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Jessica Berman Announces NWSL Expansion

The National Women’s Soccer League will have 16 teams in 2026.


2022 NWSL Championship (Wikipedia)

Jessica Berman, the Commissioner of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), announced that the league will expand. In 2026, the NWSL will add two more teams leaving it with a total of 16. This is in addition to the two new teams to be added in 2024 when the league will go from 12 to 14 teams.

Soccer – football to everywhere outside of the US – has never been popular in America. Kids love to play the game, but adults are not so interested in it. Major League Soccer, which was founded in 1996 with just eight teams, today has 29 franchises, having held a number of expansions over the years. But the league survives mainly because team owners own equal shares in a cooperative business. The sport has never risen to the level of popularity in America as baseball, basketball, or even hockey.

But for women, it has been a different story. The NWSL is doing much better than the WNBA, the professional women’s basketball league. This is probably because soccer as a sport is much more popular among women in America than men. And the US international team has actually won world championships, where its men’s team never gets passed the early rounds of the World Cup.

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The United States women’s national soccer team has won four World Cup championships over the years. The team is so popular that its defeat and early exit in this year’s World Cup tournament, where it hoped to win an unprecedented three straight world championships, not only made national headlines but also caused some controversy.

All of this explains why the women’s professional soccer league in America wants to expand.

The NWSL season runs from March to October. The regular season consists of 22 games for each team, with the top four teams qualifying for the playoffs. The playoffs culminate in the NWSL Championship, which is held in November.

The NWSL has been home to some of the best women’s soccer players in the world, including Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, and Carli Lloyd. The league has also been praised for its commitment to equality and inclusion. In 2021, the NWSL became the first professional sports league in the United States to equalize pay for its players.

“We will be starting our next expansion process. It will be a similar process to what we launched when I first began about a year and a half ago, and we will apply similar filters in terms of what our priorities are and thinking about how we select the right expansion market,” said Jessica Berman about the expansion plans. “We look at the market, we’ll look at the ownership groups, we’ll look at facilities and we’ll look at the value in terms of what the prospective group is willing to invest to ensure that the team is successful.”

Jessica Berman became the current Commissioner of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in February 2023, becoming the first woman to hold the position. She grew up in a Conservative Jewish family in Brooklyn.

Berman has a long history in sports administration. She previously served as the Deputy Commissioner and Vice President of the National Hockey League (NHL), where she was responsible for a variety of legal and business affairs. She also worked as a lawyer for the NHL Players’ Association.

Jessica Berman is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Fordham Law School. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association and the Sports Lawyers Association.

As Commissioner of the NWSL, Jessica Berman is responsible for the overall operation of the league, including overseeing the business, marketing, and legal affairs. She is also responsible for player relations and ensuring the league’s commitment to equality and inclusion.




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