United Women's Soccer

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United Women's Soccer
United Women's Soccer logo red CMYK.svg
FoundedDecember 16, 2015; 7 years ago (2015-12-16)
CountryMetuchen, New Jersey, United States
Other club(s) fromCanada
Number of teams45 (D1)
49 (D2)
Level on pyramid2 (Provisional)
Current championsChicago Mustangs (2022)
Most championshipsSanta Clarita Blue Heat (2)
TV partnersEleven Sports
Current: 2022 UWS season

United Women's Soccer (UWS, also commonly abbreviated UWS) 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 original USL W-League. The league began play in May 2016[1] with eleven teams in two conferences.[2][3] The first league currently has 45 teams in 6 conferences and second league currently has 49 teams in 6 conferences.



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 USL 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.


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 FC, 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.

Rapid early growth[edit]

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]

Western contraction period[edit]

While UWS would see continued stability in the East and Midwest conferences, attempts to establish teams in the west would prove less successful. From 2017 to 2018, UWS grew from having just five teams west of the Mississippi River to having eleven, with the return of the Colorado Pride, joining of LA Galaxy OC academy, and four new teams in Texas, causing the West conference to split into a West and a Southwest conference. However, despite each conference adding a team for the 2019 season, each conference also lost two teams - including UWS founding member Real Salt Lake Women who rebranded as the Utah Royals Reserves in a return to WPSL - bringing the total number of teams west of the Mississippi to nine. Ahead of the 2020 season, four more UWS teams - Houston Aces, Colorado Pride, LAG OC, and the El Paso Surf - also left for WPSL,[22] bringing the total back down to five.

Further expansion and creation of League Two[edit]

In the 2020 off-season, UWS continued to add more clubs to the league and expanding their reach, including the creation of the Southeast Conference.[23]

On February 6, 2020, UWS announced the creation of UWS League Two, a 2nd division focused on the U20-U23 age group.[24][25] League Two will consist of a mix of UWS reserve teams and clubs that will be seeking to join UWS in the future. It will feature a promotion and relegation relationship with UWS starting in 2021, though the nature of how clubs will move up and down is still under discussion.[26] The Midwest conference was the first announced for the new league, with the first four teams of said conference consisting of three independent sides as well as the reserves of Detroit Sun FC.[27]

League One[edit]

