Spokane, WA – Today, the U.S. Soccer Federation made it official. The new USL Super League – featuring Spokane Zephyr FC – will compete at the highest level for professional women’s soccer in the United States. The governing body for soccer in the U.S. approved the Super League’s Division One sanctioning application.
The USL Super League aims to double the number of opportunities for women in professional soccer in the U.S. as players, coaches, administrators, staff and more.
“This is a historic day for U.S. Soccer and for women. Today marks a beginning of increased opportunities for women from the pitch to the front office. I am proud of this endorsement and thrilled to be an inaugural team for the new Super League,” said Katie Harnetiaux, President and Co-Owner of USL Spokane.
“Our focus remains on the future of opportunities for women within professional sports. This means ensuring that female coaches have a path to licensure at the highest level, players are given increased opportunities to play in this country, and women’s teams are everything but an after-thought. There is a lot more work to do, and I am excited that Spokane Zephyr FC is going to be at the forefront of this expanding frontier” continued Harnetiaux.
“This is a tremendous moment for the USL Super League and for women’s sports,” said USL Super League President Amanda Vandervort who visited Spokane in November 2023 for the launch of Zephyr FC. “Receiving Division One sanctioning further showcases the work that our ownership groups, our clubs, and the league are doing to create a professional environment for top-level talent to compete. This is a crucial step toward realizing our vision to be a global leader in women’s soccer on and off the field. We cannot wait to see our clubs take the field when we kick off in August 2024.”
The USL Super League is a new professional women’s soccer league set to kick off in August 2024.
Division One sanctioning represents a major milestone in the USL Super League’s commitment to operate at the highest level for women’s soccer in the United States. The league’s vision is to be a global leader on and off the field while providing more opportunities for more women in more communities.
“Congratulations to the USL Super League on receiving its sanctioning as a Division One professional women’s soccer league,” said U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone. “The USL Super League is looking to grow the women’s game and to expand the opportunities for women to compete at the highest professional level. As with all our professional leagues, we look forward to collaborating with the USL Super League and extend our best wishes to the clubs as they gear up for the upcoming season this August.”
The field is set for the inaugural 2024 season. In addition to Zephyr FC, the league will feature seven other clubs with additional teams set to join in subsequent seasons. Other inaugural clubs include Brooklyn, N.Y.; Carolina, N.C.; Dallas/Fort Worth, Tex.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Tampa Bay, Fla.; and Washington D.C.
The strong pipeline of USL Super League clubs includes at least eight additional markets excited to join the league in future seasons: Chattanooga, Tenn.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Madison, Wisc.; Oakland, Calif.; Palm Beach, Fla.; Phoenix, Ariz., and Tucson, Ariz. These teams will take the field upon completion of stadium projects and other important club development initiatives.
The USL Super League will play on the international calendar and operate a connected women’s pathway from youth to professional. The “fall-to-summer” calendar – unique in American soccer – aligns the USL Super League with the global game and prioritizes player welfare and performance. The youth-to-pro pathway creates development and advancement opportunities for players, coaches, referees, and front office employees while uniting communities and growing the sport at all levels across the United States.
“We are so proud to be one of the inaugural eight clubs to compete in this historic league,” said Janette (j.) Atkins, Vice President of Spokane Zephyr FC. “We have been building our club for many months, and this launch is the next phase of our development. This is a generational movement and Spokane is at the forefront of building a new legacy for women and girls.”
USL Spokane announced the name and brand of Zephyr FC at an event in November attended by approximately 2,000 eager fans and community members. The club is close to announcing a head coach hire and is holding its first tryout session in partnership with Oly Town FC on March 30-31. The season schedule is expected to be announced this spring.
USL Super League is hosting a virtual press conference on Tuesday, February 13. Please contact Lisa Padden, Lisa.Padan@uslsoccer.com, for details.