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Sunday, July 14, 2024

NWSL Reportedly Taps Boston For Expansion Team Beginning in 2026

  • New club set to begin play in 2026
  • Female-led investor group arrives as NWSL continues historic growth wave
Commissioner Jessica Berman expects the NWSL to reach 16 teams in 2026 with two expansion clubs.
Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

Boston is back in women’s pro soccer — at a time of accelerating growth for the NWSL.

The league, Boston mayor Michelle Wu, and the incoming Boston Unity Soccer Partners ownership group have scheduled a Tuesday afternoon press conference to announce an expansion club that will begin play in 2026.

Boston Unity Soccer Partners reportedly will pay an expansion fee of $53 million, the same amount paid by Bay Area FC to enter the league, and also plans to spend about that much to renovate White Stadium in Boston’s Franklin Park, develop a separate training facility, and support operating costs.

The name for the new team has not yet been disclosed. 

The former Boston Breakers played in the NWSL between 2013-17, routinely struggled both on and off the field, and failed to find success in three different home facilities during that time. But six years later, the NWSL is riding a historic wave of attendance growth, franchise value escalation for existing clubs, and an overall rise in prominence for women’s soccer, both domestically and internationally.

“There’s a lot of attention on women’s sports right now, a global rise in fandom in not just women’s sports but in particular around women’s soccer,” Jennifer Epstein, controlling partner of Boston Unity Soccer Partners, told the Boston Globe. “It’s a great moment in time. There’s a lot of momentum in the league.”

For many weeks, Boston was strongly expected to receive one of the NWSL’s next expansion franchises. Epstein leads a group whose invested capital is almost entirely from women.

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