Just prior to the U.S. Women’s National Team grabbing Gold at the Olympics, the Boston Breakers issued a press release announcing the formation of a new professional women’s soccer league slated to begin play in the spring of 2013. The teams announced in the release are the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, a newly formed team in Seattle, and New Jersey’s Sky Blue FC, with four other teams finalizing their participation in the league.
“All these teams are committed to playing with and against each other starting in 2013 and to working out the final details to allow a sustainable professional league for women’s soccer in the U.S.,” said Michael Stoller, Managing Partner of the Boston Breakers, in the release.
The Breakers, Sky Blue FC and Chicago Red Stars had all previously played in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS), which folded prior to the start of the 2012 season. The Breakers and Red Stars joined the Women’s Premier Soccer League’s (WPSL) newly formed “Elite” league this season, where the Breakers finished in first place, but lost to the Red Stars in the first round of the playoffs.
“We want to emphasize this is not a competitor to any of the existing leagues, but rather this is a significant step up in the competitive level and professional standards,” said Stoller in the release, “We expect to establish a natural relationship to allow teams to enter this new league and perhaps to fall back (self-relegate) to their prior league if they need a break from the higher spending and competitive requirements.”
The release says the founders of the new league have been working with United Soccer Leagues (USL), who run the W-League, and WPSL “to attempt to solidify the relationship and roles of the existing women’s leagues with the new league and participation for all teams that elect to meet the minimum standards.”
“We have supported women’s soccer for decades and are very proud of our creation of the WPSL Elite League this year and the role we have been able to play in bringing this new league together for 2013,” said Jerry Zanelli, founder and President of WPSL in the statement. “We are committed to easy movement for teams between WPSL and this new league and we will also provide a place for reserve teams to play. Many details remain to be worked out but we will support the new league in its growth and are happy to see an unambiguous future for women’s professional soccer in the United States.”
What that means for the New England Mutiny, who played in the WPSL Elite this year, and Aztec MA, who were set to join the WPSL Elite next season, isn’t immediately clear.
The release goes on to state that the organizers of the new league have already put much work into the minimum standards, season length, player requirements and conferences. More teams are expected to join the league in the next two month.