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USL to debut women’s second-division pro league in 2023

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TAMPA, Fla. -- The United Soccer League is launching a professional women’s league that will compete as a second division below the top-tier National Women’s Soccer League.

The USL Super League will begin play in 2023. The organization plans to apply to U.S. Soccer for Division II sanctioning.

The USL is also launching a preprofessional W-League for women next year. With the addition of the Super League, the USL will have a pathway for players that stretches from youth teams to the pros.

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The Super League aims to have compensation and standards on par with the men’s USL pro leagues.

“In our country there are seven times as many professional soccer teams for men than there are for women,” Betsy Haugh, USL director of women’s soccer operations, said in a statement Tuesday. “We are going to improve that ratio, and we invite players and fans to join us in building a new, outstanding level of women’s soccer.”

The W-League has already announced 16 participating clubs and expects more to join before the launch next year.

The NWSL is the top tier of women’s soccer in the United States. The league is in its ninth year.