November 7, 2015
By Charles Cuttone
Could not field enough teams for 2016
Yet another women's soccer league has ceased operations. The W-League announced it will fold, and not stage a 2016 season.
The league, which was part of the United Soccer Leagues, has been in operation since 1995, the oldest women's league in the country. During the 2015 season, it operated with 18 teams across the country with the Washington Spirit Reserves winning the league championship in July.
The USL will continue to field clubs at the Super Y level, for players 12-18 but in a statement said: "After an exhausting effort by both the league and its current team owners, there proved an insufficient number of teams to facilitate play in 2016 at the consistent league standards of quality and competition that has been the W-League’s trademark throughout its history."
The 18 teams that operated last year were grouped in three widely spread conferences. Teams in the league have already started marking other plans for fielding clubs in 20016. The New Jersey Wildcats, one of the original members of the W-League announced Saturday morning it was joining the Women's Premier Soccer League.
While operating as a pro-am league, the W-League filled in the gaps for women's soccer before there was a professional league, and in between operations of the top flight leagues that have existed. Forty-three players selected by the United States, Canada and Mexico for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup had previously played in the W-League, including 17 members of the U.S. squad that claimed its third championship this past summer.
While the United Soccer League has expanded to 30 teams, none of the clubs in the men's division III league have fielded teams in the W-League.