United Women's Soccer

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United Women's Soccer
United Women's Soccer Logo.png
Founded December 16, 2015; 2 years ago (2015-12-16)
Country United States
Other club(s) from Canada
Confederation CONCACAF
Number of teams 32
Level on pyramid 2
Current champions Houston Aces (2018)
Most championships Grand Rapids FC
Houston Aces
Santa Clarita Blue Heat (1 title each)
Website Official website
2018 UWS season

United Women's Soccer (UWS, also commonly abbreviated UWoSo) is a second-division pro-am women's soccer league in the United States. The league was founded in 2015 as a response to the dual problems of disorganization in the WPSL and of the folding of the USL W-League. The league began play in May 2016[1] with eleven teams in two conferences.[2][3] The league currently has 32 teams in 5 conferences.

History

Background

In the summer of 2015, disorganization and the inability to field teams led to many last-minute changes in the WPSL playoffs.[4][5] This, combined with a general lack of competitiveness due to rapid expansion, led to frustration from many long-time WPSL teams. The 2014 WPSL final four hosts ASA Chesapeake Charge elected to skip the 2015 WPSL playoffs altogether as did the entire Sunshine division,[4] Fire & Ice SC was a no-show,[6] and the New England Mutiny published a threatening response to how WPSL as a league was run and was regressing.[5]

Later that year, the W-League suddenly announced that it would be ceasing operations.[7] There had been no outward signs that the league or its teams were struggling, but the league had been contracting steadily over the preceding several years - from 30 teams in four divisions for 2012 to just 18 teams in three divisions for 2015 - and many of the teams that had left were recent finalists (Buffalo Flash, Vancouver Whitecaps Women, Pali Blues, Ottawa Fury Women, and several Washington D.C.-area teams) leaving relatively few flagship teams.

Founding

Spearheaded by the New England Mutiny (a former member of the short-lived WPSL Elite), UWS's first five teams were leaked on December 15[1] ahead of the league's official announcement the next day;[8] UWS hopes to provide a true second division beneath the NWSL. Negotiations to create the league since the beginning of the WPSL/W-League offseason, with plans that the league will be a national league of two conferences. The eight founding teams, all in the northeastern US and eastern Canada, were the Mutiny, fellow WPSL breakaway Lancaster Inferno, the W-League teams Laval Comets, Long Island Rough Riders, New York Magic, North Jersey Valkyries, and Quebec Dynamo ARSQ looking for a new league, and the expansion team New Jersey Copa FC.[9]

UWS will be sanctioned through USASA,[10] as the W-League and WPSL were.

Early years

Between founding and the beginning of the inaugural season, hints of the desired second Western conference came to light in late January and was made official on February 5, with the first five revealed teams being Real Salt Lake Women and Houston Aces (both previously of WPSL), and the Santa Clarita Blue Heat, the Colorado Storm, and the Colorado Pride (all previously of the W-League).[3][11]

On March 9, 2016, it was announced that the Canadian Soccer Association would not sanction teams in Laval & Quebec for play in UWS, leaving the league with only 11 teams for its inaugural season.[12][13]

On November 1, 2016, Grand Rapids FC announced they would add a women's team, which would begin play in 2017 in a new Midwest division of United Women's Soccer.[14] Three more Midwest teams (FC Indiana, Fort Wayne United Soccer Club, and the Detroit Sun FC) were announced a month later, with the desire to add more mentioned.[15] Further expansion ahead of the 2017 season included the Michigan Legends FC in Brighton,[16] Indy Premier SC in Noblesville,[17] the Syracuse Development Academy,[18] the So Cal Crush FC in Montrose,[19] and the Calgary Foothills WFC. On March 3, 2017, the Western New York Flash announced that they would establish a team for the 2017 season. This announcement came nearly two months after the organization, who had won the 2016 NWSL Championship, sold its NWSL franchise rights and roster which formed the North Carolina Courage.[20] In April, the rebranded Rochester Lancers team joined the Flash in Western New York with a UWS side, the Rochester Lady Lancers. They effectively replaced the Flash, which moved team operations to their original home of Buffalo, in Rochester.[21]


