Women's Premier Soccer League Elite
The Women's Premier Soccer League Elite (WPSL Elite) was a women's semi-professional soccer league created by the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) to support the sport in the United States, both from continued interest by WPSL teams in professionalism and as a response to the suspension (and ultimate demise) of the WPS.
|Confederation||CONCACAF (North America)|
|Number of teams||8|
|Level on pyramid||1|
For the 2012 season, the league featured former WPS teams, Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, and Western New York Flash, in addition to many WPSL teams primarily located in the northeast and midwest regions of the United States. Six of the eight teams were considered fully professional though the actual status of several teams has been disputed. Western WPSL teams were expected to join the Elite League starting in 2013.
|2012||Western New York Flash||Chicago Red Stars|
|ASA Chesapeake Charge||Multiple locales in MD.||NCAA compliant||2012||2012||WPSL|
|Boston Breakers||Somerville, Massachusetts||professional||2012||2008||WPS|
|Chicago Red Stars||Lisle, Illinois||disputed||2012||2007||WPS, WPSL|
|FC Indiana Lionesses||Indianapolis, Indiana||professional||2012||2000||W-League, WPSL|
|New England Mutiny||Agawam, Massachusetts||disputed||2012||1999||WPSL|
|New York Fury||Hempstead, New York||professional||2012||2011||WPSL|
|Philadelphia Fever||Multiple locales in N.J. & PA.||NCAA compliant||2012||2012||none|
|Western New York Flash||Rochester, New York||professional||2012||2008||WPS|
Before the announcement of the formation of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), a Western conference of the league was planned to begin competition in 2013. Five teams - the San Diego WFC SeaLions, the Los Angeles Vikings, the California Storm, the Bay Area Breeze, and an unnamed team from Seattle - were reportedly committed to joining. Three other cities - Phoenix, Dallas, and Houston - had also voiced interest in joining WPSLE.
Originally, it was leaked that five teams were slated to join the ASA Chesapeake Charge and FC Indiana in the 2013 of WPSL Elite. Later, the WPSL Elite website revealed six teams - the Charge, FC Indiana, the California Storm, the Houston Aces, Jersey Sky Blues, and the San Diego SeaLions - would take place in the "WPSL Elite League Cup", a series of games played in addition to regular WPSL games; the Houston Aces even had these games on the schedule page of their website. However, organization apparently fell through, and the WPSL-Elite was ultimately disbanded.
Of the six teams, two (Indiana and Jersey) did not rejoin WPSL for the 2013 season. The other four all won their respective divisions and made it to their regions' respective finals (as did the New England Mutiny). There were unfulfilled plans to revive the WPSL Elite for the 2014 season.
Before the 2015 WPSL season, the Real Salt Lake Women advertised that they would be participating in a 12-team WPSL Elite with 10 regular season games per team. Like the suggested WPSL Elite season suggested by the Houston Aces in 2013, though, the season did not appear to materialize. However, after the regular WPSL playoffs, a WPSL Elite Final was played between RSL Women and the San Francisco Nighthawks, which was hosted and won by RSL. No official qualification to the match was ever announced, and the match score was not published on the WPSL site for weeks. Further talk of officially reviving the WPSL Elite has continued in the wake of the folding of the W-League in the fall of 2015, though signs point to both Zanelli and a majority of WPSL teams against the idea of a tiered WPSL. RSL and Houston would join the newly formed United Women's Soccer before the beginning of its inaugural 2016 season, joining former WPSLE member the Mutiny in the new league. FC Indiana similarly joined UWS the following year.
The Elite League featured a standard home-and-away double round robin format, with a separate postseason from the regular WPSL playoffs. The Elite League's playoffs involved four teams in two-leg aggregate series.
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- Admin (5 February 2016). "United Women's Soccer Announces West Conference". UWS. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
- Forrester, Nick (12 December 2016). "United Women's Soccer announces four-team expansion". Excelle Sports. Retrieved 14 December 2016.