National Women's Soccer League
The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) is a professional women's soccer league, run by the United States Soccer Federation. At the top of the United States league system, it represents the sport's highest level in the United States. The NWSL was established in 2012 as a successor to Women's Professional Soccer (2007–2012), which was itself the successor to Women's United Soccer Association (2001–2003). The league began play in 2013 with eight teams, four of which were former members of Women's Professional Soccer. With the addition of two expansion teams in Houston and Orlando and the loss of Boston Breakers, it now has nine teams throughout the United States.
|Confederation||CONCACAF (North America)|
|Number of teams||9|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Current champions||Portland Thorns FC (2nd title)|
|Current NWSL Shield||North Carolina Courage (2nd shield)|
FC Kansas City |
Portland Thorns FC (2 titles)
|Most NWSL Shields||
North Carolina Courage|
Seattle Reign FC (2 shields)
|2018 NWSL season|
Since the league's inaugural 2013 season, three clubs have been crowned NWSL Champions and three clubs have claimed the NWSL Shield. The most recent shield-winners are the North Carolina Courage, who relocated to Cary, North Carolina during the 2016–2017 offseason from New York, where they were known as the Western New York Flash. The current champions are Portland Thorns FC, who claimed their second championship in 2017 after being the inaugural champions in 2013.
The NWSL season runs from April–September with each team scheduled for 24 regular season games, 12 each of home and road. At the end of the regular season, the team with the highest point total is awarded the regular season title. The four clubs with the most points from the regular season standings qualify for the NWSL playoffs, which consist of two semifinal single knockout matches (top seed hosts fourth; second hosts third), with the semifinal winners advancing to the championship final, played at a predetermined site.
After Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) officially folded in April 2012, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) announced a roundtable for discussion of the future of women's professional soccer in the United States. The meeting, which included representatives from USSF, WPS teams, the W-League (ceased operation in 2015), and the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL), was held in June and resulted in the planning of a new league set to launch in 2013 with 12–16 teams, taking from each of the three leagues. Compared to WPS, the teams would have a relatively low salary cap of $500,000, though this was later lowered to $200,000.
In November 2012, it was announced that there would be eight teams in a new women's professional soccer league that was yet to be named at the time of the announcement, subsidized by the USSF, the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF). The three federations would pay for the salaries of their national team players (24 from the US, 16 from Canada, and 12 to 16 from Mexico) to aid the teams in creating world-class rosters while staying under the salary cap. The players would be distributed evenly (as possible) among the eight teams in an allocation process. USSF would run the league offices and set the schedule.
On November 29, 2012, it was announced that Cheryl Bailey had been named Executive Director in the new league. Bailey had previously served as general manager of the United States women's national soccer team from 2007 to 2011, which included leading the support staff for the U.S. team during the 2007 and 2011 FIFA Women's World Cups, as well as the 2008 Summer Olympics. During her tenure with the women's national team, she was in charge of all areas of administration including interfacing with clubs, team travel, payroll, and working with FIFA, CONCACAF, and other federations.
The first NWSL game was held on April 13, 2013, as the Portland Thorns visited FC Kansas City, playing to a 1–1 draw in front of a crowd of 6,784 fans at Shawnee Mission District Stadium. Renae Cuellar scored the first goal in league history. The 2013 season saw regular-season attendance average of 4,270, with a high of 17,619 on August 4 for Kansas City at Portland.
The NWSL became the first U.S. professional women's soccer league to reach nine teams with the expansion of the MLS-backed Houston Dash in 2014; expansion interest, particularly from MLS teams, has continued. The third season saw a shortened schedule and some early-season roster instability due to the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada, but the World Cup also provided exposure to the NWSL, which was credited with boosting attendance numbers across the league.
The league also became the first professional women's league in the US to play more than three seasons when the league kicked off its fourth season in 2016.
Nine NWSL teams are spread across the United States. Each club is allowed a minimum of 18 players on their roster, with a maximum of 20 players allowed at any time during the season.
