Charlestown Azzurri will enter the Herald Women's Premier League this year after taking over the licence of foundation club and three-time champions Merewether United.
A move for Merewether has been on the horizon for some time as their facilities at Myamblah Oval do not meet criteria for National Premier League Women's status, of which Northern NSW Football are eyeing for their top-flight women's competition next year.
Azzurri follows other NPL clubs Newcastle Olympic, Broadmeadow and Maitland in taking on the women's WPL program.
It was a bittersweet move for Merewether president and last year's first-grade coach Scott Ellis, who said he was sad to see the foundation club's name out of the league but excited to strengthen the program United had worked hard to establish.
"Merewether has a very proud history and a lot of people have put a lot of work into the program over the years and we've got ourselves to the point where we're set up to become one of the dominant clubs for the coming years," Ellis said.
"But it's a really good opportunity. The facilities are good and Charlestown have really gone out of our way to make us feel comfortable."
Charlestown Azzurri committee member Anthony Di Nardo said it was a move the club had been considering for some time.
"We have a strong sense of community at our club and having a high-level women's program as well will only help strengthen it even further," Mr Di Nardo said.
Merewether were one of six teams to play in the inaugural Herald WPL in 2009. Under coach Cassandra Koppen they became the first WPL club to secure the premiership-championship double in 2015. They won back-to-back grand finals in 2017-18, becoming the first club to collect three championship titles. In that period United played in three grand finals in four years.
Key personnel from Merewether will join Azzurri to manage the WPL program and games will be played at Lisle Carr Oval.
The WPL season kicks off on March 27 with defending champions and premiers Olympic hosting Warners Bay in a grand final rematch, Charlestown at home to Mid Coast, New Lambton playing Adamstown and Maitland up against Magic.