Boston awarded NWSL franchise

Jul 1, 2023; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; A general view of the game ball before the game between Washington Spirit and Orlando Pride at Audi Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The National Women’s Soccer League awarded an expansion team to Boston on Tuesday, with the franchise expected to begin play in 2026, the league announced Tuesday.

The club will be led by Boston Unity Soccer Partners, with the core owners all being women with local ties. Among the owners are Jennifer Epstein, a minority owner of the Celtics, who will serve as the controlling partner.

The Boston club will be the 15th in the NWSL. The Utah Royals FC and Bay FC, from the San Francisco area, are scheduled to join the league in 2024.

“I’m excited to expand the NWSL’s footprint and continue its transformative growth in our return to Boston, one of the world’s most iconic sports cities,” NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman said in a news release. “We are very proud to welcome Boston Unity Soccer Partners to our ownership group. They bring an impressive roster of business leaders committed to continuing Boston’s legacy of sports excellence and delivering a successful team to a very passionate fanbase.”

The price of the franchise was not disclosed. The league said 95 percent of the invested capital comes from women, and 40 percent from investors of color.

“Our goal is to build a championship-caliber franchise that the city can be proud of, both on the pitch and in the community,” Epstein said. “We will be relentless and daring in our quest to add another chapter to the city’s unrivaled sports legacy.”

Matches are set to be played at George R. White Stadium in the Franklin Park in Boston. Boston Unity Partners “plans to invest significant resources to transform the stadium into a top-tier facility,” according to the league news release.

The previous women’s soccer team in Boston, the Breakers, folded before the 2018 season.

–Field Level Media

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