Originally, each team's roster includes up to three allocated American national team players, up to two allocated Mexico women's national team players, and up to two Canadian allocated national team players via the NWSL Player Allocation and subsequent trades. In addition, each team has four spots available for international players. The remaining roster spots must be filled by domestic players from the United States. Teams fill their rosters via a number of drafts and 4–6 discovery player signings. Mexico no longer allocates players to the NWSL, having established its own women's league in 2017, and the number of allocated players and international players on each team are varying due to player trades.
|Chicago Red Stars||Toyota Park||20,000||Bridgeview, Illinois||2006||2013||Rory Dames|
|Houston Dash||BBVA Compass Stadium||7,000[n 1]||Houston, Texas||2013||2014||Vera Pauw|
|North Carolina Courage||Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park||10,000||Cary, North Carolina||2009||2013||Paul Riley|
|Orlando Pride||Orlando City Stadium||25,500||Orlando, Florida||2015||2016||Tom Sermanni|
|Portland Thorns FC||Providence Park||21,144||Portland, Oregon||2012||2013||Mark Parsons|
|Seattle Reign FC||UW Medicine Pitch at Memorial Stadium||6,088[n 2]||Seattle, Washington||2012||2013||Vlatko Andonovski|
|Sky Blue FC||Yurcak Field||5,000||Piscataway, New Jersey||2007||2013||Denise Reddy|
|Utah Royals FC||Rio Tinto Stadium||20,213||Sandy, Utah||2017||2018||Laura Harvey|
|Washington Spirit||Maureen Hendricks Field at Maryland SoccerPlex||4,000||Boyds, Maryland||2012||2013||Jim Gabarra|
- BBVA Compass Stadium has a capacity of slightly over 22,039, but seating is restricted to 7,000 for Dash games.
- Memorial Stadium has a capacity of 12,000, but standard seating capacity for Reign games is 6,088.
- Boston Breakers – 2013–2017 (NWSL franchise ceased operations)
- FC Kansas City – 2013–2017 (NWSL membership interest re-acquired by the league and subsequently ceased operations; its player-related assets were transferred to the expansion side Utah Royals FC)
- Western New York Flash – 2013–2016 (NWSL franchise sold and relocated as the North Carolina Courage; organization now plays in the second-division United Women's Soccer)
Soon after launch, the league reportedly planned to expand to ten teams for 2014. Potential candidates included groups not accepted as part of the original eight; groups from the Los Angeles area (joint effort from the LA Strikers and Pali Blues) and from Hartford, Connecticut were confirmed failed bids, as was one from the Seattle Sounders Women. There was speculation that the Vancouver Whitecaps Women could be logical candidates especially given the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada; however, the Whitecaps cancelled their women's program (except for one U-18 academy team) in December 2012.
During the inaugural season, there were rumors of expansion interest from MLS teams Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and the New York Red Bulls, as well as confirmed interest from WPSL side the Houston Aces. NWSL team owners hinted that expansion for 2014 was not a question of "if" but "how many". Despite this, it was announced during the playoffs that there would be no expansion for the league's second season, though the Red Bulls and Sky Blue FC confirmed that they were in discussions for cooperation.
During the first offseason, the Houston Dynamo added their name to the list of MLS teams interested in fielding a women's side, stating that they were "exploring the opportunity" of starting an NWSL side in 2014 or '15 and in 2013 they announced the Houston Dash with 2014 as their inaugural season. By early December, NWSL approved a new team run by the Dynamo organization for expansion in 2014, despite their earlier statement that there would be no expansion for the league's second season.
During the second offseason, expansion talk grew rapidly, with three established men's teams (Real Salt Lake of MLS, the Indy Eleven of NASL, and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of USL Pro) expressing interest in joining NWSL, as well as an unattached group from Atlanta. There was also rumored or suggested interest from three men's teams in California, though none of those groups made official statements. Despite this interest, it was announced in late April 2015 that there would be no expansion for the 2016 season.
However, after the well-publicized success of the US Women's National soccer team, renewed interest in NWSL expansion caused reports from the owners' meeting that "a new team in 2016 has not been ruled out", with potential expansion news to be revealed within a month. Commissioner Jeff Plush said that over a dozen interested groups had contacted the league in the post-World-Cup weeks; MLS team Orlando City SC was one of the first newly interested groups made public. On October 20, 2015, it was announced that Orlando would be hosting the 10th NWSL team, the Orlando Pride, due to start the 2016 season. At that announcement, the Pride announced that they had hired former U.S. National Women's Team coach Tom Sermanni.
