The National Women's Soccer League has announced that Louisville, Kentucky, will field a team starting in 2021.
The new women's team will be affiliated with Louisville City FC, which plays in the USL Championship league. Soccer Holdings LLC, Louisville City's ownership group, will operate the team.
The team will play at Louisville City's Lynn Family Stadium, a 14,000-seat soccer-specific venue set to open next spring. The team's logo, crest and colors will be unveiled later this year.
"We can't wait to accept the challenge of building a team of world class athletes and running them onto that pitch in 2021. And I want to say one other thing: We're not here to participate. We're not here to join the party, because in this club and in this town, we lift trophies — period," Louisville City President Brad Estes said at a news conference at the stadium.
The addition of Louisville will bring the league to 10 teams. In its seventh year, the NWSL is the longest-running top tier women's professional soccer league in the United States.
"I'm so happy for the young girls in our community that they're, that we, but they in particular are gonna have a league of professional women out here that they can look up to and say, 'Hey, if they do it, I can do that,'" Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said. "It's going to be a source of great inspiration for everybody in our city, but particularly for our girls and young women in our community."
The NWSL has also announced a new partnership with Octagon's Global Media Rights Consulting and Marketing to guide the league going forward.
Louisville City won back-to-back USL Championship titles in 2017 and 2018. The team averaged more than 9,000 fans per game this season.
"We're excited to bring a new club for you to support and for you to be a part of the story of the Premier Women's League in the world," NWSL President Amanda Duffy told the crowd gathered for the announcement Monday. "I have high expectations of you, very high expectations of you. And I also have every confidence that you will be leaders in NWSL with your drums, your voices, your passion, your passion for your club and this game."