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One Giant Leap for La Liga MX … Femenil

Could Ari Romero (member of 2014 Houston Dash) return to playing in North America?

Could Ari Romero (member of 2014 Houston Dash) return to playing in North America? Photo by Ray Escamilla/Keeper Notes.

 

Yesterday La Liga BBVA Bancomer MX made a surprising announcement concerning the formation of a women’s U-23 league — the news came in a press conference held by league president Enrique Bonilla after a general assembly meeting with all 18 La Liga MX club owners. Buried at the end of the reading of mundane meeting minutes concerning the calendar of the 2017-18 Liga MX/Copa MX tournaments, approval of an operating budget, and the project of “internationalizing” the league came the news that the top tier men’s pro league in Mexico was forming a new women’s league to begin play in 2017.

All 18 professional teams will field a women’s U-23 team of 21 players each (19 field players and 2 goalkeepers). Roster requirements state that each team will consist of four U-17 players, two players with no age restriction, and the remainder will be U-23 players. Foreign players will not be allowed to compete in the first phase of this new competitive league, although Mexican-American, US-based players in the current Mexico WNT pool will be considered for roster selection as long as they have applied for and met all FIFA nationality requirements.

A number of Mexican and Mexican-American players have participated in the NWSL (full list below). There is is no word yet from Liga MX if any of these players have committed to playing in the new league.

Another player who would be eligible to participate in Liga MX Femenil would be Katie Johnson, the USC redshirt senior who scored two goals (including the game-winner) in last weekend’s NCAA College Cup final. Johnson was a member of the Mexico squad that competed in CONCACAF Women’s Olympic qualifying last February.

The league plans a soft opening with a Cup-style tournament in April or May 2017. The Liga MX Femenil will then play its official  “Apertura 2017” from September to December 2017, followed by the Clausura from February to May 2018. Similar to the men’s league in Mexico, clubs play two round-robin seasons per year – the “Apertura” (opening) and the “Clausura” (closing). Usually a short playoff tournament (“Liguilla”) follows each season.

 

Player NWSL team US college
Jackie Acevedo Portland 2014 Tennessee/Southern Nazarene
Renae Cuellar KC 2013, SEA 2014, WAS 2015 Arizona/Oklahoma
Maribel Dominguez Chicago 2013
Dinora Garza Chicago 2013
Bianca Henninger KC 2013, Houston 2014-16 Santa Clara
Teresa Noyola SEA 2013, KC 2013, HOU 2014 Stanford
Monica Ocampo Sky Blue 2013-14
Veronica Perez WNY 2013, Washington 2014 Washington
Nayeli Rangel Sky Blue 2013
Ari Romero Houston 2014 Nebraska
Jenny Ruiz Williams Seattle 2013 UNLV
Cecelia Santiago Boston 2013
Bianca Sierra Washington 2014, Boston 2014 Auburn
Pamela Tajonar WNY 2013
Lupita Worbis Washington 2013
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