On November 16, 2017, it was announced that Real Salt Lake would expand into the NWSL beginning in the 2018 season. The Salt Lake City team, shortly thereafter unveiled as Utah Royals FC, is officially considered a new franchise that replaced FC Kansas City. That team, partnered with but not owned by Sporting Kansas City, was seen by media as an unintended victim of issues that Sporting was facing with its United Soccer League reserve team, Swope Park Rangers.
Stadiums and attendanceEdit
As of the current 2018 season, the NWSL uses nine stadiums. The highest attendance in the league's history occurred on April 23, 2016 at the Orlando Citrus Bowl when 23,403 people watched the Orlando Pride defeat the Houston Dash 3–1 in a regular season home match. Other than this match, the top attendances in the league have occurred at Providence Park for home games of Portland Thorns FC.
Squad formation and salariesEdit
In each season, teams receive a salary cap that limits their total spending on players. The salaries of allocated players from the United States, Canadian, and (formerly) Mexican national teams are paid by their respective federations instead of their NWSL clubs, and do not count against their club's salary cap.
Non-allocated players, including international players, also have minimum and maximum salary limits. Players allocated by the US or Canadian federations are also exempt from these limits. The same applied to allocated Mexican players, but the arrangement between the Mexican federation and the NWSL ended when Mexico established its own women's league in 2017.
|Year||Team cap||Unallocated player salary limits|
- All currency amounts are in USD
Active non-allocated players, including unpaid amateur players, announced their formation of a players' association on May 15, 2017, as the first step toward forming a union. Membership is limited to non-allocated players because allocated players are members of their own federation-affiliated labor organizations and negotiate contracts covering NWSL play with their respective national federations instead of the league or clubs. The association is led by civil rights attorney and former WPS players' union organizer Meghann Burke.
This section does not cite any sources. (February 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
As of the end of the 2017, three clubs have been crowned NWSL Champions and four clubs have claimed the NWSL Shield.
Regular season winners
|2013||Portland Thorns FC||Western New York Flash|
|2014||FC Kansas City||Seattle Reign FC|
|2015||FC Kansas City||Seattle Reign FC|
|2016||Western New York Flash||Portland Thorns FC|
|2017||Portland Thorns FC||North Carolina Courage|
|2018||TBD||North Carolina Courage|
During the 2013–2016 seasons, the majority of league games were available for viewing via YouTube or via individual team's websites. Of the eight teams in the league during the inaugural season, the Boston Breakers were the only team that charged a fee for access to their broadcasts.
On May 28, 2014, the NWSL signed a one-year agreement with ESPN to televise nine games of the 2014 NWSL season. The matches included three regular season and three playoff matches on ESPN2, as well as 3 regular season games live-streamed on ESPN3.
On June 30, 2015, the NWSL announced a one-year agreement with Fox Sports once more to cover ten matches. Three regular season and three playoff matches were televised on FS1, and four live-streamed on Fox Sports Go. The agreement was extended into 2016 under another one-year contract, covering three regular season matches and the three playoff matches, once again on FS1.
On February 2, 2017, the NWSL announced a three-year agreement with A&E Networks, in which Lifetime broadcasts 22 regular-season matches as the NWSL Game of the Week at 4 p.m. Eastern on Saturday afternoons, as well as three post-season matches. This marked the first time that the NWSL had a weekly broadcast window throughout the entire season. Players also wear a sleeve patch of the network's logo on their uniforms. As part of the deal, A&E Networks also purchased a 25% equity stake in the NWSL, were granted two seats on the league's board, and formed a joint venture with the league known as NWSL Media to oversee the league's marketing and broadcast rights. This deal marked the first time Lifetime had broadcast sports since the WNBA in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Lifetime also streams the game of the week in the United States via its website, and internationally in the NWSL website and iOS app. The remaining games are streamed exclusively by go90 in the United States as part of a paid multi-year sponsorship agreement, and through the NWSL website internationally.
The quality of the streams through go90 faced criticism, with sportswriters, users, as well as players and team staff, criticizing the service for its inconsistent quality, and arguing that the NWSL's growth could be harmed by go90's relative lack of reach and prominence when compared to YouTube. The Equalizer noted that the app was prone to crashing, did not have the same wide device support as YouTube, and that the telecasts themselves suffered from their own technical problems (such as poor camera angles and glitches with graphics), but that the streams were good when they worked. On May 19, 2017, the league announced that they would additionally stream games on the NWSL website and app in the U.S. until the technical issues with go90 were rectified.
