Liga MX will start an 18 team women’s division in 2017, according to Liga MX CEO Enrique Bonilla. In a press conference yesterday in the new Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación (FMF) headquarters, Bonilla laid out plans for the new Liga MX Femenil.
"Se trató la posibilidad de internacionalizar a los clubes del FutMX. Se aprobó la creación de la LIGA MX Femenil"— LIGA Bancomer MX (@LIGABancomerMX) December 5, 2016
Each of the 18 teams currently in Liga MX will field a U23 and U17 women’s team consisting of 21 players, two of which will be goalkeepers. There will not be any foreign players allowed during the “first stage”, although Mexican-American dual national players will be allowed. The stated purpose is to provide a league to “nurture the stars of the national team.”
La LIGA Femenil nace de una iniciativa de FMF. Queremos fortalecer una liga femenil para nutrir de estrellas a las selecciones nacionales.— LIGA Bancomer MX (@LIGABancomerMX) December 5, 2016
The league will kick off with a cup tournament that will begin in either April or May of 2017, followed by a “presentation tour” in July and August, with the Apertura finally kicking off in September.
A women’s league isn’t new though for Mexico - there is a Liga Mayor Femenil that currently has clubs throughout Mexico, and Club Tijuana fielded a team in the Women’s Professional Soccer League in the United States through the 2015 season.
The majority of the women on the Mexican National Team have played soccer in the United States, either in college, professionally, or both. It will benefit women’s soccer in Mexico to have at least some of this talent remain at home to train and play with (and against) one another and to inspire a new generation of women and girls to embrace playing the game.