W-League News Release
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. – The W-League is pleased to announce that the 2013 W-League Championship presented by Nike will be held July 26-28 at the world-class facilities of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. With the introduction of the W-20 league for 2013, the premier North American under-20 women’s league will hold its championship alongside the W-League Championship July 25-28 at IMG Academy.
Hosting the W-League Championship at IMG academy is another step in the process of restructuring the W-League and W-20 to distinguish adult women’s soccer throughout North America. The W-League and W-20 continue to be best positioned to prepare players and clubs for the next levels of adult amateur and professional women’s soccer, and each step advances their alignment with U.S. Soccer’s newly formed women’s professional league, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
The W-League also announced a change in its alignment that will allow four conference champions to travel to the 2013 championship in Bradenton. While the Central Conference and Western Conference will remain intact, the two divisions within the Eastern Conference will become their own respective conferences – the Northeastern Conference and the Southeastern Conference.
“Bringing the W-League Championship to IMG Academy is a significant step forward in raising the profile and overall experience of the W-League’s signature event,” W-League Senior Director Amanda Duffy said. “In addition, having the W-20 Championship run side by side with the W-League Championship allows us to expose our younger players to the next level of women’s soccer in North America while creating a better scouting environment for W-League and professional coaches.
“We are also excited to make the W-League alignment change to provide better competitive balance for final four qualification,” Duffy said. “Creating two conferences from the Eastern Conference allows us to offer a true championship final four featuring the top team from each geographic region.”
The 19th W-League season will see nine teams qualify for the postseason with one champion advancing from each conference to the 2013 W-League Championship presented by Nike. The four conference champions will meet July 26-28 in a ‘final four’ format championship. The semifinals will be played on Friday, July 26 with the winners meeting for the 2013 W-League Championship on Sunday, July 28. The 145-game W-League season slated to kick off on Saturday, May 11.
Eight teams will earn a trip to the inaugural W-20 Championship in July, with playoff allocations based on the number of teams in each division. The North Atlantic Division, which features eight teams in 2013, will receive three spots at the W-20 Championship. The Midwest Division (six teams) and New England Division (five teams) will each have two championship qualifiers, while the four-team South Atlantic Division will have one.
As the premier U-20 adult-amateur women’s league in North America, W-20 provides the necessary platform for top 17- to 20-year-olds in the United States and Canada to compete at an elite level, while also serving as a reserve system for professional and senior adult-amateur women’s teams. W-20 utilizes the W-League’s operational infrastructure that emphasizes quality ownership, league standards and player development to maintain itself as the leader in under-20 women’s soccer in North America.
The world’s largest and most advanced multi-sport training and education complex, IMG Academy regularly hosts top soccer teams from throughout North America and the world. For more than 30 years, IMG Academy has helped countless youth, adult, collegiate and professional athletes reach their full potential in and out of sport, by providing world-class coaching, tailored programs and professional facilities within an energetic environment across a 450-acre campus.