opportunities for women to continue playing soccer after college and increasing the footprint of women’s soccer on the landscape of American sports.


Furthermore, the USL has stated that professional standards and the structure of compensation of the Super League will be consistent with the USL men’s leagues, an exciting development and huge step forward for the women’s game in this era of increased scrutiny and demands for equal pay, though it is too early to tell what it will look like exactly in this case. The teams in this new league are not limited to current USL owners, but it can be expected that most teams will be affiliated with USL men’s teams, which could be advantageous for sharing resources and infrastructure, such as stadiums and training facilities, as long as the promise of gender equity between teams is upheld.



“In our country there are seven times as many professional soccer teams for men than there are for women,” said Betsy Haugh, USL Director of Women’s Soccer Operations. “We are going to improve that ratio, and we invite players and fans to join us in building a new, outstanding level of women’s soccer.”

This promise of investment and development from USL owners demonstrates the continued rise of interest and awareness in women’s professional soccer in the United States and all over the world. The soccer landscape, for both men and women, continues to expand dramatically in the United States as more teams are being located in more cities, bringing local soccer to more people than ever before. The more teams there are scattered around the country, the more soccer can continue to grow and try to take hold as a preeminent sport in the United States. And the more women’s soccer teams there are, the more women’s soccer fans there will be, which can only be a good thing for the players, for the game, and for women’s sports in general.


Click here to keep up to date with all things USL Women's Soccer including appointment of leaders, club announcements, and much more.


Written by Grace Ott





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