A Tampa-area team is planned for a new women's pro soccer league in a new stadium
Local business leaders Darryl Shaw, David Laxer and Jeff Fox are the owners of the Tampa Bay franchise in the new "top-tier" USL Super League, slated to begin in 2024. Also in the plans: building a soccer stadium.
Three Tampa business leaders are partnering to bring a "top-tier" professional women’s soccer team to the region.
Ybor City developer Darryl Shaw, Bern’s Steak House co-owner David Laxer and former BluePearl Pet Hospital executive Jeff Fox are the principals.
They say the club will part of a new United Soccer League Super League of 10 to 12 teams that wants to kick off in August 2024. The league is seeking sanctioning as a Division I league by the U.S. Soccer Federation, the sport’s governing body in the country.
The Tampa Bay group plans to eventually have its own new "soccer-specific stadium" that would also be a year-round venue for other events. A temporary venue would be selected until the stadium is ready.
“Engagement with stakeholders and exploration of stadium location and funding options can begin now that the team has been announced,” the league said in a press release.
A team name, colors and crest will be decided with public input.
“This is about inspiring, energizing, and uniting our Tampa Bay community,” Shaw said in the press release. “We’re ready to build a team that not only wins on the field, but also makes a positive difference off the field. To us, success comes when you become part of the fabric of your community.”
Other markets announced for the first season include: Charlotte, North Carolina; Fort Worth, Texas; Lexington, Kentucky; Phoenix; Spokane, Washington; and Washington, D.C. Additional markets will be announced at a later date, the league said.
Four cities are slated to join after the first season, pending completion of stadium projects: Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Madison, Wisconsin; and Oakland, California.
Once sanctioned as Division I, the USL Super League said it will look to attract national and international players who have competed in the Women's World Cup and Olympics.
“This commitment to bring top-tier women’s professional sports to Tampa Bay, in a new stadium where it can truly shine, represents a sincere investment in making this great community even stronger for the future,” USL Super League president Amanda Vandervort said in the press release.
The USL, based in Tampa, also oversees a men’s league that includes the Tampa Bay Rowdies.