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Soccer

As latest NWSL expansion teams are announced, Boston’s investors have hope for 2025

Portland Thorns FC players celebrated after winning the 2022 NWSL championship.Nick Wass/Associated Press

Boston will not be one of the two teams to begin play in the National Women’s Soccer League next year, but the all-female group behind the bid is hopeful a Boston team can join the league in due time.

The San Francisco Bay Area was awarded the league’s 14th team, the NWSL announced on Tuesday, and will join Utah as expansion franchises in 2024.

A source with knowledge of discussions between the Boston investors and the NWSL said Boston joining the league next year never was an option, and that 2025 would have been the earliest should the group win its bid.

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In a statement on behalf of the group behind the Boston bid, Jennifer Epstein, the controlling investor, said the group is still “excited” about its chances.

“Our team has been engaged in ongoing dialogue with the NWSL throughout the expansion process,” Epstein said. “While there is nothing we can report at this time, we remain excited to bring elite professional women’s soccer back to Greater Boston and will continue to collaborate with Mayor [Michelle] Wu’s administration to ensure the world’s most passionate fans can experience the world’s greatest players at their home pitch in the City of Champions.”

Franklin Park’s White Stadium is among the possible home sites for a Boston women’s pro soccer team.Swope, Laurie Globe Photo

Epstein is the founder of Juno Equity and the daughter of Celtics co-owner Robert Epstein. Managing partners of the Boston group include Anna Palmer, a general partner at Flybridge Capital; Stephanie Connaughton, an angel investor, adviser, and mentor with early stage start-ups; and Ami Kuan Danoff, cofounder and CFO of the Women’s Foundation of Boston.

Linda Pizzuti Henry, chief executive officer of the Globe, is also an investor.

According to a Front Office Sports source, the San Francisco Bay Area’s winning bid came in at $53 million.

The Boston Breakers played in the NWSL until 2018.

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Franklin Park’s White Stadium is considered among the leading possible home sites for a Boston women’s pro soccer team.

Wu said in December that the city would do what it could to help the investment group achieve its goals.

“Starting up a professional women’s soccer team is a challenging endeavor, but one that we are excited about,” Wu said at the time. “And this is a city where we are proud of our championship sports teams who are also partners in the community, and work hand in hand to create opportunities for young people and to strengthen the resources that we have available for many community-building activities.”


Michael Silverman can be reached at michael.silverman@globe.com.