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United Women's Soccer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

United Women's Soccer
United Women's Soccer logo red CMYK.svg
FoundedDecember 16, 2015; 4 years ago (2015-12-16)
CountryUnited States
Other club(s) fromCanada
ConfederationCONCACAF
Number of teams30
Level on pyramid2 (Provisional)
Current championsLA Galaxy OC (2019)
Most championshipsHouston Aces
LA Galaxy OC
Midwest United FC
Santa Clarita Blue Heat (1 title each)
TV partnersMycujoo[1]
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata
2019 UWS season

United Women's Soccer (UWS, also commonly abbreviated UWoSo) is a second-division pro-am women's soccer league in the United States. The league was founded in 2015 as a response to the dual problems of disorganization in the WPSL and of the folding of the USL W-League. The league began play in May 2016[2] with eleven teams in two conferences.[3][4] The league currently has 30 teams in 5 conferences.

History

Background

In the summer of 2015, disorganization and the inability to field teams led to many last-minute changes in the WPSL playoffs.[5][6] This, combined with a general lack of competitiveness due to rapid expansion, led to frustration from many long-time WPSL teams. The 2014 WPSL final four hosts ASA Chesapeake Charge elected to skip the 2015 WPSL playoffs altogether as did the entire Sunshine division,[5] Fire & Ice SC was a no-show,[7] and the New England Mutiny published a threatening response to how WPSL as a league was run and was regressing.[6]

Later that year, the USL W-League suddenly announced that it would be ceasing operations.[8] There had been no outward signs that the league or its teams were struggling, but the league had been contracting steadily over the preceding several years - from 30 teams in four divisions for 2012 to just 18 teams in three divisions for 2015 - and many of the teams that had left were recent finalists (Buffalo Flash, Vancouver Whitecaps Women, Pali Blues, Ottawa Fury Women, and several Washington D.C.-area teams) leaving relatively few flagship teams.

Founding

Spearheaded by the New England Mutiny (a former member of the short-lived WPSL Elite), UWS's first five teams were leaked on December 15[2] ahead of the league's official announcement the next day;[9] UWS hopes to provide a true second division beneath the NWSL. Negotiations to create the league since the beginning of the WPSL/W-League offseason, with plans that the league will be a national league of two conferences. The eight founding teams, all in the northeastern US and eastern Canada, were the Mutiny, fellow WPSL breakaway Lancaster Inferno FC, the W-League teams Laval Comets, Long Island Rough Riders, New York Magic, North Jersey Valkyries, and Quebec Dynamo ARSQ looking for a new league, and the expansion team New Jersey Copa FC.[10]

UWS will be sanctioned through USASA,[11] as the W-League and WPSL were.

Rapid early growth

Between founding and the beginning of the inaugural season, hints of the desired second Western conference came to light in late January and was made official on February 5, with the first five revealed teams being Real Salt Lake Women and Houston Aces (both previously of WPSL), and the Santa Clarita Blue Heat, the Colorado Storm, and the Colorado Pride (all previously of the W-League).[4][12]

On March 9, 2016, it was announced that the Canadian Soccer Association would not sanction teams in Laval & Quebec for play in UWS, leaving the league with only 11 teams for its inaugural season.[13][14]

On November 1, 2016, Grand Rapids FC announced they would add a women's team, which would begin play in 2017 in a new Midwest division of United Women's Soccer.[15] Three more Midwest teams (FC Indiana, Fort Wayne United Soccer Club, and the Detroit Sun FC) were announced a month later, with the desire to add more mentioned.[16] Further expansion ahead of the 2017 season included the Michigan Legends FC in Brighton,[17] Indy Premier SC in Noblesville,[18] the Syracuse Development Academy,[19] the So Cal Crush FC in Montrose,[20] and the Calgary Foothills WFC. On March 3, 2017, the Western New York Flash announced that they would establish a team for the 2017 season. This announcement came nearly two months after the organization, who had won the 2016 NWSL Championship, sold its NWSL franchise rights and roster which formed the North Carolina Courage.[21] In April, the rebranded Rochester Lancers team joined the Flash in Western New York with a UWS side, the Rochester Lady Lancers. They effectively replaced the Flash, which moved team operations to their original home of Buffalo, in Rochester.[22]

Western contraction period

While UWS would see continued stability in the East and Midwest conferences, attempts to establish teams in the west would prove less successful. From 2017 to 2018, UWS grew from having just five teams west of the Mississippi River to having eleven, with the return of the Colorado Pride, joining of LA Galaxy OC academy, and four new teams in Texas, causing the West conference to split into a West and a Southwest conference. However, despite each conference adding a team for the 2019 season, each conference also lost two teams - including UWS founding member Real Salt Lake Women who rebranded as the Utah Royals Reserves in a return to WPSL - bringing the total number of teams west of the Mississippi to nine. Ahead of the 2020 season, four more UWS teams - Houston Aces, Colorado Pride, LAG OC, and the El Paso Surf - also left for WPSL,[23] bringing the total back down to five.

Further expansion and creation of League Two

In the 2020 off-season, UWS continued to add more clubs to the league and expanding their reach, including the creation of the Southeast Conference.[24]

On February 6, 2020, UWS announced the creation of UWS League Two, a 2nd division focused on the U20-U23 age group.[25] League Two will consist of a mix of UWS reserve teams and clubs that will be seeking to join UWS in the future. It will feature a promotion and relegation relationship with UWS starting in 2021, though the nature of how clubs will move up and down is still under discussion.[26] The Midwest conference was the first announced for the new league, with the first four teams of said conference consisting of three independent sides as well as the reserves of Detroit Sun FC.[27]

Teams

Current members

United Women's Soccer
Team Stadium City Founded Previous affiliation(s) First UWS Season
East Conference
Brooklyn City FC Steinberg Athletic Complex Brooklyn, New York 2017 expansion 2020
Connecticut Fusion Farmington Sports Arena Farmington, Connecticut 2018 expansion 2018
Lancaster Inferno FC Lancaster Catholic High School Lancaster, Pennsylvania 2008 WPSL 2016
Long Island Rough Riders Cy Donnelly Stadium South Huntington, New York 2003 W-League 2016
New England Mutiny Lusitano Stadium Ludlow, Massachusetts 1999 W-League, WPSLE, WPSL 2016
New Jersey Copa FC Mercer County Community College Metuchen, New Jersey 2015 expansion[28] 2016
Rochester Lady Lancers Marina Auto Stadium Rochester, New York 2017 expansion 2017
Syracuse Development Academy Solvay High School Solvay, New York 2004 expansion 2019
Worcester Smiles Commerce Bank Field at Foley Stadium Worcester, Massachusetts 2018 expansion 2018
Midwest Conference
East Division[29]
AFC Ann Arbor Skyline High School Ann Arbor, Michigan 2014 WPSL 2019
Detroit City FC Keyworth Stadium Hamtramck, Michigan 2019 expansion 2020
Detroit Sun FC The Corner Ball Park Detroit, Michigan 2016 expansion 2017
Michigan Legends FC Legacy Center Brighton, Michigan 2017 expansion 2017
West Division
Indiana Union Grand Park Westfield, Indiana 2017 expansion 2017
Ladies Steel City FC DuPage Medical Group Field Joliet, Illinois 2020 expansion 2020
Lansing United Archer Stadium Lansing, Michigan 2018 expansion 2018
Midwest United FC Grandville High School Grandville, Michigan 2016 expansion 2017
Muskegon Risers SC Monsignor Kehren Stadium Muskegon, Michigan 2014 expansion 2020
Southeast Conference
Orlando FC Royals TBD Casselberry, Florida 2017 UWS (Provisional) 2020
Puerto Rico Pride FC Lake Brantley High School Altamonte Springs, Florida 2017 WPSL 2020
Unity FC TBD Winter Haven, Florida 2018 UWS (Provisional) 2020
Southwest Conference
Bat Country FC Round Rock Multipurpose Complex Round Rock, Texas 2017 expansion 2020
Dallas International FC TBD Dallas, Texas 2020 expansion 2020
FC Austin Elite Round Rock Multipurpose Complex Round Rock, Texas 2016 WPSL 2018
San Antonio Athenians SC Warrior Stadium San Antonio, Texas 2017 WPSL 2019
West Conference
Calgary Foothills WFC Glenmore Athletic Park Calgary, Alberta 2015 exhibition (W-League), AMSL 2017
LA Galaxy OC Championship Soccer Stadium Irvine, California 2018 expansion 2018
Queen City United SC University of Regina Field Regina, Saskatchewan 1987 expansion 2019
Santa Clarita Blue Heat Reese Field Santa Clarita, California 2008 W-League 2016
The City FC Ramirez Field Fresno, California 2020 expansion 2020

