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Rumor: NWSL team coming to Orange County?

Maybe pro women's soccer will finally return to Southern California?

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The NWSL is entering its record-breaking fourth season of existence, and there's a contingent of women's soccer fans in the state of California still waiting for a presence of any sort in the league. Well, maybe there's some news coming down the pike in that regard.

In a profile on longtime youth team coaches in girl's soccer in Orange County this week in OC Weekly, there's a tiny tidbit of potential news for those looking to see pro soccer return to the region:

Although a professional women's soccer league does exist, California doesn't have a team yet. But, [local youth coach Neil] Powell says, there's talk about an Orange County-based team joining the league next season. "Hopefully, the third time's the charm," he says. "Right now, the closest place to Orange County to play professionally is Portland. The word on the street is that there may be a pro team next year here in Orange County. But we still need investors and commitments, so it's still in the works, although it looks like it should happen."

So let's break this down: There's someone in the local soccer community who is being quoted saying the NWSL could come to Orange County, as soon as next year! That sounds like it could be cool!

However, he includes the enormous caveat that the investors do not appear to be fully in place. So let's let a bunch of the air out of the bubble, then.

Right now, this is very much a rumor, since it's the first we've heard of it and it doesn't even sound like it's that far along. Maybe it will pick up steam, and maybe it will peter out and we'll never hear a peep about it again.

And of course, given the two previous failed women's pro soccer leagues in this country, nobody wants to see expansion for the hell of it and then having to fold teams. Nobody can afford to start a women's team on a speculative basis -- it has to be done well, and with eyes fully open to the realities of the woso pro game at the moment.

There has, of course, been tentative talk from LAFC co-owner Mia Hamm about interest in establishing a women's pro team within that organization, but even if that is realistic, it probably will not be on the horizon for several years.

We'll obviously keep an eye on this new story and let you know if there's more to the NWSL-to-OC rumor.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!

(H/T @DasGherkin on Twitter)