NWSL announces Louisville as its 10th franchise

NWSL president Amanda Duffy and the league announced Louisville will be the 10th franchise. (Getty)
NWSL president Amanda Duffy and the league announced Louisville will be the 10th franchise. (Getty)

We finally know the site of the next National Women’s Soccer League franchise.

The league announced Tuesday that a Louisville-based club will begin play in 2021, a year after the opening of the city’s planned Lynn Family Stadium.

The club’s logo, crest and colors will be announced later this year, according to a media release.

NWSL President Amanda Duffy spent two years in the front office of Louisville City FC, the men’s side that plays in the second-tier USL Championship. That club is owned and operated by John Neace and Soccer Holdings LLC, the same group that will run the women’s team.

Nearly half the teams in the NWSL, including the Portland Timbers, Utah Royals, Houston Dash and Orlando Pride, are owned and operated by the same people as the MLS teams in those cities.

“We are very excited to welcome John Neace and Louisville City FC into the NWSL,” Duffy said in a statement. “With the club’s growing, passionate fanbase, coupled with its strong ownership group, and its significant investment in a soccer specific stadium in a downtown location, we are thrilled to bring the highest level of women’s professional soccer to the area.”

The construction of the nearly 14,000-seat Lynn Family Stadium, which was first proposed in spring 2017 and approved later that year, was a key part of the city’s pitch to the league.

The only other midwestern team at the moment is the Chicago Red Stars, which will face the defending champion North Carolina Courage in the NWSL Championship game on Sunday.

The NWSL is preparing for a transition after this season, with U.S. Soccer expected to step away from its management role in the coming months. As Yahoo Sports’ Caitlin Murray noted, expansion might not be in the NWSL’s best interest at the moment; rather, investment into struggling current franchises could be the best course of action.

Either way, the decision to add a 10th team has been made. And Louisville gets the honor.

Caitlin Murray contributed to this report.

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