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USL W League welcomes Ballard FC as expansion club in 2025

By Staff, 07/09/24, 11:55AM EDT


Ballard FC will become sixth Northwest Division club in W League

Seattle, WA – The United Soccer League today announced the addition of Ballard FC as an expansion side for the 2025 W League season. The team, which will have its own name and brand, marks a significant milestone for expanding women's soccer in Seattle. 

Seattle’s team will be the sixth in the league’s Northwest Division, fostering high-level competition and providing a pathway for players aspiring to reach the professional ranks. 

Ballard FC has a proven track record of increasing visibility for athletes, building an engaged fanbase and driving community impact. The new women’s team will build on this foundation, sharing the same ownership group as Ballard FC. This group has been strengthened by adding 25 new women investors. These include acclaimed National Women’s Soccer League players Lauren Barnes, Jess Fishlock, Olivia Van Der Jagt and Sam Hiatt, who are among some of the only professional players to invest in a USL W team. 

“Our goal is to create better opportunities for young women to develop their skills on and off the field,” said Lauren Barnes, captain of the Seattle Reign FC. “The path to professional soccer didn’t exist on the same scale while I was growing up, and I’m thrilled to be part of changing that for future players.” 

Jen Barnes, owner of Rough & Tumble Pub, and backers of the Seattle Storm have also signed on as investors. They join a collective of Seattle-based businesswomen, reflecting a strong commitment to women's sports and community involvement. 

“Expanding opportunities for women athletes was a natural next step in our investment in the women’s sports industry sector,” said Jen Barnes, founder and CEO of Rough & Tumble Pub, one of the first places in the world to prioritize playing women’s sports on its screens. “It is an honor to be making history together with this incredible ownership group.” 

Sam Zisette, President of Ballard FC, will continue to lead the organization, overseeing both the men’s and women’s teams. Joining him is Tiffany Mallick, who will serve as Vice President and focus on the women's team. Mallick brings first-hand experience as a former soccer player and athletic trainer for collegiate and pre-professional teams. 

"Introducing a USL W League team to Ballard is a monumental step in advancing our organization and soccer community," said Sam Zisette. “Ballard is a special place with an immense sense of pride, passionate spirit, and love for soccer. We can’t wait to see the community embrace this new team!” 

Mallick added, "We are committed to creating an environment where women athletes can thrive, and we’re thrilled to work with partners who share our dedication to improving equity through sports." 

Joel Nash, Senior VP of Youth and Pre-Professional Properties at USL W League, expressed his support, saying, "Ballard FC’s leadership group has been very intentional about building a women's team and we're delighted to see them expand. We know that they will continue to inspire and excel and provide a platform for women to pursue their professional dreams." 

Fans and community members are encouraged to follow the women’s team journey at Tickets will be released this fall, following a special brand launch event. Those who subscribe to the new team’s newsletter will be amongst the first to access tickets, merchandise, and more. 

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