USL announced the debut of the W-20 league today, rebranding the premier North American under-20 women’s league, previously known as the Super-20 Women. W-20 will align operationally with the W-League and will benefit from the established infrastructure of the first and longest standing women’s league in North America, which emphasizes quality ownership, league standards and player development.
Teams will play 8-10 regular season matches from May through July, with a national championship set at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Full schedules are expected to be announced shortly, as is a new dedicated site; for now, W-20 information can be found at wleague.uslsoccer.com.
Amanda Duffy, senior director of the W-League, will serve in the same role for W-20, and the leagues will share an online home when a new website is unveiled prior to the kickoff of the 2013 seasons.
“Aligning the W-20 league with the W-League from a branding and a competition structure standpoint makes complete sense,” Duffy said. “I’m excited to streamline these two levels of adult women’s soccer to better equip players and clubs for the next levels in the development pyramid of women’s soccer. The improved player development opportunities are significant, and the W-20 growth potential will be unlimited and exciting to explore.”
W-20 will be committed to providing a stabilized platform to aid competitive players from the youth level to the adult-amateur and professional levels. It will also provide a reliable competition structure for these higher level women’s teams to utilize for young players requiring increased exposure and development opportunities.
W-20 will also help to maintain consistency in the soccer calendar by operating simultaneously with the W-League, allowing for player promotion opportunities for those ready to play at a higher level.
“This is an important step toward providing a more organized structure for women’s soccer,” Duffy said. “With U.S. Soccer’s newly formed women’s professional league, the need for more clearly defined levels of soccer exists after players age out of youth soccer. We will make future announcements related to player identification that will provide W-20 teams and players additional exposure opportunities, further defining the relevance of the W-League and W-20 in the North American women’s soccer pyramid.”
W-20 currently features six teams that serve as reserve teams for W-League clubs, including the Carolina Elite Cobras, the Dayton Dutch Lions, FASA (Fredericksburg Impact), the Ottawa Fury, the Toronto Lynx Jrs. (Toronto Lady Lynx) and the Washington Spirit Academy (Washington Spirit Reserves). The Washington Spirit Reserves of the W-League serve in the same capacity for the Washington Spirit of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
The 2013 W-20 season features 23 teams aligned in four regional divisions, playing 8-10 regular season matches from May through July, with a national championship set at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
The Super-20 League is the longest standing and most sophisticated U20 men’s and women’s North American amateur league. The Super-20 Men will feature more than 50 teams playing in six geographic divisions in 2013.
The W-League is recognized throughout the world for providing superior competition for female players, while offering affordable family entertainment for fans across North America. The caliber of W-League talent continues to grow, with 22 of the 29 players recently called into the U.S. Women’s National Team camp boasting W-League experience.
The W-League is the first and longest-standing women’s soccer league in North America. The 2013 W-League campaign will feature 25 teams in three regional conferences playing 10-12 regular season matches. Featuring current and former international and professional stars, the W-League also provides elite amateurs the opportunity to compete while maintaining their eligibility as college student-athletes. The league is recognized throughout the world for providing superior competition for female players, while offering affordable family entertainment for fans throughout North America. The league’s website is wleague.uslsoccer.com.