Turn this dream into a team
Learn the what, why and how of presenting a bid to the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and starting a professional women's team in Cleveland.
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Bringing an NWSL Team to Cleveland
When Cleveland Pro Soccer announced the city's MLS NEXT Pro (men's) team in November 2022, bidding for a women's professional soccer team was the natural next step.
Two teams — a women's team and a men's team — was always our vision. Once the league announced that it was expanding, we started building our bid to bring an NWSL team to Cleveland.
Cleveland fans are renowned for our devotion. We show up. We bleed our team's colors. And despite our mid-market size, Cleveland is a Top 10 Pro Sports City.
Yet: we've been the only major sports market without a professional outdoor soccer team.
Soccer is nothing new in Cleveland. We've been playing it for generations. We've waved the flags and sung the songs of domestic and international soccer teams for decades. We've even celebrated multiple indoor league championships. From cultural soccer clubs and community programs, competitive travel and nationally ranked college teams, Northeast Ohio is steeped in soccer history, talent and love for this game.
The only thing missing? A women's professional soccer team.
Ways you can support our bid for an NWSL team:
What is the NWSL?
The National Women's Soccer League is a professional women's soccer league at the top of the United States league system. In 2023, the league had 12 teams and plans to expand to 16 teams by 2026. That's where Cleveland comes in.
Do women's sports matter?
Oh, you betcha. Media coverage of women's sports has tripled since 2019 and are expected to generate nearly $1.3B this year. Nearly 1M watched this year's NWSL championship, and 1.1M watched the Women's Super League match featuring Chelsea vs. Liverpool. More people watched the 2023 Women's NCAA Championship than the first game of the MLB World Series.
Yes: women's sports matter.
NWSL, in particular, is the fastest-growing professional sports league in the United States, and recently announced media deals with CBS Sports, ESPN, Amazon worth $240M. Media coverage and women's sports are growing because there's a demand, a drive, a love for these teams, athletes and sports.
And we want to see make this happen in Cleveland.
Want to help us bring NWSL to CLE?
How a bid becomes an NWSL team:
1. RECOGNIZE THE DEMAND
Before a bid is even a glimmer in your eye, you have to see – and feel – the demand for this team in your heart — and across your region. That's exactly where we started. Northeast Ohio is so ready for this.
2. PRESENT OUR BID
A bid is a business case that our city and ownership group are ready to support a team. It shows financials, where the team will play and how strong your fan and media support will be once the team kicks off.
3. TEAM IS GRANTED!
Don't get us wrong: there's a lot that can happen between these steps. But once the league determines the right fit and a bid is accepted, then planning mode kicks into super high gear. If it's not accepted, we try again.
4. OPENING DAY!
But first: we build the stadium, hire a coach, staff and front office, build a team, sell tickets, select colors and a name, release the kit designs, and get excited because this thing is really happening! Get more detail in the timeline below.
What's the road ahead?
NWSL Bid Announced
About a year after announcing our MLS NEXT Pro team, we launched our LoyalCLE campaign to build public support and momentum to bring an NWSL team to Cleveland.
Pledge Kits En Route
Packages hit the mail and we started seeing LoyalCLE shirts around Cleveland and all over social media.
DEC. 26, 2023
Thank you, Cleveland! We asked you to wear your LoyalCLE shirt, post a photo on social and tell everyone why you support bringing professional women's soccer to Northeast Ohio. You really showed your LoyalCLE!
We're trying to fill a stadium with these ticket pledges. We look forward to showing you where we'll be cheering on these soccer teams. Stay tuned.
Present NWSL Bid
We're going to New York to show the NWSL that Cleveland is ready to support a women's soccer team and should be selected as the 16th team in the league.
If we win the bid and become the 16th NWSL team, we'll be the first women's professional soccer team in Ohio. We'll hire a coaching staff, team and support staff to make this dream a reality in Cleveland.
Picture it: opening day for the new NWSL team in Cleveland. Feel the excitement in the air, hear the soccer chants booming from the crowd, know that you were part of making this happen.
(Now, let's go win it!)
back the bid
What is a ticket pledge?
When you make a ticket pledge, you're saving your spot in line and pledging that you will buy tickets once they go on sale. It's one of several ways we're showing that this team will be loved, supported and successful in Cleveland.
Here's how to pledge:
- Pick a LoyalCLE shirt, onesie and/or rewards card
- Make your ticket pledge on the product page (no commitment, no purchase required)
- Complete your purchase & tell a friend why you backed the bid!
Your pledge kit includes your LoyalCLE merch, sticker, exclusive supporter updates (like bid & stadium announcements) and your reserved spot in line when tickets go on sale.