In a recent conversation with Sports Illustrated’s Planet Fútbol podcast, FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu chatted about some guys named Messi and Neymar, and starting a team in the new U.S. futsal league.
But the most intriguing nugget from the conversation was Bartomeu’s comments about Barcelona being serious about launching a National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) team by 2018 in New York, Los Angeles or…wait for it…the Bay Area.
Currently, the 10-team league does not have a team in California, let alone the Bay Area, which is perplexing, as the West Coast has produced so many top women’s players.
The Bay Area has flirted with women’s professional soccer in the past, most recently withFC Gold Pride (2008-2010) in the now defunct Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) league.
Despite winning the league in 2010, and fielding such notable players as Marta, Brandi Chastain, Kelley O’Hara, and Shannon Boxx, the team struggled financially, shutting down operations after their title-winning season.
San Francisco is home to The San Francisco Nighthawks, who ply their trade inWomen’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL), which is just below the NWSL in the U.S. soccer pyramid. The league runs from May to August.
The Nighthawks are a founding member of the league, which is largely made up of amateur teams, though with some professional teams as well. Teams must choose their status, due to NCAA regulations, which does not allow collegiate players to play on a pro team.
The “Hawks” as they are often referred to, play their home matches at Kezar Stadium, and are active in the community, providing coaching, equipment and soccer clinics to low income youth, amongst other charitable endeavors.
On several occasions last season, the Nighthawks were part of “soccer double-headers” at Kezar, featuring one of their matches, followed by a San Francisco City FC match.
For more information on the San Francisco Nighthawks, visit their Facebook page.
Perhaps with the advent of a professional men’s team, the San Francisco Deltas (NPSL), commencing play next year, San Francisco will get another look for a professional women’s team.