The women behind Boston’s new soccer team are fixed on making a team that feels “authentic” to the city.
Boston will get professional women's soccer again thanks to the National Women's Soccer League awarding an extension team, set to begin play in 2026. It comes as part of expansion efforts from the league, with Bay FC in the San Francisco Bay Area and Utah Royals set to begin play for the 2024 season.
Now, over $100 million is being put forth by the women-led ownership group, Boston Unity Soccer Partners, to create another team under a new name.
Jennifer Epstein’s family became co-owners and managing partners of the Boston Celtics in 2002. Embedding in the Boston sports scene has made her excited for the new team, she said.
"I'm a diehard Boston sports fan. I love the idea of bringing a women's team and starting a new legacy here in Boston — but I also believe in equity in sports," Epstein, the ownership group’s controlling partner, said on Boston Public Radio Wednesday.
Two other investors in the new team, Anna Palmer and Ami Kuan Danoff, also joined Boston Public Radio — and also come from an investing background. Palmer is a general partner at Flybridge Capital, and Danoff is a co-founder and the CFO of the Women's Foundation of Boston.
A portion of the investments will go towards revamping White Stadium, which was originally constructed in the 1940s. Boston's former professional women's soccer team, the Boston Breakers, was dissolved in 2018. But while the Breakers played at different venues around Greater Boston, the new team is looking to host their home games in the Franklin Park stadium.
"The former team ... they moved around," Epstein said. "We're building a home for our team. Bostonians will know where to find us."
For fans of the sport in Boston, Danoff said White Stadium will be an "incredible first-class fan experience." The remodeled stadium will seat around 11,000 people.
"It's a place that the neighborhood can gather. It's somewhere our students at the Boston Public Schools can experience," she said.
Both the manager and the name of the team remain undecided. While the investors are female-led, it's unclear if the team will be as well.
"We're always big believers in creating opportunities for women. And at the same time, we're also creating a winning team," Danoff said.
She clarified that they will ensure that "plenty of women candidates" will be considered for the manager position. As for the name, Danoff said they want one that "reflects and projects what's truly Boston."
That's a major focus for building out the team, from top to bottom.
"We want to make sure that this team feels like Boston," Palmer said. "That people are the table, fan experience, everyone that's involved — it's truly the heart of Boston, that [it] feels like this team is something that's homegrown."
While the first game won't be played until 2026, Epstein says there's "a lot to do."
"Sports can be a real connector of communities. We live in a very global, diverse city, and soccer is the world's sport, right?" she said. "We want to build this team within the fabric of our community and have it reflect the diversity within our region. To do that, we're going to bring this city and its communities alongside us, from now until 2026 and beyond."