USL W-League

The USL W-League was a North American women's soccer developmental organization.[1] The W-League was also an open league, giving college players the opportunity to play alongside established international players while maintaining their collegiate eligibility. The league was administered by the United Soccer Leagues system (the USL), which also oversees the men's United Soccer League and Premier Development League. The W-League announced on November 6, 2015 that the league will cease operation ahead of 2016 season.[2][3]

USL W-League
Founded1995
Folded2015
CountryUnited States
Canada
ConfederationCONCACAF
Level on pyramid2
Promotion toNone
Relegation toNone
Last championsWashington Spirit Reserves
Most championshipsLos Angeles Blues
(4 titles)

History

The W-League's inaugural season was in 1995. Originally called the United States Interregional Women's League, it later changed its name to the W-League. Although at its inception some of the league's franchises were barely above amateur level, it provided a professional outlet for many of the top female soccer players in the country. With professionals driving the level of play, the league made a very strong debut performance.

From 1995 through the 1997 season the W-League was a single tier format (all teams at the same division). This changed before the 1998 season when the W-League became a two tier league. The top tier/division was called W-1 and lower division, W-2. This division was in effect through the 2001 season – the first year of the new US Women's first division league WUSA. The W-League returned to a single tier format in the 2002 season.

The W-League grew to a maximum of 41 teams for the 2008 season, but then began contracting rapidly. By the time the league suspended operations in 2015, there were three, six-team conferences.[4] Of those 18 teams, eight went on to found United Women's Soccer[5] (though the two Canadian teams were denied entry) and another seven joined the WPSL[6][7]

Teams

127 unique teams participated in the W-League over the course of its history. Fifteen still existed (at varying levels of activity) as of 2019.

[8]

W-League member(alt.name/merger†)   WUSA / WPS / NWSL   WPSL-WLS-UWS   inactive / exhibition / other   (*) indicates championship

Past champions

For 1998 through 2001 the W-League was divided into two divisions: W-1 (the top division) W-2 (the lower division). The numbers in parentheses indicate the number of titles a club has won if they have won multiple titles. Click on year for W-League season summaries.

References

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