USL W-League

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USL W-League
250px
Country United States
Canada
Confederation CONCACAF
Founded 1995
Folded 2015
Level on pyramid 2
Promotion to None
Relegation to None
Last champions Washington Spirit Reserves
Most championships Los Angeles Blues
(4 titles)

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]

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] and another seven joined the WPSL[6][7]

Teams

127 unique teams participated in the W-League over the course of its history, 23 still exist (at varying levels of activity) as of Spring 2016.

[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

  1. Jenna Pel, Onwards and Upwards: A Conversation With the W-League's Melanie Fitzgerald Part 1, http://www.allwhitekit.com/?p=746 , May 6, 2010
  2. "W-League". Archived from the original on 19 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Equalizer Soccer – USL W-League, once top flight, folds after 21 seasons".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "United Soccer Leagues (USL)". Archived from the original on 8 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "UWS To Form National Pro-Am Women's Soccer League In 2016". United Women's Soccer.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "WOMEN'S PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE - THE LARGEST NATIONAL WOMEN'S SOCCER LEAGUE IN THE WORLD".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "NEW TEAMS, NEW CITIES, NEW STATES".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. http://homepages.sover.net/~spectrum/usl-w.html