Team Stadium City Founded First UWS Season
Central Conference
FC Wichita Stryker Soccer Complex Wichita, Kansas 2020 2021
Gretna Elite Academy UNO Caniglia Field Omaha, Nebraska 2018 2021
KC Courage Rockhurst University Kansas City, Missouri 2014 2021
Sporting Nebraska FC TBD Papillion, Nebraska 2008 2022
Springfield Demize Cooper Sports Complex Springfield, Missouri 2003 2021
St. Louis Scott Gallagher West Community Stadium St. Louis, Missouri 2020 2021
East Conference
Albany Rush Albany, New York 2021[28] 2021
Brooklyn City FC Steinberg Athletic Complex Brooklyn, New York 2017 2020
Connecticut Fusion Farmington Sports Arena Farmington, Connecticut 2018 2018
Connecticut Rush New Haven, Connecticut 2021[29] 2021
Erie Commodores FC Erie Sports Center Erie, Pennsylvania 2021 2022
FC Buffalo All-High Stadium Buffalo, New York 2021 2021
FC Berlin Buffalo State College Buffalo, New York 2022 2022
Lancaster Inferno FC Pucillo Field Millersville, Pennsylvania 2008 2016
Long Island Rough Riders Hofstra University Soccer Stadium Hempstead, New York 2003 2016
New England Mutiny Lusitano Stadium Ludlow, Massachusetts 1999 2016
New Jersey Copa FC Mercer County Community College Metuchen, New Jersey 2015 2016
New Jersey Teamsterz FC Don Ahern Veterans Stadium Bayonne, New Jersey 2020 2021
Rochester Lady Lancers Marina Auto Stadium Rochester, New York 2017 2017
Scorpions SC Medway High School Medway, Massachusetts 2021 2021
Syracuse Development Academy Solvay High School Solvay, New York 2004 2019
Worcester Smiles Commerce Bank Field at Foley Stadium Worcester, Massachusetts 2018 2018
Midwest Conference
AFC Ann Arbor Concordia University Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, Michigan 2014 2019
Chicago Mustangs Harper College Palatine, Illinois 2012 2021
Corktown AFC Corner Ballpark Detroit, Michigan 2020 2020
Indiana Union Grand Park Event Center Indianapolis, Indiana 2017 2017
Ladies Steel City FC DuPage Medical Group Field Joliet, Illinois 2020 2020
Lansing United East Lansing Soccer Complex Lansing, Michigan 2018 2018
Michigan Stars FC Michigan Stars Sports Center Washington Township, Michigan 2021 2021
Midwest United FC Aquinas College Kentwood, Michigan 2016 2017
MSC Peoria Eastside Centre Pekin, Illinois 2020 2020
Muskegon Risers SC Kehren Stadium Muskegon, Michigan 2014 2020
Nationals FC TBD TBD, Michigan 2016 2022
Southeast Conference
Atlanta Panthers SC Franklin Gateway Sports Complex Marietta, Georgia 2016 2021
FC Birmingham TBA Birmingham, Alabama 2020 2022
Southwest Conference
Bat Country FC Round Rock Multipurpose Complex Round Rock, Texas 2017 2020
Dallas International FC Greenhill School Field Addison, Texas 2020 2020
FC Austin Elite Round Rock Multipurpose Complex Round Rock, Texas 2016 2018
San Antonio Athenians SC Warrior Stadium San Antonio, Texas 2017 2019
Side FC 92 Case Community RiverCity Parks Tulsa, Oklahoma 1992 2021
West Conference
FC Arizona Bell Bank Park Mesa, Arizona 2017 2022
Calgary Foothills WFC Shouldice Athletic Park Calgary, Alberta 2015 2017
Kongo SC Spence Eccles Ogden Community Sports Complex Ogden, Utah 2013 2021
Los Angeles SC TBD Los Angeles, California 1951 2022
Santa Clarita Blue Heat College of the Canyons Santa Clarita, California 2008 2016
SASA Impact FC Riel Recreation Park St. Albert, Alberta 2021 2021

League Two[edit]

Team Stadium City Founded First UWS Season
Michigan Conference
AFC Plymouth Total Sports Wixom Plymouth, Michigan 2020 2021
Corktown AFC 2 Corner Ballpark Detroit, Michigan 2020 2021
Detroit City FC II Keyworth Stadium Hamtramck, Michigan 2021 2021
FC Midland Northwood University Midland, Michigan 2021 2021
Grand Haven Admirals Grand Haven High School Grand Haven, Michigan 2020 2021
Livonia City FC Livonia, Michigan 2020 2021
Michigan Legends FC Legacy Center Sports Complex Brighton, Michigan 2020 2021
North Oakland SC Waterford, Michigan 1987 2021
Rebels FC Macomb County, Michigan 2016 2021
Lake Erie Conference
Erie Commodores FC Erie Sports Center Erie, Pennsylvania 2021 2022
FC Buffalo All-High Stadium Buffalo, New York 2021 2022
Pittsburgh Hotspurs II Founders Field Cheswick, Pennsylvania 2021 2022
Mid Atlantic Conference
Annapolis United FC Annapolis, Maryland 2018 2021
Delaware Union Middletown, Delaware 2014 2021
Keystone FC Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania 2010 2021
Lancaster Inferno FC 2 Lancaster Catholic High School Lancaster, Pennsylvania 2008 2021
Maryland-Elite SC Prince Frederick, Maryland 2010 2021
Steel United Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania 2010 2021
New England Conference
Connecticut Fusion Reserves Farmington Sports Arena Farmington, Connecticut 2020 2021
New England FC Mendon, Massachusetts 2021 2021
New England Mutiny 2 Lusitano Stadium Ludlow, Massachusetts 2020 2021
Upper 90 Soccer Academy Boston, Massachusetts 2021 2021
Worcester Smiles 2 Commerce Bank Field at Foley Stadium Worcester, Massachusetts 2020 2021
Northeast Conference
New Jersey Copa Reserves Mercer County Community College Metuchen, New Jersey 2020 2021
New Jersey Teamsterz II Don Ahern Veterans Stadium Metuchen, New Jersey 2020 2021
Steel United New Jersey Pingry High School Basking, New Jersey 2021 2021
Southwest Conference
CTX Hornets Austin, Texas 2016 2021
FC Austin Elite Reserves Round Rock Multipurpose Complex Round Rock, Texas 2020 2021
FC Austin Elite U20 Round Rock Multipurpose Complex Round Rock, Texas 2020 2021
San Antonio Athenians U23 Warrior Stadium San Antonio, Texas 2020 2021
San Antonio Surf SC 2 San Antonio, Texas 2020 2021
Side FC 92 II Case Community RiverCity Parks Tulsa, Oklahoma 1992 2021
Sunshine Conference
Atletico Miami Union Deportiva Miami, Florida 2017 2021
Jacksonville FC Jacksonville, Florida 1992 2021
Orlando FC Royals Orlando, Florida 2017 2021
Sportsparadize Soccer SportsParadize Soccer Academy Orlando, Florida 2006 2021
Unity FC Kissimmee, Florida 2018 2020

