The History of Women’s Soccer

Women’s professional soccer leagues have had a rough start in the United States. Previously, in 2001, there was the WUSA which lasted only three years before folding. Shortly after that, Women’s Professional Soccer debuted and again failed to gain popularity and dismantled three years later. In 2013, the NSWL was started in the hopes that the third time would be a charm. So far, the league has been successful and has surpassed the third season mark, making it the longest lasting thus far! QueensCast, experts in all things Orlando Pride, is here to review the history of women’s soccer over the years which have led to the success of the NSWL.

  • Late 19th century: Women were first playing soccer in casual competitions in Scotland.
  • Early 20th century: Women were seen playing competitively throughout Europe, where soccer is very popular.
  • 1920: At Goodison Park in Liverpool, a women’s soccer game took place where over 53,000 spectators showed up to watch. This game was seen as a threat to the Football Association in London, and women were banned from playing there for 50 years. Luckily, leagues were established elsewhere in Europe in Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, and France.
  • Early 20th century: Soccer in U.S. started but was restricted to gyms or the college level.
  • 1951: The first female soccer league was established and was composed of four teams who played for two seasons.
  • 1970s: Serious and more organized college female soccer leagues started.
  • 1980s to early 1990s: Leagues saw serious growth. This led to the first professional league in 1995.

Check out this interactive timeline that details additional soccer history. Fast forward through the difficulties of the different women leagues reviewed earlier and we come to the NSWL. The NSWL is the only professional female league to start a fourth season and has not had one team drop out due to profit-loss. The Orlando Pride has had wildly successful ticket sales, with their game opener selling 20,000 tickets, only 1,145 tickets away from breaking the current record. Now, the women’s US soccer league has three world cups to put under their belt, and it doesn’t look like we are going to see any less of them. At QueensCast, we can’t wait for the 5th season for the NSWL and the Orlando Pride!