Former members

Team Stadium City Founded Previous affiliation(s) First UWS Season Last UWS Season
Colorado Pride Washburn Field Colorado Springs, Colorado 1994 W-League 2016 2019
Colorado Storm Sports Authority Stadium Parker, Colorado 2014 W-League 2016 2016
El Paso Surf Socorro Athletic Complex El Paso, Texas 2018 expansion 2018 2019
FC Indiana Newton Park Lakeville, Indiana 2003 W-League, WLS, WPSLE, WPSL 2017 2017
Fort Wayne United FC Gryphons Hefner Stadium Fort Wayne, Indiana 2016 expansion (W-League revival) 2017 2018
Genesee FC Atwood Stadium Flint, Michigan 2018 expansion 2018 2018
HAR FC Houston Sports Park Houston, Texas 2018 expansion 2018 2018
Houston Aces Houston Sports Park Houston, Texas 2012 WPSL 2016 2019
New York Magic Mazzella Field New Rochelle, New York 1997 W-League 2016 2017
New York Surf Reinhart Field Bronx, New York 2015 WPSL 2017 2018
North Jersey Valkyries DePaul Catholic High School Wayne, New Jersey 2009 W-League 2016 2016
North Texas Image Old Panther Field Duncanville, Texas 1964 expansion 2016 2018
Real Salt Lake Women Ute Field Salt Lake City, Utah 2008 WPSLE, WPSL 2016 2018
SoCal Crush FC Crescenta Valley High School La Crescenta-Montrose, California 2017 expansion 2017 2018
Toledo Villa FC Northview High School Rossford, Ohio 2017 expansion 2017 2017
Western New York Flash All-High Stadium Buffalo, New York 2008 W-League, WPS, WPSLE, NWSL 2017 2018

UWS National Championship

Season Champions Score Runner–up
2016 Santa Clarita Blue Heat 2–1 (AET) New Jersey Copa FC
2017 Grand Rapids FC 3–1 (AET) Santa Clarita Blue Heat
2018 Houston Aces 1–0 (AET) Lancaster Inferno FC
2019 LA Galaxy OC 1–0 Calgary Foothills WFC

See also

References

  1. ^ "UWS + MyCujoo Partnership Continues to Grow the Game". www.uwssoccer.com. April 2, 2019. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Conor, Ryan (December 15, 2015). "After struggles with former league, New England Mutiny helping form new United Women's Soccer league". MassLive. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  3. ^ O'Connell, Brian (December 16, 2015). "United Women's Soccer Launches w/ NE Mutiny on Board". MassLive. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "New league, new coach: Former BYU-Hawaii soccer coach to guide RSL Women". Sean Walker. KSL. January 23, 2016. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "WPSL 2015". BigSoccer Forum.
  6. ^ a b NewEnglandMutiny (July 17, 2015). "New England Mutiny's WPSL East semifinal on Saturday moved to Connecticut". MassLive. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  7. ^ "WPSL 2015 playoffs". BigSoccer Forum.
  8. ^ "W-League". Archived from the original on November 19, 2015.
  9. ^ "New women's league plans to launch". Paul Kennedy. SoccerAmerica. December 22, 2015. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  10. ^ "Finding A Footprint: United Women's Soccer will be an East-West loop". Charles Cuttone. BigAppleSoccer.com. February 19, 2016. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  11. ^ "UWS To Form National Pro-Am Women's Soccer League In 2016". December 16, 2015.
  12. ^ "United Women's Soccer Announces West Conference". United Women's Soccer. February 5, 2016. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  13. ^ "March 2016". Facebook. Laval Comètes. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  14. ^ "To say we're unhappy". Twitter. UWS Soccer. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  15. ^ "Grand Rapids FC launches women's team for 2017 season".
  16. ^ "United Women's Soccer announces four-team expansion". December 12, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  17. ^ "Michigan Legends F.C. Added To Midwest Conference". January 5, 2017. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  18. ^ "Indy Premier Soccer Club Joins United Women's Soccer". February 12, 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  19. ^ "UWS East Welcomes Syracuse Development Academy". February 11, 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  20. ^ Admin (February 18, 2017). "So Cal Crush F.C. Joins United Women's Soccer". uwssoccer.com.
  21. ^ Admin (March 7, 2017). "Western New York Flash Join United Women's Soccer". United Women's Soccer. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  22. ^ Lewis, Michael (April 8, 2017). "IN DUPLICATE: Lancers return with men's and women's teams". Front Row Soccer. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  23. ^ https://www.wpslsoccer.com/news_article/show/1082565
  24. ^ "United Women's Soccer Expands To Southeast". United Women's Soccer. February 7, 2020. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  25. ^ "United Women's Soccer Launches League Two". United Women's Soccer. February 7, 2020. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  26. ^ Kassouf, Jeff. "UWS League Two will provide more playing opportunities… and implement promotion/relegation – Equalizer Soccer". Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  27. ^ "UWS League Two Midwest Conference". United Women's Soccer. February 22, 2020. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  28. ^ "FC Copa Academy News".
  29. ^ "Muskegon Joins UWS For 2020 Campaign". United Women's Soccer (UWS). December 23, 2019.
This page was last edited on 17 March 2020, at 14:48
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