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USL Super League receives Division I sanctioning from U.S. Soccer

The league could be a potential direct competitor to the NWSL in the future.

Syndication: Florida Times-Union Clayton Freeman/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY NETWORK

The USL Super League announced today that U.S. Soccer had approved Division I sanctioning for the league. The league, which is set to start in August for the 2024-205 season, will be a professional league like the NWSL.

In order to receive Division I status, U.S. Soccer requires women’s outdoor leagues to have at least eight teams, with 75% of the teams to play in larger metropolitan areas (at least 750,000 people) and for teams to have one majority/principal owner who has at least 35% share of the team, along with a net worth of $145 million at least. Other requirements can play a factor but those are the major ones to achieve Division I status in the U.S.

The league will consists of eight teams in the following markets:

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

Of those eight markets, two will be in direct competition with teams in the NWSL, making the upcoming years within the soccer landscape intriguing as both leagues will vie to be the premier destination for players.

The NWSL will also face stiff competition too from Project 8, a professional league set to start in Canada in 2025 that Project 8 Inc. will be in charge of. Add to this, Liga MX current ability to attract big name players and it looks like the NWSL will have to do more than the bare minimum to continue to be the ‘best’ league in North America.

As of right now, the NWSL has control of the large markets in the U.S., but as stated above, NJ/NY Gotham FC and the Washington Spirit will now have direct competition in their own backyard to content with, instead of other teams across the country.

There’s no guarantee that the USL Super Leaguer will supersede the NWSL any time soon but, the NWSL is now on notice. They will need to continue to develop as a league and as individual clubs to keep attracting the best in the country and across the globe. Otherwise, the likes of the USL Super League, Liga MX or the upcoming Project 8 league will use that to their advantage.

On the plus side, this now gives fans the opportunity to push for a U.S. Open Cup amongst the two leagues. Whether this is already in the pipeline is unknown but the possibility is now there.