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Tampa Bay women’s soccer team scouts for stadium site

Veronica Brezina



USL Super League Tampa Bay co-owners left to right: Jeff Fox, Club President Christina Unkel, Darryl Shaw, Head Coach Denise Schilte-Brown and David Laxer. All images provided.

Tampa’s first Super League professional women’s soccer team is evaluating a handful of sites for a future local stadium. 

The Super League Tampa Bay, a women’s soccer club that’s joining the United Soccer League (USL) Super League, intends to flip a vacant lot in Ybor into a practice/training site as it prepares to hit the field next season. 

“We cannot build a permanent soccer facility in the next 10 months so we are going to have to find a place already built, somewhere where we can expand,” co-owner Jeff Fox said during a Sept. 13 evening kick off celebration at 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Pete. 

“We’ve got it down to a few. I hope in the next four to six weeks to announce where we are going to play,” Fox said. 

In September, one of the investors filed a request with the city to remove an oak tree at 1901 N. Nebraska Ave. to create a “recreational facility.”

The Ybor site where the training facility will be located. 

Ybor developer Darryl Shaw owns the property. Shaw, Bern’s Steakhouse owner David Laxer and Fox are all co-partners in the USL team. The trio played soccer in their youth and banded together to create the highest-level professional women’s soccer team in Tampa Bay. 

Club President Christina Unkel said the first season will start in August 2024. It will follow the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) schedule. 

Unkel said this schedule will allow players to represent both the club and country teams. 

The inaugural 2024 season will feature 10 to 12 teams, with additional teams set to join in subsequent seasons.  

The other markets that will compete next year include: 

Additional markets expected to participate include Jacksonville, Florida; Indianapolis, Indiana; Madison, Wisconsin; and Oakland, California. 

Professional local sports mascots supporting Super League Tampa Bay. 

The club is accepting season ticket deposits, which will convert into a season ticket and save an attendee’s seat at a game. 

A USL Tampa Bay member representative said the team is recruiting domestic and international players. The recruiting process will commence over the next few months through traditional scouting methods rather than a draft. 

USL officials recently announced Denise Schilte-Brown, who coached the University of South Florida’s women’s soccer team for the last 15 years, will lead the Super League club. Schilte-Brown has led USF to six American Athletic Conference championships and will continue coaching the team through October.

Additionally, the executives behind the club said they are searching for corporate sponsors. 

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