New women's USL Super League to align with global fall-summer calendar in 2023

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The USL Super League, a newly announced professional Division II women's league, will align with the international women's soccer calendar when it begins play in August 2023, the league announced on Tuesday.

The competition will kick off following the completion of the 2023 Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and will culminate in the playoffs and final in June 2024.

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The announcement means the USL Super League will be the only professional soccer league in the United States to run on the fall-to-summer schedule prevalent across Europe and much of the rest of the globe in both the women's and men's game.

The Division I National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) will begin its 2022 season with the start of the Challenge Cup on March 18 before the regular season kicks off and the season concludes with the NWSL Championship game in late October.

Major League Soccer has played through the summer and had its offseason during the winter since it launched in 1996. The USL's men's professional leagues run on a similar schedule through the summer months.

"Alignment with the global game demonstrates our commitment to drive increased value for our fans, players, clubs, and partners," USL CEO Alec Papadakis said in a release.

"The Super League will be well-positioned to deliver a more exciting competition with world-class players and compelling fan experiences. We will support our players' careers by being leaders in the international transfer market. And we will drive significant club growth through increased franchise value, revenue opportunities, and long-term commercial viability."

To combat the freezing temperatures across much of the country, the league said it would have a mid-season winter break. Aligning with the global calendar would limit players being unavailable for their clubs for long stretches due to commitments with their national teams, it said, particularly during summer tournaments.

"The Super League calendar is strategically designed to deliver a top-quality fan experience by enabling our clubs to field their first-choice squads as often as possible," USL Super League president Amanda Vandervort added.

"With key international competitions occurring nearly every summer in women's soccer, we want to help players effectively balance their club and country commitments."

While no clubs have yet been announced, the USL Super League is aiming to field up to 12 teams in its inaugural season, the same number as the NWSL.