Women’s soccer returns to Boston with new franchise, rehab of White Stadium

White Stadium is set to become home to a professional women’s soccer team, as the ownership group partners with the city to renovate a space that will also be the new homebase of school athletics programs. Rendering courtesy Boston Unity Soccer Partners

Professional women’s soccer is set to return to Boston, as an all-female ownership group has won expansion rights. The group, Boston Unity Soccer Partners (BUSC), is working with city officials to renovate the George R. White Stadium in Franklin Park, which will host home matches along with Boston Public Schools athletics competitions.

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced the expansion this week, with plans for the new club, as yet unnamed, to launch in 2026. The previous team, known as the Breakers, shut down in 2018.

The ownership group brings 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,” Jessica Berman, NWSL commissioner, said in a statement.

The ownership group’s members include Jennifer Epstein, Boston Celtics minority owner and founder of Juno Equity; Ami Danoff, co-founder and chief financial officer of Women’s Foundation of Boston; Anna Palmer, Flybridge Capital general partner; and Linda Henry, Boston Globe Media CEO, among others.

“Our goal is to build a championship-caliber franchise that the city can be proud of, both on the pitch and in the community,” Epstein said in her own statement. “We will be relentless and daring in our quest to add another chapter to the city’s unrivaled sports legacy.”

Mayor Wu welcomed the news, saying the franchise will partner “closely with our community and especially our schools.”

Boston Unity Soccer Partners will bring a seventh sports team to the area, joining the Celtics, Red Sox, Bruins, Patriots, Revolution, and a Professional Women’s Hockey League franchise that remains in the works.

White Stadium, first built 78 years ago, seats 10,000 and sits in disrepair, partly due to a fire decades ago that damaged the interior of the east grandstand. The west grandstand doesn’t meet modern building codes for accessibility.

Named for a civic philanthropist from the early 20th century, the facility hosts school graduations. It has also served as a vaccination site during the pandemic and held Black Panther rallies and concerts.

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