Tuesday October 3, 2023

NWSL Keeps Expanding, Plans Two More Teams By 2026

  • Commissioner Jessica Berman told The Washington Post that the league intends to add two teams in 2026.
  • The process for securing investors for expansion teams in 2026 will start later this year.
Mar 11, 2023; Sandy, Utah, USA; NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman addresses the media about the Utah Royals FC professional womenÕs soccer club returning to Utah under the ownership group of Ryan Smith, Real Salt Lake owner at America First Field.
Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
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The National Women’s Soccer League plans to expand even more, commissioner Jessica Berman said.

Berman told The Washington Post that the league intends to add two more teams in 2026, bringing its total up to 16 teams. 

The NWSL has been on somewhat of an expansion frenzy since 2022, when it added the wildly successful Los Angeles’ Angel City FC and the San Diego Wave. 

The league has already committed to two more teams starting in the 2024 season: The Utah Royals will rejoin the league, while an unnamed team in San Francisco will launch as well. 

There have also been discussions about adding a team in the Boston area, according to a Wall Street Journal report. 

The process for securing investors for expansion teams in 2026 will start later this year. Berman noted there’s still an “incredible amount of interest” from potential investors.

“We’re still really early in our process in terms of our growth and where we think this league is going to be in three-to-five-to-10 years,” Berman said. “A lot of investors are recognizing that and are excited to begin that process of mutual due diligence with us.”

Current Teams for Sale

There could also be movement among existing teams. The OL Reign, Chicago Red Stars, and Portland Thorns are all up for sale. The Red Stars and Thorns sales were driven by allegations uncovered in a misconduct investigation by the NWSL.

The Red Stars in particular appear to be popular among investors — with interested parties numbering in the double digits, sources previously told Front Office Sports.

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