HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Hartford Athletic is launching a USL women’s league team in 2022, the club announced Tuesday.

Hartford will be one of the eight founding clubs in the newly-formed pre-professional women’s soccer league.

The new ‘W league’ will begin play in 2022 and “will provide an elite pre-professional pathway for women looking to build their careers both on and off the pitch.”

Hartford Athletic Chairman Bruce Mandell said of the announcement, “We created Hartford Athletic to do big things for our community and to accomplish economically, socially, and culturally broad objectives. The W League is another exciting opportunity for us to make an impact here in Connecticut. We are thrilled to provide playing opportunities for top women’s college and high school players in our professional environment and dedicated to creating pathways for women looking to build their careers both on and off the pitch. We’re very proud to be working with the USL to make this a reality.”

“Our goal for the W League is to use women’s soccer as a source for societal good by creating a national platform to increase opportunity, gender equity, and career development,” said USL Director of Women’s Soccer, Betsy Haugh. “We’re expecting to have as many as 30 clubs for our inaugural season, which would provide upwards of 750 opportunities to play, work, and coach in the women’s game. We’re very excited about what the future holds.” 

To learn more about the USL W League, visit uslwleague.com or follow the W League on Twitter at @uslwleague