Boston sports teams are certainly not strangers to hanging up championship banners. Now, another sports team is coming to New England to try and bring even more titles to the region.
A brand new women's professional soccer team will call George R. White Stadium in Franklin Park home, after the National Women's Soccer League awarded Boston the rights to establish its 15th team.
The NWSL announced Tuesday that the Boston Unity Soccer Partners ownership group was awarded a franchise, joining new expansion teams in Utah and the Bay Area.
“I’m excited to expand the NWSL’s footprint and continue its transformative growth in our return to Boston, one of the world’s most iconic sports cities,” NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman said in a statement. “We are very proud to welcome Boston Unity Soccer Partners to our ownership group. They bring 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. We are thrilled for their entry to the league in the 2026 season and add a new chapter to the storied history of Boston sports.”
The news comes after a couple of attempts to establish a long-term franchise; the last iteration of the Boston Breakers folded in 2018, and the area has since been without professional women's soccer.
Boston Unity Soccer Partners is comprised of a group of women seeking to not only grow the sport in the region but also to give White Stadium in Franklin Park a facelift as they try to capitalize on the rise in popularity of women's soccer.
The ownership group is led by Juno Equity founder and Boston Celtics Minority Owner Jennifer Epstein, strategic marketer and brand builder Stephanie Connaughton, Women’s Foundation of Boston Co-Founder/CFO Ami Danoff and Flybridge Capital General Partner Anna Palmer. The managing board will include Epstein, who will serve as the controlling partner, and Connaughton, Danoff and Palmer, who will serve as managing partners.
“Boston is the greatest sports city in the world, and we are thrilled to bring the NWSL back to this passionate fan base,” Epstein said in a statement. “Our goal is to build a championship-caliber franchise that the city can be proud of, both on the pitch and in the community. We will be relentless and daring in our quest to add another chapter to the city’s unrivaled sports legacy. We thank Commissioner Berman and the NWSL board for believing in us and in Boston and are grateful for the unwavering support of Mayor Michelle Wu and her team, who have been instrumental in bringing professional women’s soccer back to Boston.”
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu hosted representatives from the NWSL and the team's new owners for an official announcement on Tuesday afternoon.
"I am so excited to see everyone out here today," Wu said, "to finally be at this moment."
"Thank you for believing in our city. Thank you for believing in what is possible for young people in our city," she said.
"Today begins the first chapter of a new Boston sports story," Epstein added, promising to build a championship-caliber team that is a perrennial contender.
"We will play here in Boston, we will play to win and we will play to make all of Boston proud," she said.
Also announced as investors of the team Tuesday were Celtics' President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens and his wife Tracy and former U.S. Women's National Team star Kristine Lilly, a team captain and founding member of the Boston Breakers.
"We've been lucky the last 10 years to have a front row seat to Boston fandom and the passion and energy and all that it brings to its teams," Brad Stevens said of his years with the Celtics. "But we're also a girls soccer mom and dad. It's really important for us to give your kids something to aspire to and look to. There's no better feeling than to be part of a group where our 14-year-old daughter can go and watch her idols on the pitch."
"I'm ready to play. I don't know about you guys," said Lilly. "I wish I was 30 years younger."
She said the support she received when she played for the Breakers in Boston as far back as 2001 was amazing. She said she has won a World Cup, but she's never won professionally, "So now guess what? This is my time to be on the sidelines, and we're going to bring it home... Let's go Boston!"
The new club is backed by an investor group that comes from all sectors of the Boston economy, with 95% of the invested capital invested by women and 40% invested by investors of color. The group includes several investors who are also part of the Celtics and the Red Sox organizations. Boston Unity Soccer Partners is also the first investment for Monarch Collective, the first fund focused exclusively on investment in women's sports, founded by Kara Nortman and Jasmine Robinson.
The team, which is not yet named, is set to start playing in the 2026 season. The ownership group said it plans to unveil the club’s brand as it moves closer to play.