The NWSL announced Tuesday that Boston was awarded expansion rights for the league’s 15th team to Boston Unity Soccer Partners, an all-female core ownership group.

The new club is set to kick off in the 2026 season and marks Boston’s return to the NWSL, after the Boston Breakers folded in 2018. The team’s debut coincides with the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which the United States will cohost and for which Gillette Stadium was announced as one of the venues.

The announcement followed the addition of two other NWSL expansion teams, Utah Royals FC and Bay Area FC, which are both slated to begin play in 2024.

“I’m excited to expand the NWSL’s footprint and continue its transformative growth in our return to Boston, one of the world’s most iconic sports cities,” said NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman in a press release. “We are very proud to welcome Boston Unity Soccer Partners to our ownership group. They bring an impressive roster of business leaders committed to continuing Boston’s legacy of sports excellence and delivering a successful team to a very passionate fanbase. We are thrilled for their entry to the league in the 2026 season and add a new chapter to the storied history of Boston sports.”

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BUSC is led by Juno Equity founder and Boston Celtics minority owner Jennifer Epstein. Strategic marketer and brand builder Stephanie Connaughton, Women’s Foundation of Boston co-founder and CFO Ami Danoff and Flybridge Capital general partner Anna Palmer all will serve as managing partners.

“Boston is the greatest sports city in the world, and we are thrilled to bring the NWSL back to this passionate fan base,” Epstein said in a press release. “Our goal is to build a championship-caliber franchise that the city can be proud of, both on the pitch and in the community. We will be relentless and daring in our quest to add another chapter to the city’s unrivaled sports legacy. We thank Commissioner Berman and the NWSL board for believing in us and in Boston and are grateful for the unwavering support of Mayor Michelle Wu and her team, who have been instrumental in bringing professional women’s soccer back to Boston.”

The NWSL Boston team joins the PWHL’s Boston team as new Beantown franchises that were announced this year.

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