We have the first eight USL Super League markets as well as four contingent markets, as the startup women’s league is set to begin play in August 2024, positioned as a first division league conforming to the international calendar.
The USL Super League will follow U.S. Soccer’s sanctioning process. The USL Super League will play on the international “fall-to-summer” calendar and operating a connected women’s pathway from youth to professional. According to the league, the youth-to-pro pathway creates development and advancement opportunities for players, coaches, referees, and front office employees while uniting communities and growing the sport at all levels across the United States.
“Today marks a major milestone for the United Soccer League as we take another step in building an integrated women’s soccer network unlike any other,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said via press release. “Our aim is to make the USL Super League globally recognized and admired for its financial stability, operational excellence, community building and high-level competition. We are establishing and growing our national footprint while ensuring that all our teams are owners or primary tenants of a soccer stadium. We are aligning our calendar and roster rules with the global game.
“With these objectives in mind, we will continue to demonstrate our commitment to equitable treatment of our men’s and women’s pathways, ultimately featuring clubs competing in all divisions and bringing soccer closer to home in markets across the entire country,” Papadakis said. “The USL Super League will sit at the top of our women’s pyramid with strong ownership groups, modern stadiums, and passionate fans that will deliver immediate viability and long-term sustainability.”
Here are the first eight announced USL Super League markets:
- Charlotte, N.C.–The team will play its home matches in historic American Legion Memorial Stadium, which is located in Charlotte’s urban core, was renovated in 2021, and is laid out for top-level soccer matches. Local sports business entrepreneur Jim McPhilliamy will lead the formation of the club’s ownership group.
- Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas–Multiple stadium options are being considered with the location to be announced in the coming months. The effort will be led by the Neil Family, representing over 40 years of real estate investment banking, current and former athletes in US Soccer / US Deaf Soccer and professional baseball, sports tech entrepreneurship, advertising, and decades spent in support of youth sports in North Texas.
- Lexington, Ky.–Led by Lexington Sporting Club (USL League One) owner Bill Shively and his wife, Dixiana Farms co-owner Donna Shively, along with business partner Stephen Dawahare, Lexington will also include a USL Academy team and a USL W League team. The club is currently working to bring a 6,500-seat stadium and a training and medical complex to the Commonwealth.
- Phoenix, Ariz.–Led by the Phoenix Rising FC (USL Championship) ownership group, Phoenix will play at their new, centrally located stadium location, just north of Sky Harbor International Airport.
- Spokane, Wash.–The team will be led by Aequus Sports, LLC, an investor group led by Spokane natives Ryan Harnetiaux, a longtime business strategist, and Katie Harnetiaux, a global business leader for Amazon North America. The club will play in a new 5,500 seat stadium currently under construction and located in the North Bank Arts and Entertainment District.
- Tampa Bay, Fla.–Led by local real-estate developer Darryl Shaw, restaurateur, and former professional sports team owner David Laxer, and tech executive Jeff Fox, Tampa is exploring temporary stadium sites for the inaugural 2024 season with long-term plans to build a centrally located soccer-specific stadium.
- Tucson, Ariz.–Led by FC Tucson owner and lifelong local soccer leader Jon Pearlman and RightSure Insurance founder, author and club chairperson Jeff Arnold, Tucson is exploring multiple stadium options.
- Washington, D.C.–Attain Sports and Entertainment (AS&E), led by Founder and CEO Greg Baroni and in partnership with D.C. United, will play in the Washington, D.C. area.
In addition, these markets are seeking a team with approval contingent on stadium improvements:
- Chattanooga, Tenn.–Led by international real estate developer and Chattanooga Red Wolves SC (USL League One) founder Robert “Bob” Martino, Chattanooga will play at CHI Memorial Stadium, home of Chattanooga’s first professional men’s soccer team. Following the 2023 men’s season, management will be making significant upgrades and an expansion to the stadium.
- Indianapolis, Ind.–Led by Indy Eleven Founder and Chairman Ersal Ozdemir and their CEO, Greg Stremlaw, USL Super League Indianapolis will play its home matches at the planned 20,000-seat stadium being built as part of an over $1 billion transformational development project in downtown Indianapolis. Eleven Park will serve as a permanent home for both the Indy Eleven’s Super League team as well as their USL Championship men’s professional team.
- Jacksonville, Fla.–Led by a local ownership group that includes NFL star and Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Florida Tim Tebow, local entrepreneurs Ricky Caplin and Tony Allegretti, and experienced club administrator Steve Livingstone, USL Super League Jacksonville is currently exploring multiple stadium and facilities development options to further expand access and opportunity across the region.
- Madison, Wisc.–Led by the Forward Madison (USL League One) ownership group, Super League Madison will be the first top-tier professional women’s sports team in Wisconsin, playing at Breese Stevens Field in downtown Madison.
- Oakland, Calif.–Led by the Oakland Roots and Oakland Soul ownership group, USL Super League Oakland will play at a proposed interim stadium in East Oakland on the Oakland Coliseum Malibu parking lot site to the city, Alameda County, and the Joint Powers Authority (JPA).
In the coming months, the USL Super League will announce additional markets whose clubs will play in the inaugural season, and additional markets for future expansion.
“We’re excited to share the initial group of USL Super League markets that will bring professional women’s soccer closer to home for fans and players across America,” USL Super League President Amanda Vandervort said via press release. “Our aim is to significantly expand opportunities in women’s soccer through strategic growth, build a pathway that connects talent with opportunity, and engage communities by celebrating a universal passion for the game expressed through local culture.
“The USL Super League aspires to be a global leader in women’s football, and we look forward to working together with all stakeholders to help shape the future of the game for women and girls in our country, across the region, and around the world,” Vandervort said. “We will actively advocate for new, compelling club competitions that drive visibility and value, and we offer our unwavering support for U.S. Soccer’s bid to co-host the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup.”