Teams

Current members

United Women's Soccer
Team Stadium City Founded Previous affiliation(s) First UWS Season
East Conference
Connecticut Fusion Farmington Sports Arena Farmington, Connecticut 2018 expansion 2018
Inferno Rush FC Pucillo Field Millersville, Pennsylvania 2008 WPSL 2016
Long Island Rough Riders Cy Donnelly Stadium South Huntington, New York 2003 W-League 2016
New England Mutiny Harmon Smith Stadium Agawam, Massachusetts 1999 W-League, WPSLE, WPSL 2016
New Jersey Copa FC Mercer County Community College Metuchen, New Jersey 2015 expansion[22] 2016
New York Surf Reinhart Field Bronx, New York 2015 WPSL 2017
Rochester Lady Lancers Marina Auto Stadium Rochester, New York 2017 expansion 2017
Western New York Flash All-High Stadium Buffalo, New York 2008 W-League, WPS, WPSLE, NWSL 2017
Worcester Smiles Commerce Bank Field at Foley Stadium Worcester, Massachusetts 2018 expansion 2018
Midwest Conference
Detroit Sun FC Ultimate Soccer Arenas Pontiac, Michigan 2016 expansion 2017
Fort Wayne United FC Gryphons Hefner Stadium Fort Wayne, Indiana 2016 expansion (W-League revival) 2017
Genesee FC Atwood Stadium Flint, Michigan 2018 expansion 2018
Grand Rapids FC Grandville High School Grandville, Michigan 2016 expansion 2017
Indy Premier SC Trinity Sports Park Noblesville, Indiana 2017 expansion 2017
Lansing United Archer Stadium Lansing, Michigan 2018 expansion 2018
Michigan Legends FC Legacy Center Brighton, Michigan 2017 expansion 2017
Southwest Conference
ASA El Paso Socorro Athletic Complex El Paso, Texas 2018 expansion 2018
FC Austin Elite Round Rock Multipurpose Complex Round Rock, Texas 2016 WPSL 2018
HAR FC Houston Sports Park Houston, Texas 2018 expansion 2018
Houston Aces Houston Sports Park Houston, Texas 2012 WPSL 2016
North Texas Image Old Panther Field Duncanville, Texas 1964 expansion 2016
West Conference
Calgary Foothills WFC Glenmore Athletic Park Calgary, Alberta 2015 exhibition (W-League), AMSL 2017
Colorado Pride Washburn Field Colorado Springs, Colorado 1994 W-League 2016
LA Galaxy OC Orange County Great Park Irvine, California 2018 expansion 2018
Real Salt Lake Women Ute Field Salt Lake City, Utah 2008 WPSLE, WPSL 2016
Santa Clarita Blue Heat Reese Field Santa Clarita, California 2008 W-League 2016
SoCal Crush FC Crescenta Valley High School La Crescenta-Montrose, California 2017 expansion 2017
Provisional Southeast Conference
Cosmos FC Econ Soccer Complex Orlando, Florida 2007 exhibition 2018
North Florida Reign Lake Mary High School Lake Mary, Florida 2018 expansion 2018
Orlando FC Royals Montverde Academy Montverde, Florida 2016 WPSL 2018
Orlando Kicks Saint Francis High School Gainesville, Florida 2015 WPSL 2018
Winter Haven United FC Econ Soccer Complex Orlando, Florida 2017 exhibition 2018

Former members

Team Stadium City Founded Previous affiliation(s) First UWS Season Last UWS Season
Colorado Storm Sports Authority Stadium Parker, Colorado 2014 W-League 2016 2016
FC Indiana Newton Park Lakeville, Indiana 2003 W-League, WLS, WPSLE, WPSL 2017 2017
New York Magic Mazzella Field New Rochelle, New York 1997 W-League 2016 2017
North Jersey Valkyries DePaul Catholic High School Wayne, New Jersey 2009 W-League 2016 2016
Toledo Villa FC Northview High School Rossford, Ohio 2017 expansion 2017 2017

UWS National Championship

Season Champions Score Runner–up
2016 Santa Clarita Blue Heat 2–1 (AET) New Jersey Copa FC
2017 Grand Rapids FC 3–1 (AET) Santa Clarita Blue Heat
2018 Houston Aces 1–0 (AET) Lancaster Inferno Rush FC

References

  1. ^ a b Conor, Ryan (December 15, 2015). "After struggles with former league, New England Mutiny helping form new United Women's Soccer league". MassLive. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  2. ^ O'Connell, Brian (December 16, 2015). "United Women's Soccer Launches w/ NE Mutiny on Board". MassLive. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "New league, new coach: Former BYU-Hawaii soccer coach to guide RSL Women". Sean Walker. KSL. January 23, 2016. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "WPSL 2015". BigSoccer Forum.
  5. ^ a b NewEnglandMutiny (July 17, 2015). "New England Mutiny's WPSL East semifinal on Saturday moved to Connecticut". MassLive. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  6. ^ "WPSL 2015 playoffs". BigSoccer Forum.
  7. ^ "W-League". Archived from the original on November 19, 2015.
  8. ^ "New women's league plans to launch". Paul Kennedy. SoccerAmerica. December 22, 2015. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  9. ^ "Finding A Footprint: United Women's Soccer will be an East-West loop". Charles Cuttone. BigAppleSoccer.com. February 19, 2016. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  10. ^ "UWS To Form National Pro-Am Women's Soccer League In 2016". December 16, 2015.
  11. ^ "United Women's Soccer Announces West Conference". United Women's Soccer. February 5, 2016. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  12. ^ "March 2016". Facebook. Laval Comètes. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  13. ^ "To say we're unhappy". Twitter. UWS Soccer. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  14. ^ "Grand Rapids FC launches women's team for 2017 season".
  15. ^ "United Women's Soccer announces four-team expansion". December 12, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  16. ^ "Michigan Legends F.C. Added To Midwest Conference". January 5, 2017. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  17. ^ "Indy Premier Soccer Club Joins United Women's Soccer". February 12, 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  18. ^ "UWS East Welcomes Syracuse Development Academy". February 11, 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  19. ^ Admin (February 18, 2017). "So Cal Crush F.C. Joins United Women's Soccer". uwssoccer.com.
  20. ^ Admin (March 7, 2017). "Western New York Flash Join United Women's Soccer". United Women's Soccer. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  21. ^ Lewis, Michael (April 8, 2017). "IN DUPLICATE: Lancers return with men's and women's teams". Front Row Soccer. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  22. ^ "FC Copa Academy News".
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