As Ryan Gates reported yesterday, numerous reports have come out in recent days concerning Portland's involvement in a new US women's professional soccer league. And late last night, Merritt Paulson confirmed the speculation with a simple "Yes," via DM on Twitter.
The Portland Timbers released a statement from Paulson this morning, officially confirming the reports.
"The Timbers are, and always will be, steadfastly committed to growing the sport of soccer in our region at all levels," Paulson's statement reads, "and championing a new women’s league and operating a team here in Soccer City, USA, will be an important part of that growth."
Paulson seems to suggest that the new team will be "operated" by the Portland Timbers organization, but exactly what kind of relationship that entails is unclear.
And it remains unclear whether the Rain will continue to exist or be morphed into this new team structure, although there is certainly no reason the two women's teams could not exist simultaneously.
Either way, I'm super excited about all of this.
UPDATE 1: Thanks to Chill503 for pointing this out: portlandtimbers.com has a new page devoted to the women's team. Actually, I don't know how new it is, but it at least has new importance.
UPDATE 2: The new team is also on Twitter @PTWomensFC.
Read the full press release below.
PORTLAND, Ore. – U.S. Soccer today announced the formation of a new, eight-team professional women’s soccer league and that Portland will be one of the founding clubs and investors in the new league, which is set to begin play in 2013.
Below is a statement from Portland Timbers Owner/President Merritt Paulson regarding professional women’s soccer coming to Portland:
"We are pleased to partner with U.S. Soccer to bring a new women’s professional team to Portland and to do our part to make a top-flight women’s league possible in our country. The Timbers are, and always will be, steadfastly committed to growing the sport of soccer in our region at all levels, and championing a new women’s league and operating a team here in Soccer City, USA, will be an important part of that growth.
"Building on today’s news, soccer fans can look forward to many exciting announcements in the coming weeks and months leading up to the club’s inaugural season, including team name, logo and uniforms; schedule and ticket information; and a host of prominent roster announcements."