Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake is adding a women’s team that will play in the National Women’s Soccer League next season.
The Utah team was announced as a “new” team to the NWSL. But at a news conference Thursday league official Amanda Duffy said NWSL would remain at 10 teams for 2018, suggesting that perhaps another team was either folding or moving. But no announcement about the other team in the equation was made.
The NWSL completed its historic fifth season this year. No other professional women’s soccer league has lasted as long.
RSL becomes the fourth MLS franchise to include a women’s pro club, joining the Portland Timbers (Thorns), Orlando City (Pride) and Houston Dynamo (Dash).
“During our discussions in this process, Real Salt Lake has demonstrated their unquestionable desire and commitment to bring the highest level of professional women’s soccer to all fans of the game in Salt Lake City and Utah,” Duffy, NWSL managing director of operations, said in a statement.
Speaking at a news conference at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, RSL general manager Craig Waibel addressed the players who will don Salt Lake jerseys next season. A team name will be announced in the near future.
“We can’t wait to have you, we can’t wait to make you part of our family. You’re going to be treated as professionals, play at an amazing stadium, train at amazing grounds, have a locker room that’s equipped for the quality you bring,” he said.
The announcement comes as FC Kansas City faces an uncertain future. The team is without a coach in the offseason after Vlatko Andonovski left for the Seattle Reign.
Elam Baer, founder and CEO of North Central Equity in Minneapolis, purchased FC Kansas City in January. But the team struggled this season, finishing seventh in the league with a record of 8-9-7.
“We are in on-going discussions with the FC Kansas City ownership group regarding their status and plans for the future. We will look to provide an update as soon as possible,” the NWSL said in a statement provided to The Associated Press.