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Photo courtesy of NWSL.

The NWSL will expand to Louisville in 2021, the league announced Tuesday. The expansion marks the first time the city has had a top-tier pro sports team since the American Basketball Association lost the Kentucky Colonels in 1976.

Louisville, the league’s fourth expansion team, will play at Lynn Family Stadium, a soccer-specific venue that will open in 2020 and will hold 14,000 seats.

“We are very excited to welcome John Neace and Louisville City FC into the NWSL,” said NWSL President Amanda Duffy. “With the club’s growing, passionate fan base, coupled with its strong ownership group, and its significant investment in a soccer-specific stadium in a downtown location, we are thrilled to bring the highest level of women’s professional soccer to the area.”

The NWSL had a successful year, seeing a drastic increase in game attendance, after the U.S. women’s national team won the 2019 FIFA World Cup.

“We are incredibly honoured to be joining the NWSL, the greatest women’s soccer league in the world,” said Brad Estes, president of Louisville City Football Club. “We can’t wait to welcome these incredible athletes with open arms and support them in their mission to win championships. This market is hungry for more pro soccer, and we know our NWSL team will be a shining star in this league and in our community.”

Louisville City FC is the men’s pro team that plays in the United Soccer League (USL) and won back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018. They will partner with the new NWSL team, becoming the NWSL’s sixth partnership with a men’s pro soccer franchise. The owners of Louisville City FC, Soccer Holdings, will operate the NWSL group.

The draft for the team will take place in late 2020. A coach and technical staff will be found before the draft takes place.

Soccer Holdings will announce the team’s logo, crest and colours later this year.

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