ROGERS, Ark. — The United Soccer League Arkansas women’s team announced it will be competing in Division I of the USL, which is the highest level in the United States directly next to the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), on Monday, Feb. 12.
USL Arkansas co-founder Chris Martinovic said women soccer players will have multiple opportunities to go pro while competing in what is called the USL Super League.
“The USL Super League is now at the equivalent level of the NWSL, which is the women’s previous only Division I sanctioned soccer organization. And so this provides us [the] opportunity to launch teams in numerous markets and really help kind of develop the women’s game,” Martinovic said.
This move will especially benefit collegiate soccer players at nearby universities, giving them a chance to play professional soccer close to home.
“To have them go and play at a really high level of Division I women’s soccer and then continue to have that opportunity to keep those players here in Northwest Arkansas as opposed to them, one, having to go to different markets across the country, and/or go international to pursue their their dreams,” Martinovic said.
However, it’s not just collegiate athletes who will be the top recruits. Elite youth soccer players will also be eligible to be signed by the team.
“USL in general, the league, they have players that could be as young as 14 or 15 if they really were excelling. And so we want to have a youth structure that is able to kind of foster that development,” Martinovic said. “But, at the age of 17 or 18, if a player chooses to pursue a professional path versus going to college, this provides them that opportunity.”
The men’s team plans to start competing in the league in March 2026 with the women following suit shortly after.
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