Louisville Seen As Leading Candidate For NWSL Expansion Club
Louisville is "leading the list" of expansion candidates for the NWSL and are currently waiting on the league's decision, according to sources cited by Linehan & Rueter of THE ATHLETIC. USL club Louisville City ownership has been "in talks with NWSL leadership about expansion." A "big part" of Louisville City's pitch involves the team's soccer-specific Lynn Family Stadium, which will have a capacity of 14,000 and is "set to open" next spring. An expansion team "wouldn't be the first connection" between Louisville City and the NWSL, as league President Amanda Duffy "previously worked" for the club. Sources said that "at least two other USL teams are having conversations with the NWSL about expansion." There is "potential that one of these clubs could jump ahead of Louisville, but it's more likely that they remain as possibilities for further expansion" in '21. The NWSL's discussions with USL ownership groups "don't rule out similar expansion bids from LAFC or Atlanta United, if those MLS ownership groups show more commitment to exploring the NWSL" (THEATHLETIC.com, 8/13).
PRELIMINARY PROCESS: Louisville City co-Owner Mike Mountjoy said that the club's owners have "had preliminary discussions with NWSL officials about bringing a women's team to Louisville," but he added that "no decisions have been made." He added, "We haven't made any decisions but I think what they would like for us to do sometime over the next few weeks is to think about whether or not we would be able to legitimately bring one in." In Louisville, Danielle Lerner notes Louisville City is "in the midst of its fifth season in the USL," and next spring, the club will begin the season in its new $65M stadium. The "prospect of a women's team sharing the brand-new stadium is enticing to the NWSL, and could help LouCity spread out some operating costs." Mountjoy said that he "believes the NWSL franchise fee" is about $1M (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 8/14).