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W-League will return for 21st season with just 18 teams

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A slimmed down W-League will kick off the 2015 season in May with 18 teams, down from 25 in 2014 and a high of 41 in 2008. The champion Los Angeles Blues folded, as did the semifinalist Ottawa Fury Women, one of four Ontario clubs not returning. In both cases, the club owners moved to concentrate on their men’s pro teams.

The W-League will be divided into three geographic conferences of six teams each in 2015 – Northeastern, Southeastern and Western.

The top returning teams are the Washington Spirit Reserves , the 2014 runner-ups, and Charlotte Lady Eagles, who won the Southeastern Conference.

Former champions include the Long Island Rough Riders  (1995 and 1997), New Jersey Wildcats  (2005) and Atlanta Silverbacks  (2011). Charlotte won the W-2 title in 2001.

Besides the Blues and Fury, gone are the Toronto Lady Lynx, London Gryphons and K-W United FC from Ottawa, Gulf Coast Texans, who tied with Charlotte for the Southeastern Conference regular-season title, and Bay Area Breeze.

2015 W-League:
Northeastern Conference
Laval Comets
Long Island Rough Riders
New Jersey Wildcats
New York Magic
North Jersey Valkyries
Quebec Dynamo ARSQ

Southeastern Conference
Atlanta Silverbacks
Braddock Road Stars Elite
Carolina Elite Cobras
Charlotte Lady Eagles
Dayton Dutch Lions
Washington Spirit Reserves

Western Conference
Arizona Strikers FC
Colorado Pride
Colorado Rush
Colorado Storm
Santa Clarita Blue Heat
Seattle Sounders Women

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