Fort Lauderdale, Florida, will be one of the markets in the USL Super League when it launches in August 2024. The addition of the team, founded by Fort Lauderdale-area native Tommy Smith, brings the USL Super League to nine announced teams for its inaugural season. The league’s application for first-division status is pending with U.S. Soccer.
Smith’s group plans to have a “modernized stadium and on-site training facilities” in partnership with Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida, at the former site of the practice facility for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.
“South Florida is ready for professional women’s soccer,” USL Super League president Amanda Vandervort said. “Fort Lauderdale is a great addition to an already strong contingent of Super League markets, and we’re looking forward to kicking off next fall.”
Fort Lauderdale will join founding teams in Charlotte; Dallas/Fort Worth; Lexington, Kentucky; Phoenix; Spokane, Washington; Tampa Bay; Tucson, Arizona; and Washington, D.C. for the inaugural 2024-25 season. Additional teams are expected to be announced for the league’s launch. Five other markets have also been previously announced as committed to playing in future seasons of the USL Super League pending the completion of stadium projects.
Branding for the new Fort Lauderdale team will be announced in the coming months, the team said. An online fan survey will help drive those branding decisions.
“We are thrilled to announce the launch of the first professional women’s soccer team in South Florida, marking a historic milestone for our community,” Super League Fort Lauderdale owner Tommy Smith said. “Our mission is to deliver the highest standard of play by recruiting world-class global talent while also empowering young women in South Florida. Super League Fort Lauderdale aims to create a direct pathway to Division 1 professional soccer, offering local players the opportunity to shine on the national stage and providing a platform for growth beyond the game.”
The USL Super League intends to launch as a first-division league — the same as the National Women’s Soccer League, which started in 2013 and will grow to 14 teams in 2024 — with one major difference: A season that starts in late summer and ends in late spring. The NWSL has struggled with pain points of a calendar that runs opposite of that — from early spring through late fall — which has forced tough decisions like scrapping the NWSL Challenge Cup.