After Houston Dash player Rachel Daly collapsed on the pitch after a match in Houston, on May 27 – where the heat index was reportedly over 100 degrees Fahrenheit – she was carried off on a stretcher and hospitalized for heat illness. League operations director Amanda Duffy subsequently announced that the NWSL Game of the Week matches, many of which were slated for the hottest parts of the day in humid cities such as Houston, Orlando, and Cary, North Carolina, would be rescheduled to allow for longer hydration breaks. Some Game of the Week matches changed to other venues, and teams not scheduled for television were granted more flexibility in rescheduling kickoffs for player safety. The league also adopted new procedures for addressing heat and rescheduling matches.
On June 6, 2018, it was announced that six Game of the Week matches through the remainder of the season would move to evening kickoffs and air on ESPNews (which is owned by a sister venture to A&E Networks), in an effort to ensure the safety of players, as well as improve attendance.
Statistics below are for all-time regular season leaders. Bold indicates active NWSL players.
Throughout the season, the league awards Player of the Week and Player of the Month awards to individual players, which are voted on by the media. The league presents six annual awards for outstanding achievements voted on by owners, general managers, coaches, players and the media:
- Golden Boot
- Rookie of the Year
- Goalkeeper of the Year
- Defender of the Year
- Coach of the Year
- Most Valuable Player (MVP)
In addition, the league names a NWSL Best XI team and NWSL Second XI team which are voted on by journalists, club officials and NWSL players.
The league has operated without a full-time commissioner since Jeff Plush resigned on March 2, 2017. Amanda Duffy, hired in December 2016 as the league's managing director of operations, has served as the public face of league management since Plush's resignation, and the position of commissioner has remained vacant.
- List of NWSL drafts
- NWSL Player Allocation
- List of foreign NWSL players
- Major women's sport leagues in North America
- Major League Soccer
- Professional sports leagues in the United States
- List of professional sports teams in the United States and Canada
- Women's United Soccer Association (2001–2003)
- Women's soccer in the United States
- "WILL NWSL BE A SUCCESS? WELL ..." ESPN. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
- Whiteside, Kelly (November 21, 2012). "Women's pro soccer league to debut in U.S. next year". USA Today. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
- "Seattle will have team in new women's professional league owned by Bill Predmore". The Seattle Times. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
- Kassouf, Jeff (October 20, 2015). "Orlando Pride named 10th NWSL team for 2016". The Equalizer. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
- "The Lowdown: My thoughts on the 2016 NWSL schedule". March 2, 2016. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
- "2018 Competition Rules and Regulations". National Women's Soccer League. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
- Kassouf, Jeff (June 29, 2012). "New women's soccer league in the works for 2013 following meeting in Chicago". The Equalizer. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
- Bell, Jack (April 13, 2013). "Another Attempt at Women's Circuit, but With a Twist". The New York Times. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
- Lauletta, Dan (November 21, 2012). "Eight teams to start new women's pro soccer league in 2013". The Equalizer. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
- "Cheryl Bailey Named Executive Director of New Women's Soccer League". US Soccer. Archived from the original on December 3, 2012. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
- "FC KANSAS CITY EARNS POINT IN LEAGUE OPENER". FC Kansas City. April 14, 2013. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
- "Christine Sinclair penalty kick leads Thorns FC to 1–1 draw against FC Kansas City". Portland Thorns. April 13, 2013. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
- Jorstad, Keith (August 20, 2013). "NWSL Attendance Watch Week 19". The Equalizer. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
- "FC KANSAS CITY EARN PLAYOFF BERTH WITH 3–2 WIN OVER THORNS FC". nwslsoccer.com. August 4, 2013. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
- Moran, Gwen (July 29, 2015). "Pro women's soccer is having a moment. Here's how to make it last". Fortune. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
- Kassouf, Jeff (March 19, 2015). "Plush: Six cities interested in NWSL expansion". The Equalizer. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
- McCauley, Kevin (April 15, 2016). "NWSL has survived longer than any other women's soccer league. When do players get paid?". SBNation. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- "2013 Roster Rules". National Women's Soccer League. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
- Graham Hays (January 11, 2013). "NWSL ALLOCATION EASIER SAID THAN DONE". ESPN. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
- "2014 Roster Rules – National Women's Soccer League". National Women's Soccer League. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
- "Dynamo welcome NWSL expansion team: Houston Dash". Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- "NWSL announces Boston Breakers to cease operations". NWSL. January 28, 2018. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
- Linehan, Meg (November 20, 2017). "NWSL announces that FC Kansas City will cease operations". NWSL. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
- "NORTH CAROLINA FOOTBALL CLUB ENTERS INTO AGREEMENT TO ACQUIRE RIGHTS TO NWSL'S 2016 CHAMPIONS WESTERN NEW YORK FLASH". North Carolina Courage. January 9, 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
- "Western New York Flash Announces Entry into United Women's Soccer" (Press release). Western New York Flash. March 7, 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
- Giase, Frank (December 11, 2012). "On Soccer: New women's pro league has backing of U.S. Soccer Federation". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
- Kassouf, Jeff (November 20, 2012). "Established LA ownership excluded for geography". The Equalizer. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
- Kassouf, Jeff (November 21, 2012). "Connecticut hopes for expansion bid, again". The Equalizer. Retrieved April 13, 2013.