Former members[edit]

Team Stadium City Founded First UWS Season Last UWS Season
Colorado Pride Washburn Field Colorado Springs, Colorado 1994 2016 2019
Colorado Storm Sports Authority Stadium Parker, Colorado 2014 2016 2016
Detroit City FC Keyworth Stadium Hamtramck, Michigan 2019 2020 2021
Detroit Sun FC Ultimate Soccer Arenas Pontiac, Michigan 2016 2017 2019
El Paso Surf Socorro Athletic Complex El Paso, Texas 2018 2018 2019
FC Indiana Newton Park Lakeville, Indiana 2003 2017 2017
Fort Wayne United FC Gryphons Hefner Stadium Fort Wayne, Indiana 2016 2017 2018
Genesee FC Atwood Stadium Flint, Michigan 2018 2018 2018
HAR FC Houston Sports Park Houston, Texas 2018 2018 2018
Houston Aces Houston Sports Park Houston, Texas 2012 2016 2019
LA Galaxy OC Championship Soccer Stadium Irvine, California 2018 2018 2020
Michigan Legends FC Legacy Center Brighton, Michigan 2017 2017 2020
New York Magic Mazzella Field New Rochelle, New York 1997 2016 2017
New York Surf Reinhart Field Bronx, New York 2015 2017 2018
North Jersey Valkyries DePaul Catholic High School Wayne, New Jersey 2009 2016 2016
North Texas Image Old Panther Field Duncanville, Texas 1964 2016 2018
Puerto Rico Pride FC Lake Brantley High School Altamonte Springs, Florida 2017 2020 2020
Queen City United SC University of Regina Field Regina, Saskatchewan 1987 2019 2020
Real Salt Lake Women Ute Field Salt Lake City, Utah 2008 2016 2018
SoCal Crush FC Crescenta Valley High School La Crescenta-Montrose, California 2017 2017 2018
Syracuse Development Academy Solvay High School Solvay, New York 2004 2019 2020
Toledo Villa FC Northview High School Rossford, Ohio 2017 2017 2017
Western New York Flash All-High Stadium Buffalo, New York 2008 2017 2018

UWS National Championship[edit]

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 FC
2019 LA Galaxy OC 1–0 Calgary Foothills WFC
2020 Season cancelled because of COVID-19 Pandemic[30]
Regional Showcase Tournaments were held.
2021 Santa Clarita Blue Heat 5–0 Connecticut Fusion
2022 Chicago Mustangs 2-1 Calgary Foothills WFC

See also[edit]


  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". November 2016.
  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. ^ "Home | Women's Premier Soccer League".
  23. ^ "United Women's Soccer Expands To Southeast". United Women's Soccer. February 7, 2020. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  24. ^ "United Women's Soccer Launches League Two". United Women's Soccer. February 7, 2020. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  25. ^ "UWS League Two website". United Women's Soccer. February 7, 2020. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  26. ^ Kassouf, Jeff. "UWS League Two will provide more playing opportunities… and implement promotion/relegation – Equalizer Soccer". Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  27. ^ "UWS League Two Midwest Conference". United Women's Soccer. February 22, 2020. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  28. ^ "Albany Rush Added to East Conference". January 5, 2021.
  29. ^ "Connecticut Rush UWS | CT Rush Soccer". www.leagueathletics.com. Archived from the original on February 18, 2021.
  30. ^ "UWS Provides Update on 2020 Season". United Women's Soccer. June 9, 2020.

External links[edit]