USL W-League (1995–2015)

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USL W-League
CountryUnited States
Number of teams8
Level on pyramid2
Promotion toNone
Relegation toNone
Last championsWashington Spirit Reserves
Most championshipsLos Angeles Blues
(4 titles)

The USL W-League was a North American amateur women's soccer developmental organization. The league was a semi-professional,[1][2] 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.[3][4]

After the popularity of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, though, USL began considerations for a new professional women's league; this effort eventually returned to the re-establishing of the league as the USL W League.


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.[5] Of those 18 teams, eight went on to found United Women's Soccer[6] (though the two Canadian teams were denied entry) and another seven joined the WPSL.[7][8]

The revival of the W-League as the USL W League was announced on June 8, 2021,[9] with eight founding teams due to begin play in 2022,[10] none of which were revivals of teams from the original iteration of the W-League. Instead, many were associate with USL League One organizations.


127 unique teams participated in the W-League over the course of its history. Fifteen still existed (at varying levels of activity) as of 2019.


Charlotte Lady EaglesOttawa Fury FCReal Colorado CougarsCincinnati LadyhawksOklahoma OutrageKentucky FilliesNew Brunswick Power (W-League)Northern Virginia MajesticsCarolina Dynamo (W-League)Toronto InfernoJacksonville JadeNew England MutinySpringfield SirensHouston TornadoesNorth Texas HeatAustin Lady Lone StarsNew York MagicNew Hampshire Lady PhantomsNew Jersey Lady StallionsRaleigh WingsMiami GlidersKalamazoo QuestOrlando LadyhawksFinger Lakes HeartbreakersTampa Bay XtremeLaval DynamitesIndiana BlazeDelaware GeniesAtlanta ClassicsJackson ChargersCharlotte SpeedCentral Jersey SplashGulf Coast ChaosNew Jersey WildcatsRochester RavensChicago Red ElevenCleveland EclipseDenver DiamondsBuffalo FFilliesAlabama AngelsSilicon Valley Red DevilsNorcal ShockwavesMadison FreezeLehigh Valley CougarsLong Island Rough Riders (W-League)Virginia Beach PiranhasBoston RenegadesArizona HeatwaveRhode Island Lady StingraysMaryland PrideRockford DactylsConnecticut Lady WolvesColumbus ZiggxSan Francisco NighthawksCalifornia StormPhiladelphia FrenzyDallas LightningSouthern California NitemaresWichita Lady BluesTulsa Roughnecks (W-League)San Diego Top GunsMass Bay CrusadersCincinnati Leopards
Colorado StormColorado PrideBraddock Road Stars EliteArizona Strikers FCGulf Coast TexansBay Area BreezeVSI Tampa Bay FC (W-League)Carolina Elite CobrasDayton Dutch Lions WFCLos Angeles StrikersFredericksburg ImpactVictoria Highlanders WomenWashington Spirit ReservesWashington SpiritD.C. United WomenSanta Clarita Blue HeatNorth Jersey ValkyriesColorado Rush WomenQuebec Dynamo ARSQBuffalo FlashPali BluesNew Jersey RangersTampa Bay HellenicKalamazoo Outrage (W-League)Los Angeles Legends (W-League)FC IndianaConnecticut PassionCary Lady ClaretsWest Virginia IllusionHudson Valley Quickstrike Lady BluesFredericksburg Lady GunnersLaval CometsK-W United FC (W-League)Minnesota LightningWashington Freedom FuturesWashington Freedom (soccer)Cocoa Expos WomenAtlanta Silverbacks WomenToronto Lady LynxVermont Lady VoltageSan Diego SunwavesCentral Florida KrushLondon GryphonsCleveland Internationals WomenWestern Mass Lady PioneersRichmond Kickers DestinyFort Wayne United Soccer ClubFort Wayne Fever (W-League)Michigan HawksBradenton AthleticsSudbury CanadiansSt. Louis ArchersMontreal XtremeEdmonton Aviators WomenCalgary WildfireVancouver Whitecaps FC (women)Columbus Lady Shooting StarsSeattle Sounders WomenAsheville SplashNorthern Kentucky TC StarsAlbuquerque CrushMile High EdgeSouth Jersey BansheesWindy City BluezMemphis MercuryKansas City MysticsPortland RainTexas Odyssey

W-League member(†)   WUSA / WPS / NWSL   WPSL-WLS-UWS   inactive / exhibition / other   (*) indicates championship

Past champions[edit]

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.


  1. ^ Jenna Pel, Onwards and Upwards: A Conversation With the W-League's Melanie Fitzgerald Part 1,, May 6, 2010
  2. ^ Kassouf, Jeff (November 6, 2015). "USL W-League, once top flight, folds after 21 seasons". The Equalizer. Archived from the original on March 14, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2020. From its formation in 1995 until the start of the Women's United Soccer Association — the first U.S. professional league — in 2001, the USL W-League was the top flight of soccer in the United States. It returned to that status upon the folding of the WUSA following the 2003 season, and remained the top flight — all as a semi-professional league — until Women's Professional Soccer began in 2009.
  3. ^ "W-League". Archived from the original on November 19, 2015.
  4. ^ "Equalizer Soccer – USL W-League, once top flight, folds after 21 seasons".
  5. ^ "United Soccer Leagues (USL)". Archived from the original on September 8, 2015.
  6. ^ "UWS To Form National Pro-Am Women's Soccer League In 2016". United Women's Soccer. December 16, 2015.
  9. ^ "United Soccer League to Launch W League in 2022".
  10. ^ "USL W League Unveils Eight Inaugural Member Clubs".
  11. ^ Rizakis, Kris (February 25, 2010). "THE GRAND LIST, A - G". RSSSF. Retrieved June 7, 2023.
  12. ^[bare URL]