The Minnesota Aurora women's soccer team that recently announced its intention to go pro will apply for an expansion franchise in the 12-team National Women's Soccer League by the Friday deadline.

Aurora CEO Andrea Yoch said Thursday the pre-professional team that had a successful inaugural season also will apply to the fledgling second-division USL Super League set to debut in 2023.

The NWSL is the highest level of pro women's soccer in the U.S.

"We're still very open to the Super League, but this [NWSL] one is first," Yoch said. "We're still exploring."

Yoch said Aurora management has received "very positive" responses from 3,080 community owners when the team announced it was time to turn pro after one season in the USL W League.

She said the club has had "really great" discussions with potential majority investors interested in a team that must, by US Soccer Federation rules, have a single investor that owns at least 35% of the franchise.

"It has sped up some conversations and started others," Yoch said about the team announcing it wants to go pro.

The Aurora will continue to play in the USL W League in 2023. It went undefeated in the regular season this past summer before losing in the league title game.