|Founded||25 October 2008|
|Number of teams||9|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Current premiers||Canberra United (3rd title)|
|Most championships||Brisbane Roar
Melbourne City (2 titles)
|Most premierships||Canberra United (3 titles)|
The W-League is the top-division women's soccer league in Australia, run by Football Federation Australia (FFA). The W-League was established in 2008 and was composed of eight teams of which seven had an affiliation with an A-League clubs. The eighth team was a new entity based in Canberra. The league is currently contested by nine teams. The competition is known as the Westfield W-League through a sponsorship arrangement with the Westfield Group.
Seasons typically run from November to February and include a 12-round regular season and an end-of-season finals series playoff tournament involving the highest-placed teams, culminating in a grand final match. The winner of the regular season tournament is dubbed 'premier' and the winner of the grand final is 'champion'. Since the league's inaugural season, a total of four clubs have been crowned W-League Premiers and four clubs have been crowned W-League Champions.
From 2012 to 2014, the W-League champion team qualified into an international competition, the International Women's Club Championship.
Canberra United are the current premiers, having won the trophy for a record third time. Melbourne City are the current champions, having won the Grand Final in both seasons in which they have competed.
Between 1996–2004 the Women's National Soccer League (WNSL) was Australia's top women's association football league. In 2004 it was discontinued alongside the men's National Soccer League.
After Australia qualified for the quarter-finals of the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, head coach Tom Sermanni felt the establishment of a professional league was vital for continuing the development of players. Football Federation Australia established the league the following year. The W-League was initially composed of eight teams: Adelaide United, Queensland Roar, Central Coast Mariners, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets, Perth Glory, and Sydney FC. Seven of the eight teams were affiliated with A-League clubs, and shared their names and colours to promote their brands. The eighth club was Canberra United.
The W-League's inaugural season commenced on 25 October 2008, with Perth hosting Sydney at Members Equity Stadium. After ten rounds, the regular season finished with Queensland Roar as the top-placed team, becoming the first W-League premiers, and advancing to the semi-finals along with the second-, third- and fourth-placed teams. Queensland faced Canberra in the 2009 W-League Grand Final, defeating them 2–0 to take the champions trophy.
On 13 May 2015, Melbourne City were confirmed to compete in the W-League from the 2015–16 season. The club had a remarkable inaugural season, winning all 12 of its regular season games and winning the Grand Final.
The W-League regular season typically runs from November to February and consists of 12 rounds, with the highest ranked team winning the title of "Premiers". The top four teams in the regular season then advance to the knockout finals with the Champion determined by the victor of the Grand Final.
|Team||Location||Stadium||Capacity||Founded||Joined||Dissolved||Last head coach||Last captain|
|Central Coast Mariners||Gosford, NSW||Central Coast Stadium||20,059||2008||2008||2009||Stephen Roche||Caitlin Cooper|
Squad formation and salaries
A W-League squad is required to have a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 26 players. Players typically receive a one-season contract, with many playing in international leagues during the W-League's off-season. Due to the W-League's season running during the off-season of several leagues around the world, many foreign players have played for teams in the W-League and vice versa.
As of 2015, teams in the W-League have a salary cap of A$150,000. Individual player salaries vary, with one player reporting to The Sydney Morning Herald in 2012 that whilst some players earn $10,000, others earn nothing. In 2014, it was reported that Sydney FC players were paid salaries ranging from $1,000 to $6,000, with one marquee player earning $70,000 funded by sponsorship. Players can also earn money playing overseas and may therefore be considered by Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) as professional.
Australia's national public television network, ABC has broadcast one league match per week for all seasons except the 2014 W-League season. Since the 2015–16 season, pay-TV network Fox Sports has aired at least one W-League match a week. Both networks broadcast the semi-final games and the grand final live. 2014 W-League games were radio broadcast via FFV Radio launched by Football Federation Victoria (FFV).
Beginning in 2016, the weekly game is also broadcast on ESPN 3 in the United States.[clarification needed] Archived streams of the weekly match are available following the initial broadcast via ESPN3 and ABC in their respective countries.
Primary venues currently used in the W-League:
|Burton Park||1,200||Adelaide United|
|Adelaide Shores Football Centre||1,000||Adelaide United|
|Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre||49,000||Brisbane Roar|
|Perry Park||5,000||Brisbane Roar|
|A.J. Kelly Park||1,500||Brisbane Roar|
|McKellar Park||2,460||Canberra United|
|Deakin Stadium||1,500||Canberra United|
|CB Smith Reserve||2,000||Melbourne City|
|AAMI Park||30,050||Melbourne City|
|Kingston Heath||5,000||Melbourne Victory|
|Broadmeadows Valley Park||5,000||Melbourne Victory|
|Etihad Stadium||53,347 (rectangular configuration)||Melbourne Victory|
|Lakeside Stadium||15,000||Melbourne Victory|
|Wanderers Oval||2,000||Newcastle Jets|
|Adamstown Oval||2,000||Newcastle Jets|
|Dorrien Gardens||4,000||Perth Glory|
|nib Stadium||20,500||Perth Glory|
|Allianz Stadium||45,500||Sydney FC|
|WIN Stadium||18,484||Sydney FC|
|WIN Jubilee Oval||22,000||Sydney FC|
|Marconi Stadium||11,500||Western Sydney Wanderers|
|Campbelltown Stadium||21,000||Western Sydney Wanderers|
|Centrebet Stadium||22,500||Western Sydney Wanderers|
Other venues previously used by W-League clubs include:
|Bluetongue Stadium||20,119||Central Coast Mariners|
|Canberra Stadium||25,011||Used by Central Coast Mariners in the 2009 season during round 5.1|
|Leichhardt Oval||22,000||Used by Sydney FC and Central Coast Mariners in the 2009 season during round 8 as a double-header.2|-|
|Wembley Park||2,500||Used by Melbourne Victory in the 2013–2014 season.|
1Central Coast Mariners played this fixture as a home game against Canberra United. 2Sydney FC played this fixture as a home game against Perth Glory. It is also a 'curtain raiser' to the second game, to be played by the Mariners. Central Coast Mariners played this fixture as a home game against Melbourne Victory.
The W-League features Women Referees and Assistant Referees from Australia. Current referees include:
|Season||Premiers (regular season winners)||Champions (Grand Final winners)|
|2008–09||Queensland Roar||Queensland Roar|
|2009||Sydney FC||Sydney FC|
|2010–11||Sydney FC||Brisbane Roar|
|2011–12||Canberra United||Canberra United|
|2012–13||Brisbane Roar||Sydney FC|
|2013–14||Canberra United||Melbourne Victory|
|2014||Perth Glory||Canberra United|
|2015–16||Melbourne City||Melbourne City|
|2016–17||Canberra United||Melbourne City|
Queensland Roar changed their name to Brisbane Roar for the 2009 season.
|8||Lisa De Vanna||33|
The league presents annual awards for outstanding achievements including:
- Julie Dolan Medal (for the Player of the Year)
- Young Player of the Year
- Player's Player of the Year
- Goalkeeper of the Year (Golden Glove)
- Golden Boot
- Goal of the Year
- Coach of the Year
- Referee of the Year
- Fair Play Award
- W-League records and statistics
- Women's soccer in Australia
- Australia women's national soccer team
- Women's National Soccer League (WNSL) – defunct Australian women's national league
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While this is not a full-time professional workload wage, the women can also earn money playing overseas and are therefore considered by the PFA to be categorised as professional.
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