Tymrak, Listro headline NWSL rival league signings

The USL Super League, a Division 1-sanctioned women’s soccer league that will launch in August, announced its first contracted players on Tuesday.

Tampa Bay Sun FC confirmed the first player signings in league history on Tuesday, all of whom have experience in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), which is the incumbent top flight that the USL Super League hopes to challenge.

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Two-time NWSL champion Erika Tymrak, midfielder Jordyn Listro, and midfielder Dominique Richardson will all join Tampa Bay for the league’s launch this summer.

The signings provide tangible progress for a league that launches in four months.

The USL Super League plans to kick off with eight teams in August and run a fall-to-spring schedule, which aligns with many global leagues and runs opposite that of the NWSL.

The USL Super League’s calendar, and its potential appeal to players globally, has been a major talking point from league president Amanda Vandervort.

U.S. Soccer approved the USL Super League for first-division sanctioning in February.

The federation’s sanctioning process requires leagues to meet specific standards in categories like stadiums and owners’ net worths, but it does not place any restrictions on the number of leagues that can exist in each tier.

The USL Super League initially planned to launch as a second division league — which has never existed in U.S. women’s soccer — but changed course last year.

Whether the product on the field would feel like a top division — especially as NWSL teams set global transfer records and dished out record salaries to stars in recent months — was a major question.

Tuesday’s signings are the first answers to those on-field questions, at least for the Tampa Bay Sun, which has positioned itself as one of the USL Super League’s early standard-setters by building a 5,000-seat stadium for the team.

Tymrak, 32, won the inaugural NWSL Rookie of the Year award in 2013 and was integral to FC Kansas City’s NWSL championship victories in 2014 and 2015. She played for the Orlando Pride and starred for the Florida Gators in college.

The midfielder earned three caps for the United States women’s national team a decade ago.

Listro, 28, also has Florida ties, having played collegiately at South Florida and most recently with the Pride. Listro appeared for the Canadian national team twice in 2021.

Richardson previously played for three different NWSL teams over the past decade, but her playing time was limited due to injuries and setbacks. She previously featured with U.S. youth national teams.

“These three women are humble, hard-working and talented players,” Tampa Bay head coach Denise Shilte-Brown said in a statement.

“They are culture builders and the foundation of our future. We are building something extraordinary here with Tampa Bay Sun Football Club and it’s a product our community can be proud of.”

Joining Tampa Bay as founding clubs of the USL Super League are Brooklyn FC, Charlotte-based Carolina Ascent FC, Fort Lauderdale United FC, Lexington SC, Spokane Zephyr FC, and yet-to-be-branded teams in Dallas/Fort Worth and Washington, D.C.

Several other teams have committed to playing in future seasons pending the completion of stadium projects.