CHICAGO – The National Women’s Soccer League announced Thursday that it has recognized the NWSL Players Association as the exclusive bargaining representative of NWSL players.

The NWSL Players Association is an independent labor union run by and for current and future NWSL Players who are currently employed by and have current signed Standard Player Agreements with the NWSL.

“Our decision to voluntarily recognize the NWSL Players Association as the official representative of NWSL players marks an important step in the continued growth and development of the league and our relationship with our players,” NWSL managing director Amanda Duffy said in a statement. “We look forward to collaborating with the Players Association as the league continues to mature, to benefit the players, teams, our partners and our fans.”

The NWSLPA represents the interests of players and works together with the league to foster its long-term sustainability and growth.

“We’ve now achieved official status as a labor union, but we intend to approach our relationship with the league in a very different way than what comes to mind with traditional labor relations,” NWSL Players Association president Yael Averbuch said in a statement. “The NWSLPA is glad to continue a collaborative relationship with the league, with the health and sustainability of the League central to the ongoing relationship.”

Players who are under contract with the U.S. Soccer Federation (i.e. allocated players) will continue to be represented by the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association with respect to their employer, the USSF. The NWSL, NWSLPA and USWNTPA will continue to work closely with one another to achieve goals common to all players in the NWSL and women’s soccer in general. The NWSLPA also has enjoyed strategic support from the Major League Soccer Players Association.

The players association is led by Averbuch, vice president McCall Zerboni, treasurer Emily Menges secretary Nicole Barnhart, and 32 player representatives across the nine NWSL teams.

The NWSLPA is represented by former player and attorney, Meghann Burke, of Brazil & Burke, P.A. in Asheville, N.C.