Independent women have worn the cloak of a lone warrior for far too long. We’ve beaten the odds of inequality to pursue our dreams. We’ve gone against the grain, proving stereotypes wrong while shattering glass boxes.
To all the independent women who get it done, solve the problems, and keep it real… the independent women who stand in their truth, on their own two feet, and stand up against injustice…
You’ve walked through fire.
We see you. We believe in you. We trust in you.
We are you… and this is our league.
To offer a women-driven professional Division II league that helps connect the soccer pathway for women players to the highest professional opportunities in a culture of empowerment, inclusivity and community engagement.
As a Division II professional women’s soccer league of global-standard independent soccer clubs, WISL celebrates a sense of place for every team, player and fan. We embrace our communities as engaged neighbors. We provide inclusive, safe opportunities for hundreds of young women every season to play professional soccer in towns and cities across America with each club celebrating with their fans what makes their home unique and special. For every player, coach and staff member, WISL clubs will be a professional home that supports their well-being as a whole person.
Meritocracy is our standard,
diversity is our touchstone, and
opportunity is for everyone.
May we all experience worldwide equality and lead the next generation to greatness without a glass ceiling over our heads. Let’s make it so.
Safe & Strong
WISL provides a safe environment for every player, coach and staff including a confidential reporting hotline focused on clear and consistent follow-up, communication and action. WISL has zero tolerance for improprieties of any kind – whether from a position of power or from a position of difference.
Resource: Project WHEN
For anyone who needs more information or resources regarding improprieties in any workplace, Project WHEN is a non-profit organization that focuses on research, resources and implementable solutions for all.
To ensure and promote diversity, equity and inclusion from the pitch to the executive offices, WISL and every club will interview a minumum of two external women and/or minority qualified candidates for any open position.
Resource: Play It Forward Sport
Play It Forward Sport aims to advance gender equity in sports at all levels by creating more opportunities for women as professional athletes, as managers, and as leaders in the sports profession.
For every new parent, WISL offers paid parental leave for all club and league personnel. Coaches will make good faith return-to-roster opportunities for players who use this benefit.
Resource: & Mother
For more information regarding how to create a supportive and enabling path for all parent athletes and parents in all industries, & Mother is a resource that strives to build a community, break barriers, and define and build standardization of best practices.
An Equity Council will be charged to review, recommend and report on WISL’s and its clubs’ commitment to ongoing diversity, equity and inclusion. The EC will be transparent and unsparing in spotlighting shortcomings, operationalizing solutions and honoring successes. It will be composed equally of players, coaches, management and owners representing all WISL clubs.
For resources and educational opportunities regarding eliminating discrimination and improving social justice in sports, RISE helps give your organization tools to educate, empower and take action.
WISL offers continuing education for its players in developing their career and post-career opportunities, as well as its coaches in elevating their skills in the coaching of women athletics.
Resource: Fearless & Capable
Resource: United Soccer Coaches
Careers in sports can be challenging to navigate without guidance and support through education. Fearless & Capable provide mentorship and resources to women in sports career fields, encouraging personal and professional goals and development.
Mental health care and recovery are treated with the same seriousness and support as physical health care and recovery. The mental wellness of players, coaches and staff is the responsibility of the entire WISL family.
Being an Elite Athlete can have its own unique mental challenges. AthMindset is a resource for all athletes dealing with the mental challenges that come with it through various resources, workshops and guidance.
If you are in need of further information or accessible professional therapy guidance, BetterHelp is a resource available to all with any mental health concerns.
WISL and its clubs use the lens of environmental impact in daily decisions and practices to be valuable sustainability partners with their communities.
Resource: Green Sports Alliance
Green Sports Alliance provides resources, experience, and expertise to raise awareness and create sustainable change and educate on what is environmentally possible within sports.
SUIT UP AND RISE ABOVE.
AS INDEPENDENT WOMEN, WE VOW TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY.
September, 9 2023
WISL SANCTIONING Q&A
The Women's Independent Soccer League has formally submitted its sanctioning application to the United States Soccer Federation to play as a professional Division 2 league with six community clubs for the 2024 season and five additional clubs already committed for the full 2025 season.
Managing director Lynn Berling-Manuel explains the vision behind this new league and it's place in the American soccer hierarchy.
September, 7 2023
WOMEN’S INDEPENDENT SOCCER LEAGUE APPLIES FOR SANCTIONING WITH U.S. SOCCER FEDERATION
The Women’s Independent Soccer League (WISL) today announced it submitted its application to the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) for sanctioning as a Division II women’s professional league. The application is for the inaugural 2024 season which will launch with six community clubs with five additional already committed for the full 2025 season.
June, 22 2023
WISL WELCOMES EIGHT STRONG VOICES AS FOUNDATION OF CULTURAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE
The Women’s Independent Soccer League (WISL) – a new women’s professional soccer league gearing up for Division II sanctioning by the U.S. Soccer Federation – today announced the first eight members of its Cultural Advisory Committee. The group will meet a couple times a year and will be in constant connection with WISL leadership as it drives toward play in 2024.
