The National Women’s Soccer League has awarded Boston expansion rights for the league’s 15th team to Boston Unity Soccer Partners, an all-female core ownership group, with the new club is set to kick off in the 2026 season at George R. White Stadium in Franklin Park after renovations are made to the venue.
“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,” said NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman. “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. We are thrilled for their entry to the league in the 2026 season and add a new chapter to the storied history of Boston sports.”
Boston Unity Soccer Partners is led by Juno Equity Founder/Boston Celtics Minority Owner Jennifer Epstein, marketer and brand builder Stephanie Connaughton, Women’s Foundation of Boston Co-Founder/Chief Financial Officer Ami Danoff and Flybridge Capital General Partner Anna Palmer. Boston Unity Soccer Partners is the first investment for Monarch Collective, the first fund focused exclusively on investment in women’s sports, founded by Kara Nortman and Jasmine Robinson.
“We are thrilled to bring the NWSL back to this passionate fan base,” said Epstein. “Our goal is to build a championship-caliber franchise that the city can be proud of, both on the pitch and in the community. We will be relentless and daring in our quest to add another chapter to the city’s unrivaled sports legacy. We thank Commissioner Berman and the NWSL board for believing in us and in Boston and are grateful for the unwavering support of Mayor Michelle Wu and her team, who have been instrumental in bringing professional women’s soccer back to Boston.”
The NWSL in April announced expansion to the Bay Area following the March announcement of the return of the Utah Royals also for next season. Boston’s franchise will begin play in 2025.
The teams in Salt Lake City and San Jose will bring the total of NWSL clubs next season to 14, nearly double the number of teams in 2012. The new Bay Area club’s majority investor is Sixth Street, a global investment firm with ties to Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and the San Antonio Spurs. The firm is also partnered with the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys through its majority investment in Legends, a global sports and live venue experience business.
The three expansion franchises each have history in professional women’s soccer. Utah Royals FC entered the NWSL in 2017 and averaged more than 10,000 fans per game in 2019 before the team moved to Kansas City in 2020. The San Jose CyberRays played three seasons in the WUSA and won the 2001 championship before the league and team folded in 2003. FC Gold Pride played two seasons in the now-defunct Women’s Professional Soccer before folding in 2010. The Boston Breakers were part of the Women’s Professional Soccer League in 2007 before joining the Women’s Premier Soccer League Elite in 2012 and later the NWSL in its inaugural season before the team shut down in 2018.
The expansion announcement continues the NWSL’s increasing number of franchises throughout the U.S. What was a league that 10 years ago started with eight teams reached 12 last season with two new teams in California, Angel City FC and San Diego Wave FC. Angel City averaged more than 19,000 fans in Los Angeles last season while San Diego set a postseason attendance record in the playoff semifinals. San Diego will host the NWSL Champinoship Game on November 11 at Snapdragon Stadium.