The National Women’s Soccer League will expand to Louisville, marking the first time in decades that the city will have a top-tier pro sports team.
City and soccer league officials made the announcement Tuesday at the Lynn Family Stadium, scheduled to be completed in 2020 and where the new team will play. It will be owned and managed by Soccer Holdings LLC, which owns the Lynn Family Stadium as well as Louisville City FC, a men’s team in the United Soccer League.
The team has not yet been named; it’s expected to begin playing in 2021.
National Women’s Soccer League President Amanda Duffy said they chose to expand to Louisville because of the city’s facilities and commitment to soccer.
“When we evaluate expansion opportunities, we take into consideration the ownership — the investment that the ownership makes into the community, the facilities, the resources,” Duffy said. “So for the state-of-the-art stadium to be already under construction and ready to play in for the 2020 season was an important piece to the decision-making process.”
Mayor Greg Fischer said the team would inspire female soccer players.
“It’s going to be a source of great inspiration for everybody in our city, but particularly for our girls and young women in our community,” Fischer said. “They can look up to [the team] and say, ‘Hey, if they do it, I can do that.’”
The National Women’s Soccer League started with eight teams in 2013, and has since expanded to nine teams of more than 200 soccer players from around the world. Louisville’s team will be the tenth. Per a press release, this is the first time Louisville has had a pro sports team at the highest level of its sport since the Kentucky Colonels basketball team dissolved in 1976.
Louisville City FC President Brad Estes said they are moving quickly to hire a general manager and technical staff for the new team.