League Will Cease Operation Ahead of 2016 Season
Disappointing news for women’s soccer. As men’s soccer leagues such as the NASL and UPSL continue to expand and add more teams, another women’s professional soccer league has folded. In 2012, the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) suspended and a year later the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) was formed. It looks as though the NWSL is currently the only hope for women to play professional soccer.
Soccer News: The W-League, the longest serving professional women’s league in North America, announced it will cease operations ahead of the 2016 season. Since 1995, the W-League has been committed to operating a women’s league at the highest standards of competition and play throughout the United States and Canada. Forty-three players selected by the United States, Canada and Mexico for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup had previously played in the W-League, including 17 members of the U.S. squad that claimed its third championship this past summer.
The W-League has not ruled out the possibility that the league could be reintroduced in the future, it remains committed to the promotion of women’s soccer, and it will continue to work with its partner, the Super Y League, to develop the next generation of world-class female soccer players in the U12 to U18 age groups. However, after an exhausting effort by both the league and its current team owners, there proved an insufficient number of teams to facilitate play in 2016 at the consistent league standards of quality and competition that has been the W-League’s trademark throughout its history.
While we are saddened that the league will not return in 2016, we are extremely grateful to the team owners who have invested their time, support, and made a significant financial commitment for the W-League over the past 21 seasons. We look forward to collaborating with them and other stakeholders on how best to grow women’s soccer throughout the U.S. and Canada, and are heartened by the fact that numerous options for women’s soccer players are now available both in the United States and Canada and overseas, providing a very different landscape than when the W-League was established in 1995.
We are also grateful to the thousands of players who have competed in the W-League over the course of its history, many of whom have gone on to successful professional and international careers. The spirit of the W-League will live on through them in venues across North America.