LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville will become an expansion team in 2021 in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). The fastest growing, top-level professional sports league in the country will have a team playing in Lynn Family Stadium in 2021.
“We are incredibly honored to be joining the NWSL, the greatest women’s soccer league in the world,” Louisville City President Brad Estes said. “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.”
Tuesday’s announcement comes at a time during a surge in popularity of professional women’s soccer following the FIFA World Cup victory earlier this year. The NWSL currently has nine teams and its 2019 champion will be crowned Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN as the North Carolina Courage host the Chicago Red Stars at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC.
“Since the club’s inaugural season in 2015, the Louisville market has proven itself as one that consistently supports the sport at many levels, particularly at the professional level,” said Amanda Duffy, president of the NWSL. “With the club’s growing, passionate fanbase, coupled with its strong ownership group, and its significant investment in a soccer-specific stadium in a central, downtown location, the organization has key elements that will allow it to be successful.”
Soccer Holdings, LLC, the ownership group of Louisville City Football Club – the two-time defending USL Championship Title winners – will own and run the NWSL franchise using the existing management team, headed by Estes.
“As an owner, we jumped at the chance to join this exciting league,” said John Neace, chairman of the ownership group. “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. While saying this is a win-win situation may sound trite, it’s absolutely true. It’s a win for our ownership group. It’s a win for Louisville. It’s a win for local businesses. And it’s a win for the National Women’s Soccer League.”
This will be the first time Louisville has had a pro sports team at the highest level of its league since the Kentucky Colonels of the American Basketball Association folded in 1976. The new NWSL team will join Louisville City FC playing in Lynn Family Stadium.
“I want to thank the ownership group and Louisville Metro government for their unwavering support,” Estes said. “Make no mistake about it, without Lynn Family Stadium, we would have not have an NWSL team. This stadium district is proof positive that great things can happen when you invest in your community.”
Soccer Holdings will announce the team’s logo, crest and colors later this year. The club will commence an international search for a top-level coach and technical staff before bringing in players. As an expansion team, Louisville will have access to two players on the national women’s soccer team – the team that won the World Cup.
About Soccer Holdings, LLC
Soccer Holdings is the ownership group which will manage Louisville’s new NWSL team. The group also owns Louisville City FC and Lynn Family Stadium. Louisville City FC was founded in 2015 and has won two Eastern Conference titles and two USL Championship Titles in its short existence. The club is the only back-to-back USL Championship Title Winner in modern league history. LouCity will move into Lynn Family Stadium, the club’s soccer specific stadium with seating for 11,700 and a capacity nearing 14,000, in the 2020 season.
About the National Women’s Soccer League
Featuring more than 200 of the world’s best professional soccer players, including U.S. women’s national team members and two-time World Cup Champions Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan, as well as international stars Marta, Christine Sinclair, and Sam Kerr, the NWSL is highlighted by 23 current FIFA Women’s World Cup Champions and 58 FIFA Women’s World Cup team members.