Women's football in the United States has a long, storied history and has seen it's fair share of success. We are all quite aware of the success that the United States Women's National Team (USWNT) has had, and that third star sure looks pretty amazing on the jersey.
But professional leagues in the USA have had their troubles.
A brief history of top flight Women's Soccer in the United States:
The Women's United Soccer Association--the league was founded in 2000 with its first season commencing in the Spring of 2001. The league featured some of the biggest names in world soccer including Mia Hamm. The league folded in 2003 after sustaining massive financial losses. Three total seasons were played.
Women's Professional Soccer--this league was formed in 2007 with its first season in 2009. Like its predecessor, the WPS struggled to get a foothold financially and folded before the 2012 season. The reasons for the folding of the league had to do with a disagreement with an owner and lack of financial resources in the league. Three total seasons were played.
National Women's Soccer League--this is the current league in the United States and has the backing of US Soccer, but also support from the Canadian Soccer Association and Mexico Football Federation. The league has completed three seasons so far and appears to be doing much better than previous attempts. A few of the franchises are backed by Major League Soccer teams so this has led to greater success and stability for the league. And, of course, former Colorado Rapids executive Jeff Plush is the commissioner of NWSL.
After the success of the USWNT this summer, women's soccer is on a high and with that there is some exciting news from the #OneClub. Today, the Carolina Rapids (A Rapids adidas Alliance partner) announced this via their website:
Carolina Rapids Soccer Club is delighted to announce our membership in the Women's Premier Soccer League starting 2016.
The Women's Premier Soccer League is an independent highly competitive national league whose main focus is on the development of highly competitive premier women's soccer teams. The League has over 70 teams participating from all over the United States. The Women's Premier Soccer League is the official Division 2 status in the country.
This is a significant step for our girls program at the Carolina Rapids. WPSL teams roster college, post-college, foreign players and talented high school players every year; this is not a youth program. The team will be comprised of the top talent in the Greater Charlotte Area and will play their home games locally.
The team will be officially called the Carolina Lady Rapids
So what is the WPSL exactly? Well, as the release from the Carolina Rapids states, it is the second tier of women's soccer in the United States. In 2015, there were 82 teams that competed in the WPSL in 12 different divisions with the Chicago Red Stars Reserves winning the season title.
The Carolina Rapids are part of the Rapids adidas Alliance and with the addition of the Carolina Lady Rapids, that alliance continues to grow.
In 2016, we will be covering the Carolina Lady Rapids in the WPSL as part of our overall #OneClub coverage and we welcome them to the ever expanding #OneClub.