The W-League released its schedule and alignment for its 20th Anniversary season this week, with all the action for North America’s first and longest-standing women’s league getting underway on Saturday, May 10. Following a third-place finish in their inaugural season, the Washington Spirit Reserves begin their 2014 campaign at home on May 17th against newcomers Braddock Road Stars Elite.
The Reserves May 17th home opener kicks off at 3:00PM and is slated as the first match in a doubleheader with the NWSL Washington Spirit. The professional Spirit squad takes on Abby Wambach and the Western New York Flash at 6:30PM.
Joining Braddock Road in 2014, the W-League welcomes three additional new teams – the Colorado Pride, the Gulf Coast Texans and the Sedona FC Strikers. The Colorado Storm have also joined to continue the 18-year history of the franchise that previously competed as the Colorado Force and Colorado Rapids Women. The 2013 W-League champion Pali Blues merged with the Western Conference’s other playoff participant – the LA Strikers – to form the LA Blues.
“I am truly elated for the W-League to be celebrating the completion of its second full decade of operation,” W-League Senior Director Amanda Duffy said. “The 2014 season will feature a tremendous level of competition and once again highlight strengthened rivalries that capture the excitement of the teams and league.
“With the quality of players and coaches who will compete for the 2014 W-League Championship, I fully expect the W-League will solidify its position as the top women’s pro-am development league in North America, in support of NWSL.”
The W-League is once again divided into four geographic conferences – Central, Northeastern, Southeastern and Western. The Western Conference features eight teams, while the Central and Northeastern have six and the Southeastern has five.
2014 W-League Alignment
K-W United FC
Quebec Dynamo ARSQ
Toronto Lady Lynx
Braddock Road Stars Elite
Long Island Rough Riders
New Jersey Wildcats
New York Magic
North Jersey Valkyries
Washington Spirit Reserves
Carolina Elite Cobras
Charlotte Lady Eagles
Dayton Dutch Lions
Gulf Coast Texans
Bay Area Breeze
Santa Clarita Blue Heat
Seattle Sounders Women
Sedona FC Strikers
The season opens on Saturday, May 10 as the New York Magic travel to renew their rivalry with the Long Island Rough Riders. Week 2 sees the debut of the Sedona FC Strikers as they welcome the LA Blues on Friday, May 16, while the Braddock Road Stars Elite also make their debut at the Spirit Reserves on Saturday, May 17.
The Colorado Pride kick off their inaugural campaign when they welcome the Colorado Storm on Thursday, May 22, and the Gulf Coast Texans get underway when they travel to face longtime league power the Atlanta Silverbacks on Saturday, May 24. On the same day the 2013 W-League finalist Laval Comets open their season at the London Gryphons, while the Quebec Dynamo ARSQ (formerly Quebec City Amiral) visit the 2012 Champion Ottawa Fury.
The final weekend of the regular season is set for July 11-13, with 21 of the 25 teams in action as the race for postseason spots winds down. Full playoff information will be announced at a later date.
YouTube Live will serve as the official video platform for the W-League in 2014. Live games from throughout the league as well as team highlights and weekly league videos will provide fans a front-row seat during the season. Select games will be available live for fans to view for free on the largest global video sharing site. Some of the features YouTube Live will present to fans during live games include DVR, chat, full HD support, and social media interactivity. Fans are encouraged to subscribe for free to the team-specific YouTube channels.
The W-League is recognized throughout the world for providing superior competition for female players, while offering affordable family entertainment for fans across North America. The caliber of W-League talent continues to grow, with 36 of the 43 players who competed in the U.S. vs. Canada Women’s National team match this past weekend boasting W-League experience.