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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Women’s professional soccer returning to Boston

BOSTON – Women’s professional soccer is returning to Boston.

Mayor Michelle Wu joined National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Commissioner Jessica Berman and Boston Unity Soccer Partners to make the official announcement Tuesday at City Hall.

Boston will be the league’s 15th team. It doesn’t have a name yet, but the expansion franchise will begin play in 2026.

“I’m excited to expand the NWSL’s footprint and continue its transformative growth in our return to Boston, one of the world’s most iconic sports cities,” Berman said in a statement. “We are very proud to welcome Boston Unity Soccer Partners to our ownership group. They bring an impressive roster of business leaders committed to continuing Boston’s legacy of sports excellence and delivering a successful team to a very passionate fanbase.”

Boston Unity Soccer Partners describes itself as an “all-female core ownership group.” It’s led by Juno Equity Founder/Boston Celtics minority owner Jennifer Epstein. Stephanie Connaughton, Ami Danoff and Anna Palmer will be managing partners.

“Boston is the greatest sports city in the world, and we are thrilled to bring the NWSL back to this passionate fan base,” Epstein said in a statement Tuesday. “Our goal is to build a championship-caliber franchise that the city can be proud of, both on the pitch and in the community. We will be relentless and daring in our quest to add another chapter to the city’s unrivaled sports legacy.”

The owners have a proposal in place to refurbish White Stadium in Franklin Park. That will be the home field and the upgrades are set to cost around $30 million, according to the Boston Globe.

The Boston Breakers were the last women’s soccer team in the city. They played here from 2001 to 2018 but the landscape and popularity of women’s soccer has increased in the last five years.

“Their iconic talent and greatness was unable to shine because the world wasn’t ready for it,” Berman said. “The state of the league today is ready for it.”

Now this will be the third professional women’s sports team in Boston.

The new Professional Women’s Hockey League begins play in the city in January and the Boston Renegades are the five-time defending champions of the Women’s Football Alliance.

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