- Rollins, Duane (May 15, 2013). "The View from the North: Silence speaking volumes in Toronto?". The Equalizer. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
- Magazine, RedNation Online: Your Canadian Soccer. "The Case for Toronto: National Women's Soccer League Expansion". rednationonline.ca. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
- "Exclusive: Gulati confirms no NWSL expansion for 2014". Soccer Wire. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
- Coleman, Adam (July 17, 2013). "Cy Woods girls' soccer coach living dream as pro player". Cyprus Creek Mirror. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
- Giase, Frank (August 20, 2013). "On Soccer: National Women's Soccer League on solid ground". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
- "arnim whisler on expansion". BigSoccer.com. August 4, 2013. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
- Murray, Caitlin (August 25, 2013). "Exclusive: Gulati confirms no NWSL expansion for 2014". SoccerWire.com. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
- Bell, Jack (August 23, 2013). "Sky Blue Looks Beyond N.W.S.L. Playoffs". The New York Times. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
- Lovell, Darrell (November 19, 2013). "Houston Dynamo looking into becoming second MLS team to own professional women's club". Houston Dynamo. Retrieved November 19, 2013.
- "Houston Dynamo launch Houston Dash as expansion member of National Women's Soccer League". Houston Dynamo. December 12, 2013. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
- Goff, Steve (December 11, 2013). "NWSL expanding to Houston in 2014". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
- "The Lowdown: World Cup bump engulfs NWSL". Equalizer Soccer. July 16, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- "10 minutes with NWSL commissioner Jeff Plush on the Women's World Cup, role models, league expansion". MLSsoccer.com. July 8, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- "Orlando City likely to add NWSL Women's team". Fansided. July 20, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- "National Women's Soccer League set to capitalize on U.S.'s World Cup title". Yahoo!. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- "Orlando Pride women's soccer team to join NWSL in 2016". Bay News 9. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
- Farley, Richard (November 15, 2017). "Real Salt Lake team to replace FC Kansas City: What it means for the NWSL". FourFourTwo. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
- "Orlando Pride rolls to 3–1 win before record crowd in home debut". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
- Pramuk, Jacob. "For US soccer wages, women still fall far short of men". CNBC. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
- "NWSL make modest increase to salary cap ahead of 2016 season". April 2, 2016. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
- "Fairer wages for women to dominate CBA talks". theworldgame.sbs.com.au. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
- "2017 Roster Rules". Retrieved May 26, 2017.
- "Non-allocated NWSL players take step toward forming union". Sports Illustrated. Associated Press. May 15, 2017. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
- Meghann Burke [@NWSL_PA] (May 15, 2017). "[FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE] NWSL Non-Allocated Players Announce the Formation of a Players Association" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Non-allocated players form NWSL Players Association". The Equalizer. May 15, 2017. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
- Gonzalez, Monica (May 16, 2017). "INTERVIEW: Burke Leads New US Union". FIFPro. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
- "National Women's Soccer League". Retrieved September 21, 2013 – via YouTube.
