Eight years ago, Japan won the FIFA Women's World Cup and earned its place among women's soccer's elite nations.

Now, as the sport known as "WoSo" packs stadiums in London, Madrid, Monterrey and Philadelphia, the country that introduced the likes of Homare Sawa and Saki Kumagai to the world is playing catch-up.

The Japan Football Association (JFA) declared its intent to not get left behind last Thursday after its board of directors voted to establish a new women's professional league beginning in 2021, with the current Nadeshiko League set to continue as an amateur competition.