The NWSL is set to expand in the coming seasons, as plans were announced Tuesday for a new Louisville club that will launch in 2021.
Louisville will play at Lynn Family Stadium, the soccer-specific venue with a capacity of nearly 14,000 set to open in Spring of 2020 for Louisville City FC in Division II USL Championship.
“We are very excited to welcome John Neace and Louisville City FC into the NWSL,” said NWSL President Amanda Duffy. “With the club’s growing, passionate fanbase, coupled with its strong ownership group, and its significant investment in a soccer specific stadium in a downtown location, we are thrilled to bring the highest level of women’s professional soccer to the area.”
The expansion marks the first time the city of Louisville has had a top-tier pro sports team since the Kentucky Colonels of the American Basketball Association ceased operations in 1976.
“We are incredibly honored to be joining NWSL, the greatest women’s soccer league in the world,” said Louisville City Football Club President Brad Estes. “We can’t wait to welcome these incredible athletes with open arms and support them in their mission to win championships. This market is hungry for more pro soccer, and we know our NWSL team will be a shining star in this league and in our community.”
The addition of Louisville also marks the sixth NWSL team to affiliate with a men’s pro team. Soccer Holdings, LLC, the ownership group of Louisville City FC will operate the NWSL team using the existing management group, headed by Estes. Louisville City won back-to-back USL Championship titles in 2017 and 2018.
“As an owner, we jumped at the chance to join this exciting league,” said John Neace, Chairman of Soccer Holdings, LLC. “The athleticism in the NWSL is second to none while attendance is growing. This is a sound business decision as we complete the new soccer-only stadium and expand the entertainment district around it.”
Soccer Holdings will announce the team’s logo, crest and colors later this year. The NWSL expansion draft for the 2021 season will take place towards the end of 2020.
Rendering courtesy Louisville City FC.
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