Sheffield United Ladies have had their bid to join the FA Women’s Championship – a league also knows as the WSL2 – accepted for the 2018/19 season.
The Blades will join local sides such as Doncaster Rovers Belles and Sheffield FC Ladies in the second-tier, with Manchester United – who disbanded their women’s side in 2005 – also set to compete in the division.
The move follows a restructuring of women’s football and Sheffield United have been rewarded for their commitment to the game after two successful seasons in terms of investment and performances.
Existing clubs had to re-apply for their places, before a second, open application phase. Southampton, Crystal Palace and Derby County were unsuccessful in their bids to join the new second division.
Plans for home fixtures to be played at the Olympic Legacy Park and Bramall Lane are to be drawn up soon.
The Blades are are one of 34 clubs in England to have an FA license to allow the club to run centres for elite girls across four age groups: Under-10s, Under-12s, Under-14s and Under-16s.
As a result of the restructures, Charlton Athletic Women, Leicester City Women and Lewes FC Women have joined the WSL2, with Watford FC Ladies and Oxford United Women dropping out of the division. Sunderland AFC have also exited.
In the top-tier, West Ham Ladies have joined the division while Yeovil Ladies have retained their WSL1 status.
It is thought Watford and Oxford will be offered spots in the third tier, the new Women’s National League.
The leagues will begin in August 2018.
The top two tiers in full are:
Arsenal, Birmingham City Ladies, Brighton & Hove Albion Women, Bristol City Women, Chelsea FC Women, Everton Ladies FC, Liverpool Ladies FC, Manchester City Women, Reading FC Women, Yeovil Town Ladies, West Ham Ladies.
Aston Villa Ladies FC, Doncaster Rovers Belles, Durham Women FC, London Bees, Millwall Lionesses, Sheffield FC Ladies, Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, Charlton Athletic Women, Leicester City Women, Lewes FC Women, Manchester United Women, Sheffield United Ladies.