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NWSL puts expansion on hold until 2020

The National Women’s Soccer League will not bring in any new teams until 2020 at the earliest, managing director Amanda Duffy has revealed.

The Boston Breakers and FC Kansas City both ceased operations in recent years while the future of Sky Blue FC remains in severe doubt.

A slow-and-steady approach will continue as the league, about to start its seventh season, looks to get on a firmer financial footing and capitalize on interest in women’s soccer ahead of the World Cup in France this summer.

“Our efforts are really focused on 2020. We feel like the timeline for any group that’s going to launch a team, launch a new brand, even if it’s within an existing professional organization, the time that it takes to get all the pieces in place and to do it right and to build up to that inaugural season — we’re planning and preparing for expansion to be in 2020 right now,” Duffy told Pro Soccer USA.

“We’re really concentrating on the quality of the ownership, the quality of the market, the quality of existing facilities – both the match venue, training facilities — staff, infrastructure and the support in that market for soccer and women’s soccer, in particular.”

The NWSL has not had a commissioner since Jeff Plush resigned in March 2017. Duffy said: “I think that I’m in a great leadership position right now with NWSL, and in a lot of ways fulfilling some of those responsibilities.”

The league’s minimum salary will rise five per cent to $16,538 a year while the maximum wage will rise five per cent to $46,200. Squads will also expand to 20-22 players, from 18-20 players.