FC Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu recently spoke to the Associated Press on a visit to New York, and buried in a wide-ranging article about club matters, markets abroad and transfer rumors was a tiny tidbit regarding women’s soccer.
Barcelona hopes its planned team in the National Women’s Soccer League will be located in California.
Barcelona has publicly stated they would like to own an NWSL team, as recently as May, after their board approved plans on the matter. That announcement said the club wanted an NWSL expansion team to launch in 2018.
For its part, NWSL has acknowledged expansion is on the horizon but have not committed to any timetable or specific locations, nor have they publicly acknowledged Barcelona’s publicized quest. With the league technically without a commissioner since Jeff Plush left just before the season began (although it appears Amanda Duffy is doing the work of a commissioner without the actual title) it’s unclear if expansion is still on track for 2018, as has been widely rumored, or if the league will push out that timeline.
The AP report points to California but nothing else regarding a specific location. The state will have three MLS-sized stadia by next year, Avaya in San Jose, StubHub in Carson, and Banc of California in Los Angeles, as well as a plethora of smaller venues that could easily be at current NWSL standards around the state. With 2018 MLS expansion team Los Angeles Football Club and the LA Galaxy publicly stating a possible interest in launching an NWSL team at some point in the future, it wouldn’t necessarily be a surprise if Barcelona joined forces with one of the MLS teams, or even the San Jose Earthquakes, who have also been rumored to be interested in NWSL. Alternately, Barça could opt to go it alone to keep the brand and operations completely in-house.
So we’ll see. If NWSL expansion happens for next season, announcements will likely have to be made by this fall at the latest. If Barcelona is behind an expansion team, and it ends up in California, we’ll obviously keep you posted.
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