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By CALSTORM STAFF, 04/18/23, 6:15AM PDT


Fresh off the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) title in 2022, California Storm will be back in 2023 to defend their title, but they will also compete in the newly expanded United Soccer League (USL) W League as announced last December.

Fresh off the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) title in 2022, California Storm will be back in 2023 to defend their title, but they will also compete in the newly expanded United Soccer League (USL) W League as announced last December. This development is an exciting opportunity for California Storm, its players, the community and the growth of the game. 


Founded in 1998, the WPSL is the largest women’s soccer league in the world and the oldest in the United States. Officially licensed as a semi-professional league, teams are made up of a mix of college athletes, high school seniors, and post-collegiate players who are no longer pursuing a career in soccer but still enjoy playing. In 2021, the league expanded to a U21 league, and in 2023, announced WPSL Pro, a third-division professional league set to play in 2024.


USL W League launched in 2022, seven years after its previous iteration, also called the USL W League, disbanded in 2015. The USL W League is officially licensed as a pre-professional league and makes up the pyramid that USL is in the process of developing, with the USL Academy at the bottom and the USL Super League (intended for a 2024 start date) at the top. The USL W League is primarily made up of teams with collegiate players and academy players, with a mix of post-collegiate players as well. 


Needless to say, 2023 is going to be an exciting year for California Storm. 


“I am incredibly energized by the upcoming season and what it will mean for our players, organization, and community”, said Jamie Levoy, Executive Director of the California Storm. “We have a tremendous opportunity to defend our WPSL title, but we are also now part of the USL W League, which provides an entirely new opportunity for the growth of the women’s game in the Sacramento Region and beyond. The 2023 season can’t start soon enough.”


California Storm will once again compete in the WPSL Pacific North Conference with BattleBorn FC, Diablo Valley Wolves, FC Davis, Fresno Freeze, Lamorinda United, Napa Valley 1839 FC, San Francisco Elite Soccer Club, San Francisco Nighthawks and San Ramon FC. In USL W League, California Storm will be part of a newly created eight-team Northern California Division that includes The Olympic Club, Stockton Cargo SC, Pleasanton Rage, San Francisco Glens SC, Academica SC, Marin FC Sirens, and Oakland Soul SC. 


From a player perspective, California Storm’s involvement in the WPSL and USL W League will create more opportunities to play and compete at a high level. It means greater access for young girls to watch women play soccer in their backyard – and be inspired. It’s something that midfielder, and 2022 WPSL Offensive Player of the Year, Janae Gonzalez can relate to.


“The WPSL and USL League W provide local opportunities for women to play soccer at a high level,” said Gonzalez. “Whether it be for the players who are preparing for college or players who have retired from playing professionally, there is a place to compete without sacrificing being able to choose where to live. It can be challenging for my 26-year-old self to not feel out of place in the WPSL when I am playing against 15-year-olds, so I hope the community of post-college players grows and the leagues grow. [However], the most important thing the two leagues provide are local games for young girls to be able to watch live and begin to picture themselves as high-level players one day. It’s something that I didn’t have as a kid unless I drove hours away. Relationships with the community and future generations are everything.”


California Storm fans will have a lot to cheer for this upcoming season. Not only did they add Brazilian legend Sissi as Technical Coach, but familiar faces such as captain Liz Hutchison, Haylee Bettencourt, Brenda Uribe, Mikayla Reed, and Gonzalez will be back. Additionally, the team recently added some new pieces, including 2023 Stanford Cardinal commit Erica Grilione, 2024 UCLA commits Paloma Daubert, TCU junior Camryn Lancaster, and Dutch Youth National Team goalkeeper Bente Pernot, to name a few. You can read more about all the new signees here.


The California Storm kickoff their 2023 season on Sunday, May 21 when they host USL W League side Pleasanton Rage at 7 pm at Davis Legacy Soccer Club. The club's first WPSL match is on Saturday, May 27 at 6 pm when they travel to face the Fresno Freeze. More information on all upcoming California Storm matches, the team and players can be found all season long at