Seattle Sounders Women Remain in W-League Despite New League Formation

An eight-team women’s professional soccer league is currently forming, according to U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati.  The new league will include the Boston Breakers, Western New York Flash, Sky Blue FC of New Jersey, the Chicago Red Stars, and one team each in Washington, D.C., Portland, Ore., Seattle, and Kansas City.

“Over the last several months, we’ve been doing a number of things, talking with some important constituents and stakeholders in the sport, not just in the United States but internationally,” Gulati said via teleconference regarding the announcement. “I’m really very pleased to talk a little bit about the model that we’ve put together. That model is that U.S. Soccer will essentially run the front office of this league, that U.S. Soccer will fund the participation of approximately 24 players in the league.

Seattle Sounders Women/Erika Shultz/The Seattle Times

The following statement was received by The Seattle Lesbian earlier this week:

The Seattle Sounders Women will play the 2013 season in the United Soccer Leagues’ W-League. With the backdrop of the USL’s decision, a few weeks ago, to step away from involvement in operating a newly proposed women’s soccer league, the Seattle Sounders Women received word that the franchise proposal from the Sounders Women to U.S. Soccer was not accepted.

The Seattle Sounders Women are confident that our current league (USL, W-League) continues to provide a strong and sustainable platform for the Seattle Sounders Women to thrive. The W-League will represent the strongest and largest contingency of teams on the West Coast. We are excited to continue our rivalries with the prestigious organizations in the USL, W-League.

We cannot thank the Sounders fans enough for their support. We want them to know that we will continue to provide them with quality in organization, game day presentation, and quality from the players wearing the Sounders crest. We are still in great standing with our affiliation partners, the Seattle Sounders FC, and we will continue to uphold the rave green standards that our supporters know and trust.

Seattle Sounders Women CEO & Co-Owner Lane Smith said, “Congratulations to Bill with the new team and league. Seattle is a fantastic market for soccer and the Seattle Sounders Women wish them the best in the upcoming inaugural season. With this new team and the Seattle Sounders women continued representation in the long established W-league Seattle soccer fans will be blessed with the opportunity to attend many high level Women’s soccer matches.”

Media representative for the team, Jon Billings, added, “It should also be noted that the Seattle Sounders Women’s home stadium will remain Starfire Stadium, in Tukwila, WA. We have a strong relationship with Starfre, and look forward to many years of continued success there.”

According to the Marshfield Mariner, “Two previous professional women’s leagues in the United States ultimately folded, beginning with the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA), which ran from 2000-2003, and the most recent Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS), which lasted from 2009 through 2011.”

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