Women's professional soccer coming to Tampa

Women’s professional soccer is coming to Tampa and the new USL Super League is a hat trick for the area.

Tampa will be one of the first clubs in the 10 to 12-team women’s professional soccer league that launches in August 2024. It will be the highest-level professional women’s sports team ever from Tampa Bay and further cement the region’s reputation as a sports town. 

The new league also means expansion for a Tampa-based business. The United Soccer League (USL), which has the Tampa Bay Rowdies in its USL Championship men’s league, has its corporate headquarters at Westshore Center in Tampa.

Finally, someone in the Tampa Bay area may earn bragging rights for naming the team. The new club’s name, colors and crest will be selected with community input. An online submission form is available until 11:59 p.m. on June 16th. 

Discussing the new team during the Tampa Downtown Partnership’s May 19th Downtown Development Forum, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor says the USL wanted Tampa as an original market before looking to expand in the future. Fifteen months before the league’s first season, Castor was already predicting a championship.

“They know Tampa Bay is going to take that trophy,” Castor says.

Developer Darryl Shaw, Bern’s Steak House co-owner David Laxer and Jeff Fox, the former chief information officer of BluePearl Pet Hospital, are the team's owners. They are also childhood friends.

The team will start play at a temporary and yet-to-be-determined location before a soccer stadium is built in the future. A USL Super League press release says the goal is for that future stadium to be a year-round facility that hosts youth and community soccer and other events.

“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 says in a press statement. “The Super League is driven to make world-class professional women’s soccer more accessible for more players, fans, and communities across the U.S., and Tampa Bay’s new team is a key part of that effort.”

For more information, go to Super League Tampa Bay.

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Read more articles by Christopher Curry.

Chris Curry has been a writer for the 83 Degrees Media team since 2017. Chris also served as the development editor for a time before assuming the role of managing editor in May 2022. Chris lives in Clearwater. His professional career includes more than 15 years as a newspaper reporter, primarily in Ocala and Gainesville, before moving back home to the Tampa Bay Area. He enjoys the local music scene, the warm winters and Tampa Bay's abundance of outdoor festivals and events. When he's not working or spending time with family, he can frequently be found hoofing the trails at one of Pinellas County's nature parks.