A new professional women’s soccer team is set to kick off in Tampa Bay in August 2024. As part of the USL Super League, the new Tampa Bay franchise will compete at the highest level of women’s professional soccer. The team will bring top-tier women’s pro sports to the region for the first time, joining 10 to 12 clubs in the league’s initial market.
“This is about inspiring, energizing and uniting our Tampa Bay community. We’re ready to build a team that not only wins on the field but also makes a positive difference off the field. To us, success comes when you become part of the fabric of your community,” said Darryl Shaw, who joined his childhood friends, David Laxer, co-owner of Bern’s Steak House, and Jeff Fox, former chief information officer of BluePearl Pet Hospital, as the owners of the new team.
USL Super League will be the highest level of professional women’s sports to ever field a team with Tampa Bay on its jerseys. Once it is sanctioned by U.S. Soccer as a Division I league, it will rank on par with other top professional sports leagues and feature players who represent their countries in international competitions such as the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Olympic Games. Because USL Super League will play from fall through spring, players will be able to balance their commitments to their club and their country.
“When I stepped onto the court in high school as a female athlete, there weren’t a lot of role models out there for me to look up to,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, a star basketball and volleyball player at Chamberlain High School and the University of Tampa. “Today, women’s sports are exploding in popularity, and our new team will put Tampa Bay at the forefront.”
The club’s name, colors and crest will be decided in the future with involvement from members of the public across the Tampa Bay area. An advisory board of community voices and soccer lovers has been created to offer guidance on connecting with the community and delivering a positive impact.
The team will start playing in August 2024 in a temporary home until a permanent, soccer-specific stadium can be built. With that stadium, the team intends to create a year-round venue that will be used for a wide range of activities, including opportunities with youth and community soccer leagues and nonsoccer events. Engagement with stakeholders and exploration of stadium location and funding options can begin now that the team has been announced.
“This commitment to bring top-tier women’s professional sports to Tampa Bay, in a new stadium where it can truly shine, represents a sincere investment in making this great community even stronger for the future,” said USL Super League President Amanda Vandervort.
The USL Super League is developing the largest women’s soccer network in the world, including: 10-12 professional teams in the first season of USL Super League, 65 preprofessional teams in USL W League this summer and more than 80 USL Academy programs for elite players under the age of 20.
The USL, headquartered in Tampa, also oversees the USL Championship professional men’s league, which includes the Tampa Bay Rowdies. To stay connected with Tampa Bay’s new team and sign up for updates, visit www.superleaguetampabay.com and follow on Instagram @superleaguetb.