A new women’s professional soccer league in the United States will kick-off in March next year, U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said on Wednesday.
The most recent women’s league, Women’s Professional Soccer, folded in May after three seasons but Gulati said the new structure would aim to be more “sustainable”.
The end of the WPS marked the second time in nine years that a women’s professional league had failed despite the popularity of the U.S. women’s national team. The decision to terminate the franchise came amid a lawsuit with one of its owners, Dan Borislow, who owned the Florida franchise magicJack.
This time the Canadian and Mexican federations, along with U.S. Soccer, will fund the costs of their national team players featuring in the eight-team league.
“We are trying to find an economical model that is sustainable”
U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati
“We are trying to find an economical model that is sustainable,” Gulati said.
“If we see the federations as the government, we are subsidizing the private sector here to try to make this sustainable and the investments by the private sector smaller,” he said.
U.S. Soccer will also finance the administrative office costs of the league.
The eight teams will be based in Boston, New Jersey, Western New York, Washington D.C, Chicago, Kansas City, Seattle and Portland, said Gulati.
The U.S. have for a long time been one of the superpowers of women’s football and the collapse of their league sent many top players back to their home nations.
Compared to many leagues in Europe and the rest of the world, America developed a strong infrustructure for the women’s game and had more money available – until the latest legal dispute led to its demise.
The U.S. team won gold at the women’s Olympic tournament in London this year, defeating Canada in the semi-finals before beating Japan in the final.
They were also runners up in the 2011 women’s World Cup, this time Japan getting the prize in a dramatic penalty shoot-out in Germany.