In order to be considered for Division 1 sanctioning beyond 2012, WPS must increase the number of teams in the league over the next two seasons to a minimum of six for 2013 and a minimum of eight for 2014. Other conditions have to do with financial requirements, both at the team and league levels, designed to ensure continued operation of the teams through the 2012 season and to ensure the participation of a sixth team for the 2013 season.
The league, as well as all five current teams, must agree to the conditions. So far, we know that WPS has agreed to these terms. From U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati:
“At all levels of professional soccer in the United States, our goal is to ensure the long-term sustainability of each league. WPS is optimistic about their ability to continue to grow in the next two years, and we believe these conditions will help the league accomplish those goals.”
This is sort of a no-brainer, given all we’ve heard over the last few weeks. Still, it it’s good to have concrete details as to expansion requirements for the league and that, for now, it doesn’t include any limits on U.S. National Team player participation in WPS in 2012.
Update: Beau Dure at ESPNW has reported that all five teams have agreed to the conditions. Dure also notes that U.S. Soccer plans to continue to support WPS as a league sponsor for 2012.