Mar, 30 2023
WOMEN’S INDEPENDENT SOCCER LEAGUE SEES DILIGENCE WORTH THE DELAY IN SANCTIONING APPLICATION
The Women’s Independent Soccer League (WISL) today announced a delay in its application to the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) for sanctioning as a Division II women’s professional league. The league still will apply for sanctioning to start play in 2024, but it believes diligence is critical to confirming a strong and stable set of inaugural clubs.
Jan, 27 2023
LOWER-DIVISION WOMEN’S SOCCER EYES INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT, RAISED STANDARDS
WPSL. UWS. USL W. WISL. It’s easy to get lost in the scattered acronyms of the lower leagues of women’s soccer in the United States, leagues that have existed in various states off and on for decades now. Some of them resemble loose confederations of regional rivals, like WPSL. Some of them, like WISL, don’t even exist yet. What they all have in common is a desire to strengthen the footholds women’s soccer has in the U.S., and all on comparatively meager budgets.
Dec, 1 2022
WISL LAUNCHES “CULTURE IN ACTION” WEB SERIES
Interview-Driven Content Focuses on Culture Pillars League Strives to Make Foundational in Women’s Sport
Women’s Independent Soccer League (WISL) – a new women’s professional soccer league targeting play in 2024 – today announces the launch of a monthly, web-based interview series called “Culture In Action.” The first episode of debuts Wednesday, Dec 7, at https://wisleague.com/culture-in-action/ and features WISL Managing Director Lynn Berling-Manuel discussing the league’s foundational culture pillars introduced last month.
Nov, 9 2022
WISL RELEASES FOUNDATIONAL CULTURE STATEMENT
Women’s Independent Soccer League (WISL), the recently announced Division II women’s professional league today released the vision, mission and pillars that will serve as the cultural foundation of the new league. The league is applying for U.S. Soccer sanctioning in spring 2023 and launching play in spring of 2024.
Oct, 3 2022
WISL STATEMENT ON U.S. SOCCER FEDERATION INVESTIGATION INTO ABUSE AND MISCONDUCT WITHIN THE NWSL
The Women’s Independent Soccer League released the following statement in response to the findings from the independent investigation commissioned by the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) into alleged abuse and misconduct in women’s professional soccer. Former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Q. Yates of King & Spalding has led the investigation.
Sept, 22 2022
WISL NAMES BERLING-MANUEL MANAGING DIRECTOR
AMERICAN SOCCER VET TO FUEL NEW WOMEN’S DIV. II PRO LEAGUE
The Women’s Independent Soccer League (WISL), the women’s professional league that soft-launched in 2021, today announced the appointment of soccer industry veteran Lynn Berling-Manuel as managing director. She will lead the league’s sanctioning application to play its inaugural professional season.
April, 16 2021
WISL INTRODUCES FIRST-EVER MEMBER CLUB – L.A. FORCE
The Los Angeles Force is the first club to officially join the newly-named Women’s Independent Soccer League (WISL). The club, led by President Bob Friedland, has a men’s side that currently plays in the National Independent Soccer Association. WISL expects to announce more club applications in the coming weeks ahead of WISL’s application to the United States Soccer Federation for Division II sanctioning. It targets play to begin in 2022.
April, 14 2021
WISL aims to fill the Division 2 women’s pro league void in the US
The huge gap under the top flight of the U.S. women’s professional soccer pyramid might soon be filled. The Women’s Independent Soccer League (WISL) announced itself to the world last week as a new organization aiming to be a sanctioned Division 2 pro league, with a stated goal of kicking off in 2022.
April, 8 2021
INTRODUCING WOMEN’S INDEPENDENT SOCCER LEAGUE WISL
DIVISION II PRO: New Second Tier Pro League to Fill Gap in Women’s Game. This is the day that marks the birth of a new women’s professional soccer league – the Women’s Independent Soccer League, or WISL.
April, 8 2021
Becoming WISL: The Meaning Behind Our Name and Mark
How do you name a new league? We started by defining the essence of the league and let the name emerge in the process. Learn more about the backstory of our name and the mark that represents our new league.
April, 8 2021
INTRODUCING WISL – THE WOMEN’S INDEPENDENT SOCCER LEAGUE
Today marks the birth of a new women’s professional soccer league – the Women’s Independent Soccer League, or WISL. It is a league created by women for women. The league’s ownership group unveiled its name, branding, and symbolism across its varied social channels.
April, 2 2021
A TIME TO RISE: THE REASONS WE NEED A SECOND LEVEL WOMEN’S PRO SOCCER LEAGUE
A country as large as the USA — how can there be only ten professional women’s soccer teams? Especially when that country is the only 4X FIFA World Cup Champion. These are are the often unasked questions that clearly show the need for more professional soccer in America.