About NWSL

The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) is a professional women's soccer league at the top of the United States league system. It began to play in 2013 with eight teams, four of which were former members of Women's Professional Soccer (WPS), the top division of women's soccer in the U.S. that was founded in 2007 and folded in 2012. The NWSL is overseen by the United States Soccer Federation and receives financial backing from that organization. Several clubs are owned by Major League Soccer teams. The NWSL was established in 2012 as a successor to Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS), which was founded in 2007 and featured seven clubs throughout its three seasons of operation. The league is sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), Canada Soccer Association (CSA), and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF). 

At the time of its launch, the NWSL had eight clubs: the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Kansas City, Portland Thorns FC, Seattle Reign FC, Sky Blue FC, Washington Spirit, and Western New York Flash. The league featured standards-based player allocation that saw the USSF, CSA, and FMF determine the distribution of national team players to the clubs. The league's first season began on April 13, 2013. Sky Blue FC won the inaugural regular season title with a record of 12-6-6. The NWSL's second season features nine teams and began on April 12, 2014. The Houston Dash joined the league as an expansion team, while Portland Thorns FC and the Western New York Flash relocated to new stadiums. The Chicago Red Stars, Sky Blue FC, and Washington Spirit each moved to different locations within their home cities. 

The NWSL's third season began on April 10, 2015, with eight clubs. FC Kansas City won their second consecutive regular season title with a record of 13-5-6. The 2016 season saw two expansion teams join the league, the Orlando Pride and the Houston Dash, while the Boston Breakers ceased operations. FC Kansas City repeated as regular season champions with a 12-6-6 record. The 2017 season will again feature 10 clubs, with the addition of the North Carolina Courage, who relocated from Western New York. The 2017 season is set to begin on April 15. As the NWSL enters its fifth season in 2017, it continues to grow and establish itself as the premier professional women’s soccer league in North America. The league has seen steady growth in both attendance and television ratings, while also expanding its reach through social media and digital platforms. The 2017 season will feature 10 clubs, with each team playing 24 games. 

The season will culminate with the NWSL Playoffs, which will take place in October. The NWSL has continued to attract some of the best players in the world, with many of the league’s players competing for their respective national teams. In 2016, there were 22 NWSL players on the U.S. Women’s National Team roster for the Rio Olympics, while Canada and Mexico each had 12 NWSL representatives on their Olympic rosters. The NWSL is also home to several world-renowned players, including U.S. Women’s National Team stars Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, and Megan Rapinoe. Canadian internationals Christine Sinclair and Ashley Lawrence also call the NWSL home, as do Brazilian star Marta and English star Lucy Bronze. With its continued growth and development, the NWSL is poised to continue its ascent as one of the top professional women’s soccer leagues in the world.

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