The Indy Eleven on Friday announced it will field a women’s soccer team in a new league started by the United Soccer League.
The “pre-professional,” or developmental league, called the USL W League, is expected to have at least 30 teams when it begins play in May 2022. At least 17 teams have already committed to the league.
The announcement from the Eleven said details were still being determined on the team’s name, logo, home venue and training facilities, and staffing.
“Indy Eleven has long desired to take a tangible step towards representation in the women’s game, and we are proud to partner with the United Soccer League and the W League to make that a reality,” Indy Eleven President and CEO Greg Stremlaw said in written remarks. “Indy Eleven is eager to do our part in growing women’s soccer here in Indiana and, just as is the case with our USL Championship team, fulfilling our aim to be the premier club in the USL W League both on and off the field starting in 2022.”
The USL is making a push to create more opportunities for women in soccer. Earlier this week, it announced it was creating the W-League and a second-division professional league called the USL Super League, which will begin play in 2023.
“Our goal for the W League is to use women’s soccer as a force for societal good by creating a national platform to increase opportunity, gender equity and career development,” said USL Director of Women’s Soccer Betsy Haugh in written comments. “We’re expecting to have at least 30 clubs for our inaugural season, which would provide upwards of 750 new opportunities to play, work and coach in the women’s game. We’re very excited about what the future holds.”
The Super League hopes to be sanctioned to compete just below the top-tier National Women’s Soccer League, which has been playing for almost a decade.