The Eagles play in the WPSL, the largest and longest-running women's soccer league in the U.S. | Claire Kilbarger

About Our League

The Eagles play in the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL), the largest and longest-running women’s soccer league in the U.S. The WPSL enters its 25th season in 2021, and Columbus has played in the league since the club’s inception in 2014. The WPSL is designated as the second tier of the women’s soccer pyramid in the U.S., just below the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).

The WPSL was founded in 1998 and has been a feeder system for higher-level American soccer. U.S. national team players Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, Julie Foudy, and Brandi Chastain have all come through WPSL clubs en route to the senior national team. Current USWNT midfielder Rose Lavelle played against the Eagles (as a member of the Dayton Dutch Lions) in 2016.

League Structure

The WPSL stretches coast-to-coast and includes more than 131 teams in more than 35 states and Canada. The league is broken up into four regions (East, West, Central, and South), and each region is split up into conferences and some conferences have divisions within their conference. A national champion is crowned each year; Seattle Sounders Women were the WPSL champions in 2018, Pensacola in 2019.

The path to the league title is as follows: Conference winners advance to a four-team regional tournament (in July each year) to play a semifinal and a final. Each regional champion advances to the four-team national tournament. The national semifinals and finals are played, and the league crowns its champion each summer.

Columbus hosted the national tournament in 2016. That year, Boston Breakers Reserves beat the San Diego SeaLions to win it all.

The Eagles' Conference

In 2020, the Eagles play in a 6-team Ohio Valley Conference of the WPSL, alongside five other teams. Cincinnati Sirens FC, Cleveland Ambassadors, Dayton Dutch Lions, Motor City FC (Detroit), and Pittsburgh Hotspurs.

In 2018, Cleveland Ambassadors finished unbeaten and won a nine-team Valley division. Cleveland advanced and ultimately won the entire East region. Columbus was the only team to take points from Cleveland that season (a 3-3 draw)

In 2019, Motor City made it to the final four and were eliminated on penalty kicks.  Again, the Eagles were the only team to take points against Motor City FC in our conference.

The Cup

The Jerry Zanelli Cup

The WPSL champion receives the Jerry Zanelli Cup. Zanelli founded the league in 1998 and was commissioner until this past year. Under his commissionership, the league became the largest women’s soccer league in the world with more than 100 clubs.

As coach of the California Storm (Sacramento), Zanelli made six WPSL finals, winning three (1999, 2002, 2004). The league revealed the trophy Jan. 26, 2018 at the Annual General Meeting in Las Vegas. John Motta, United States Adult Soccer Association President, presented Zanelli the trophy at a reception to honor the former commissioner. Zanelli passed away in late 2018.