WPSL continue to see growth in Chicago with newest expansion team for 2021 season
The Women's Premier Soccer League continues to expand ahead of the 2021 season with its newest expansion team, Chicago Dutch Lions FC, becoming the third club for the WPSL in the Chicago metro-area.
"I am very happy we were able to bring Dutch Lions FC to Chicago. The organization has proven over the years that its model provides a great platform for young players to bridge the gap from youth and college to professional soccer in the states and Europe," Nikhil Erlebach, Chicago Dutch Lions FC CEO & General Manager, said.
The club was founded by Dutch Lions Capital Group USA LLC who has made an impact over the last decade in American soccer with now having seven Dutch Lions FC clubs in the U.S. with the addition of the Chicago exansion. Chicago will also become Dutch Lions FC's third club in the WPSL; Dayton Dutch Lions FC in Dayton, Ohio (founded in 2010) and Florida Gulf Coast Dutch Lions FC in Cape Coral, Florida (founded in 2015) currently play in the league.
Along with the women's side, Dutch Lions FC field four clubs in the men's game as well as two youth academies. They also co-founded and initial minority owner of the Major League Soccer organization, FC Cincinnati.
Chicago Dutch Lions FC's mission is to create a Gateway to Professional Soccer and execute this objective through quality programs that help fulfill the dreams of young men and women to become professional soccer players in the U.S. or Europe. Consistent with the Dutch philosophy of educating youth soccer players, the Dutch Lions FC program strives to enhance the growth of young men and women both on and off the pitch - on the pitch through their tactical and technical development and off the pitch through intellectual, moral, social, and physical growth.
"The Chicago area produces so many good female soccer players, but there are not a lot of opportunities to turn professional in the United States,"said Mike Mossel, CEO of Dutch Lions Capital Group, said. "Dutch Lions FC wants to provide soccer players the chance to become professional, either domestically or in Europe."
In total, over 60 Dutch Lions FC players have signed with professional clubs after their time with Dutch Lions FC clubs. On the Women's side, Rose Lavelle has been the most successful Dutch Lions FC player ever. Lavelle played with Dayton Dutch Lions FC for two seasons (2014-2016).
For their inaugural season with the WPSL, Chicago Dutch Lions FC will play their home matches at Blazer Stadium of Addison Trail high school which has the capacity to seat 3,000 fans. Ticket information will be announced at a later date upon the release of their schedule.
The WPSL is in its 23rd season and is the largest women's soccer league in the world with more than 125 clubs from coast-to-coast in 35 states. WPSL rosters feature elite collegiate, post-collegiate, international and standout prep student-athletes. Many of the United States' most accomplished women's players have played in the WPSL, including household names such as Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, Megan Rapinoe, Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain.