Boston Welcomes the Return of Women's Soccer with New NWSL Franchise
Although the Boston Breakers, the former Boston NWSL team, has dissolved, with the expansion of the league there comes a new face for female sports in Boston.
When the National Women's Soccer League declared it would be expanding, it didn't take long for an all woman led ownership group to take action. In an exciting development for soccer enthusiasts in Boston, it was the Boston Unity Soccer Partners who were awarded the expansion team. This franchise, set to kick off in 2026, aims to bring back professional women's soccer to the city after the dissolution of the Boston Breakers in 2018.
Jennifer Epstein, the co-owner of the Boston Celtics; Anna Palmer, partner at Flybridge Capital; Ami Kuan Danoff, the Chief Financial Officer of the Women’s Foundation of Boston; and Stephanie Connaughton, an entrepreneur; formed Boston Unity Soccer Partners while investing over $100 million in the endeavor.
Part of the investment will see the refurbishment of Franklin Park's White Stadium, which was originally constructed for the use of Boston public school athletics. The stadium is set to host 11,000 people and provide a sense of connectivity, according to Epstein. However, public schools will continue to use the amenity, only now to get the facilities they deserve.
Before dissolving as a franchise, the Breakers played at different venues around Greater Boston. While some point fingers at poor management as causing the dissolution, Epstein believes there was a lack of visibility as she preaches, “We need people not just to attend games but cover them, it's a world class product. By building a home for the team. Bostonians will know where to find us.”
the team, the ownership believes in building the team from top to bottom. “We're always big believers in creating opportunities for women. And at the same time, we're also creating a winning team,” Danoff said. In the process of scouting for a manager, they will ensure that plenty of female candidates are considered.
Further, in efforts to cater to the team to the identity of the city, Palmer mentions, “We want to make sure that this team feels like Boston. That people are the table, fan experience, everyone that's involved — it's truly the heart of Boston, that [it] feels like this team is something that's homegrown."
The venture aligns with a broader resurgence of women's sports in Boston, joining the ranks of the Boston Renegades and the Boston Pride. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu expressed her excitement according to NWSL, stating, “There’s just an excitement around soccer in the city that’s always been there, and especially with the upcoming opportunities to host the [men’s] World Cup in 2026, the impact of a professional women’s sports team will be huge.” The return of women's soccer to the city coincides with the global rise in women's sports fandom and arguably the largest sports event ever returning to US soil.
The announcement, featuring Mayor Michelle Wu, NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman, and the ownership group, marks a milestone for women's soccer in Boston, symbolizing a vibrant future for the sport in the city. With the first game scheduled in three years, there's anticipation and enthusiasm building as Boston prepares to welcome back professional women's soccer.
Residing in an incredibly diverse and globally interconnected city, soccer stands out as the world's sport. “We want to build this team within the fabric of our community and have it reflect the diversity within our region. To do that, we're going to bring this city and its communities alongside us, from now until 2026 and beyond.”
Both the manager and the name of the team remain undecided. While the investors are female-led, it's unclear if the team will be as well.