With only five teams, WPS requested a waiver from the eight-team requirement for a professional league. The Board approved the waiver for the five-team league in 2012, depending on certain conditions being fulfilled to ensure positive growth in the near future. All five WPS team owners have agreed to meet the conditions.
In order to be considered for Division 1 sanctioning beyond 2012, WPS must increase the number of teams in the league over the next two seasons to a minimum of six for 2013 and a minimum of eight for 2014. Other conditions have to do with financial requirements, both at the team and league levels, designed to ensure continued operation of the teams through the 2012 season and to ensure the participation of a sixth team for the 2013 season.
“After thorough discussions, our Board of Directors approved sanctioning WPS as a Division I league, subject to the league meeting certain conditions,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “WPS has agreed to these requirements. At all levels of professional soccer in the United States, our goal is to ensure the long-term sustainability of each league. WPS is optimistic about their ability to continue to grow in the next two years, and we believe these conditions will help the league accomplish those goals.”
The five teams in WPS are the Atlanta Beat, Boston Breakers, Philadelphia Independence, Sky Blue FC and Western New York Flash.