- Murray, Caitlin (August 14, 2013). "Assessing Year 1, future of NWSL livestreams". Equalizer Soccer. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
- "NWSL, FSMG ANNOUNCE NATIONAL TV AGREEMENT – National Women's Soccer League". Nwslsoccer.com. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
- "NWSL AND ESPN ANNOUNCE NATIONAL BROADCAST AGREEMENT". nwslsoccer.com. May 28, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
- "NWSL and FOX Sports announce national broadcast deal". June 30, 2015. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
- "FOX Sports to broadcast six NWSL games in 2016". April 14, 2016. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
- "NWSL, go90 announce exclusive streaming partnership". Black and Red United (SBNation). Retrieved April 14, 2017.
- "Lifetime To Air National Women's Soccer League Games As A+E Networks Kicks in For Equity Stake". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
- "A+E Networks, National Women's Soccer League Ink Major Deal". Variety. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
- Hagey, Keach (February 2, 2017). "A+E Networks Buys Stake in National Women's Soccer League". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
- Das, Andrew (February 2, 2017). "In A&E, Women's Soccer League Gets an Investor and a Bigger Platform". The New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
- Rollins, Sean (May 15, 2017). "Go90 Deal Puts NWSL and Orlando Pride in Dire Situation". The Maneland (SB Nation). Retrieved June 19, 2017.
- Smith, Chad C (May 1, 2017). "The NWSL's go90 Deal Could Be Hurting the League". The Blue Testament (SB Nation). Retrieved June 19, 2017.
- Lee, Allison (April 13, 2017). "Lee: NWSL missed the mark with go90". The Equalizer. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
- Bush, Chelsey (May 17, 2017). "Run of Play: Technical Difficulties". The Equalizer. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
- "NWSL to offer streams on league site, app". The Equalizer. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
- Burke, Timothy (May 27, 2017). "Rachel Daly Collapses, Is Taken Off on Stretcher at End of Match". Deadspin. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
- Kennedy, Paul (June 13, 2017). "NWSL: Measures adopted to deal with afternoon heat". socceramerica.com. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
- "NWSL hopes moving games to evening slot on ESPNews will boost attendance, ensure player safety". The Oregonian. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- "Sam Kerr Breaks NWSL Single-Season Goal Record in 4-3 Victory Against Boston". Once A Metro. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- "Samantha Kerr Statistics on StatsCrew.com". www.statscrew.com. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- "Scoreboard.com: Jessica Marie McDonald (North Carolina Courage W) - profile". www.scoreboard.com. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- "USA - J. McDonald - Profile with news, career statistics and history - Soccerway". int.soccerway.com. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- "Canada - C. Sinclair - Profile with news, career statistics and history - Soccerway". int.soccerway.com. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- "USA - C. Press - Profile with news, career statistics and history - Soccerway". int.soccerway.com. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- "Scoreboard.com: Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars W) - profile". www.scoreboard.com. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- "USA - M. Rapinoe - Profile with news, career statistics and history - Soccerway". int.soccerway.com. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- Ltd, Simplestream. "National Women's Soccer League". www.nwslsoccer.com. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- "USA - L. Williams - Profile with news, career statistics and history - Soccerway". int.soccerway.com. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- "Scoreboard.com: Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC W) - profile". www.scoreboard.com. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- "USA - A. Long - Profile with news, career statistics and history - Soccerway". int.soccerway.com. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- Vavel (October 18, 2016). "Kim Little: The best that ever was in the NWSL". VAVEL.com. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- Cite error: The named reference
:6was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
- "USA - A. Morgan - Profile with news, career statistics and history - Soccerway". int.soccerway.com. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- "USA - C. Lloyd - Profile with news, career statistics and history - Soccerway". int.soccerway.com. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- "Jessica Fishlock". Retrieved August 12, 2018.
- "Player of the Week: Jen Hoy". National Women's Soccer League. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
- "August's Best: Monica Ocampo". National Women's Soccer League. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
- "NWSL ANNOUNCES 2013 AWARDS". National Women's Soccer League. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
- "NWSL BEST XI". National Women's Soccer League. Archived from the original on September 26, 2013. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
- "NWSL Executive Director Cheryl Bailey to step down". November 18, 2014.
- "Jeff Plush is new commissioner of women's soccer league". January 6, 2015.
- "NWSL Commissioner Jeff Plush Steps Down". OurSports Central. March 2, 2017.
- Halloran, John D. (May 8, 2017). "Amanda Duffy Addresses NWSL Present and Future". American Soccer Now. Retrieved July 2, 2017.