New women’s pro league planned

November 21, 2012

Undeterred by two failed attempts in the past decade, soccer organizers announced Wednesday plans for a first-division national pro women’s league starting in the spring.

Washington is among eight teams, joining Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, New Jersey, Portland, Rochester and Seattle. The league will feature about 24 players from the gold medal-winning U.S. national team, 16 from Canada’s program (2012 bronze medal) and 12 from Mexico, the third-best team in CONCACAF.

The Washington franchise will be overseen by the same group that has operated D.C. United Women, a two-year-old, second-tier club based at Maryland SoccerPlex in Montgomery County. That team will continue to play in the W-League as a reserve team to the new pro squad. Neither will use D.C. United in its nickname. (United had licensed its name but didn’t have a formal relationship with the women’s operation.)

The first-division squad will play in the new league at the SoccerPlex. Season tickets will go on sale next week.

The U.S. Soccer Federation will operate the unnamed league and receive financial assistance from the Canadian and Mexican governing bodies.

Stadiums and private investors were not disclosed. Each team will play 22 regular season matches.

The Women’s United Soccer Association, featuring Mia Hamm and other stars of the U.S. golden generation, lasted three seasons (2001-03). Women’s Professional Soccer also went under after three years, folding after the 2011 season.

The Washington Freedom played at RFK Stadium while competing in the WUSA and then at Maryland SoccerPlex in WPS.

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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Steven Goff | November 21, 2012