The temperatures are finally looking more like summer, so that means it must be time for another season of United Women’s Soccer! The 2019 season marks the fourth season of the UWS and features growth in both new clubs and new opportunities for fans to watch and follow their favorite clubs and players for the season.
First off, MyCujoo will continue to stream games for the UWS. All teams will have their own dedicated channel on MyCujoo.tv. This is the second year of the partnership and both sides are committed to maintaining and expanding this relationship for the foreseeable future.
Ticketing for the UWS will see a facelift as Passages will be the official ticket provider of the UWS. All fans will now be able to purchase tickets to all UWS events online or through their mobile device. As part of this partnership, Passage is kicking off a custom online portal called UWS Tickets, available to all teams in the UWS. Each team will be able to personalize the look and feel of their UWS Tickets portal, which will handle ticket sales, merchandise, and concessions, both online and at the door on match day. Fans can purchase match day tickets and teams can sign-up to start selling tickets at zero cost by visiting UWStickets.com.
Now that we have updated you on what is going on off of the pitch, let’s get down to what clubs will take part in the 2019 season. Although this is the first season in which a new conference hasn’t been created, there was plenty of coming and going of clubs from 2018 to 2019. Eight clubs left the league and the UWS added five clubs for 2019. In addition to the new clubs, the UWS retained the bulk of the teams that featured in conference and national tournaments, giving fans and the league a reason to be excited for the 2019 season. Below are summaries of what teams came in, left, and rebranded in each conference during the 2018-19 off-season.
Is this the season in which the UWS’s most populous conference breaks through to win a league championship? Inferno Rush FC (Lancaster) will look to avenge their 2018 championship loss and New Jersey Copa FC will look to return to the championship game for the first time since the league’s inaugural 2016 season.
These dominant clubs will be joined by the Connecticut Fusion, Long Island Rough Riders, New England Mutiny, Rochester Lancers, Worcester Smiles, and expansion side Syracuse Development Academy. The conference has lost New York Surf and Western New York Flash for the 2019 season, but the high octane competition in this conference packed with quality talent will be at an all time high.
2018 was the first season in the young history of the UWS that a team from the West wasn’t represented in the league championship match. Like every conference in the UWS, the West has seen significant change in their conference. The changes in the West make the conference look poised to make a return to the title match. Returning are Calgary Foothills WFC, Colorado Pride, Santa Clarita Blue Heat, and LA Galaxy OC. Incoming are Queen City United FC of Regina, Saskatchewan, giving the UWS two Canadian teams for the 2019 season. The battle for Canada will be a huge storyline in the West with the veteran club Calgary fighting expansion side Queen City for superiority of the “Great White North.”
Leaving the conference were SoCal Crush and Real Salt Lake Women’s team. SoCal fizzled out as soon as it started, while Real’s exit was totally out of their control. With their parent club (Real Salt Lake of MLS) purchasing NWSL expansion side, Utah Royals FC and Royals starting a reserve team in the WPSL, RSL’s women’s side were the odd team out, leaving the West with only five teams for the 2019 season.
Change was also abundant in the Midwest for 2019. Added were AFC Ann Arbor and Indiana Union, who are a rebrand of Indy Premier. AFCAA will work to emulate the success their men’s side has had in the NPSL and disrupt the chokehold that Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Lansing have on this conference. Gone are clubs that had promising futures in Genesee FC, and Fort Wayne United FC Gryphons, as well as FC Indiana, but like many amateur clubs, couldn’t become financially stable enough to continue for the 2019 season.
As AFCAA, Indiana Union, and Michigan Legends FC will tool-up to surprise the league in 2019, Detroit Sun FC, Grand Rapids FC, and Lansing United will look to continue their dominance of the Midwest Conference. All three have been in the conference tournament all years of their club’s existence, with GRFC winning each tournament. GRFC (twice) and Detroit (once) have also been featured in the national tournament, with GRFC hosting twice and winning in 2017.
Last but certainly not least, the Southwest Conference holds the current UWS crown. The Houston Aces defeated Inferno Rush FC 1-0 to claim the first championship in club and conference history. They will have tough competition in returning teams El Paso Surf (rebrand of ASA El Paso) and FC Austin Elite, but remain the favorite to represent the Southwest in the league finals.
Joining the Southwest is a familiar team to women’s soccer, but new to UWS. San Antonio Athenians SC are back to playing soccer after taking the 2018 season off to re-evaluate their club and league. Athenians left the WPSL in 2017 and look to take on Houston and the rest of the Southwest in the 2019 season. Athenians take the place of North Texas Image and HAR FC who left the UWS after one season.
With the new teams and new opportunities for fans to watch the UWS, 2019 is going to be a strong stepping stone for the longevity of the league. 2019 will be the most competitive and most accessible season since its inception in 2016, and if you want to see quality women’s soccer, you should use all of the new avenues this season to watch all of the UWS possible.