According to a report from SoccerWire.com, the National Women’s Soccer League is slated to expand into California in 2018.
LAFC, which will also debut an MLS side that same year, is set to also bring in a women’s side. Club officials told SoccerWire.com following the publication of the story that they were only “seriously considering” an NWSL team, not that it was a finalized plan.
I should make clear that while they were very helpful w/ my requests, LAFC officials steadfastly refused to confirm NWSL entry or timeline.
— Charles Boehm (@cboehm) September 2, 2016
U.S. women’s national team great Mia Hamm is a member of LAFC’s ownership group and has been measured in her comments about the club pursuing a women’s team.
“We’re always still thinking about it,” Hamm told reporters at the LAFC brand launch earlier this year. “Obviously we’re part of the MLS, we’re going to get that going first. But it’s always been part of the discussion and continues to be part of the discussion.”
Both of the NWSL’s predecessors had roots in California with teams in San Diego and San Jose in the WUSA (2001-2003) and in Los Angeles and the Bay Area during the WPS days (2009-2011). Both teams during the WPS folded in 2010—Los Angeles before the season began and the Bay Area’s FC Gold Pride following the 2010 season in which that team was the league champion.
Commissioner Jeff Plush told Fox Sports last month that the league wanted to grow into California “at some point.”
It does raise the question if the league will be looking at staying with 10 teams in 2017 and then bring in two teams ahead of the 2018 season or if expansion for 2017 is still on the table. The Orlando Pride were announced in October 2015 as the newest expansion team. The Houston Dash came into the league in December 2013 to begin play just months later.