In the midst of a horrible year that saw MLS teams pull out of the MLS is Back tournament and USL League One squads withdraw from competition, one continual bright spot has been the National Women’s Soccer League. Next up: A potential NWSL Sacramento expansion team.
Currently at nine teams, the NWSL will expand to Louisville in 2021 and Los Angeles in 2022. Both efforts are noteworthy. Racing Louisville FC is backed by Soccer Holdings, LLC, the same group managing two-time USL Championship title winner Louisville City FC. Both the women’s and men’s sides will call Lynn Family Stadium home while training daily at a new $15 million facility fewer than two miles away. In Los Angeles, a star-studded majority woman-founded group is spearheading the “Angel City” effort. The group is led by Academy Award-winning actress and activist Natalie Portman, technology venture capitalist Kara Nortman, media and gaming entrepreneur Julie Uhrman, and tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist Alexis Ohanian.
That brings the league lineup to 11 teams. Sacramento Republic FC, set to move from USL Championship to a new stadium and MLS in 2023, is looking at adding the NWSL team. The interest from Sacramento Republic FC is not new, but as NWSL works toward an eventual 14-team lineup, Sacramento would seem to be the sort of stable ownership situation favored by the NWSL. As the league moves to larger venues in partnership with MLS owners, Sacramento may check all the boxes.
“With a world-class venue and inaugural MLS season on the horizon, Sacramento is rising to its rightful place in the national soccer community,” Sacramento Republic FC investor Matt Alvarez told the Sacramento Bee. “We are huge fans of women’s soccer and applaud the efforts of Commissioner (Lisa) Baird, the entire NWSL – teams, players, and investors – for their leadership in elevating the beautiful game once again. We’re excited to continue our conversations with league leadership as we explore the possibilities of adding to the rich history of women’s soccer in this region.”