NWSL announces expansion to Louisville; club set to begin play in 2021

NWSL Louisville
The National Women's Soccer League is heading to Louisville. Photo courtesy of the NWSL.

Louisville, Kentucky — Louisville, welcome to the National Women’s Soccer League. On Tuesday afternoon, news officially broke that Louisville was awarded a club within the league. However, Louisville will not begin play in the NWSL until 2021.

There are rumors that Sacramento will be the league’s 10th team in 2020. However, no official announcement has been made on the California team.

For now, it’s about celebrating Louisville. The city began their journey in professional soccer in June 2014. Since then, Louisville has accumulated much success. In their five seasons in the USL and USL Championship, Louisville has always made the playoffs. Even more, Louisville picked up back-to-back USL wins in 2017 and 2018.

Brad Estes, Louisville City FC team president, acknowledged that success.

“We’re not here to just join the party,” Estes said. “In this club, in this town, we lift trophies. Period.”

Amanda Duffy, current NWSL president, is a former employee of Louisville City FC. She joined the club in October 2014, Duffy became the vice president of operations. Then, she moved into the general manager role in December 2014. One year later, Duffy became the club’s president.

“We’re excited to welcome you into our league,” Duffy said. The NWSL president went on to say that she has high expectations for Louisville’s fans, who have previously impressed her before. After Duffy spoke, John Neace, Louisville City FC chairman, said that bringing NWSL Louisville has been a dream come true.

“One question we have always gotten asked is, ‘When are we going to get tier-one soccer in Louisville,'” Neace said. “Well, I like to say we did it… I wanted to yell, ‘Yo, Amanda! We did it!'”

Mayor Greg Fischer applauds Duffy

It all seemed like a dream at first.

However, Louisville mayor Greg Fischer said that having NWSL in Louisville is a dream come true. He nodded to the new stadium that is being built, called Lynn Family Stadium. Mayor Fischer gave a nod to Duffy and the work she’s previously done for Louisville City FC.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone,” Fischer said. “Amanda, our city is proud of you. You got the big job now. But, we wouldn’t be here without you in the beginning of the journey and where you’re at now.”

Estes said that the team will have a training area for both the men’s and women’s team. Estes also mentioned that while logistics and numbers are being figured out, there will likely be joint packages between both teams.

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