USL League One

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USL League One
USL League One vert dark logo.svg
Organizing bodyUnited Soccer League
FoundedApril 2, 2017; 5 years ago (2017-04-02)
First season2019
CountryUnited States
ConfederationCONCACAF
(North American Football Union)
Number of teams12
Level on pyramid3
Domestic cup(s)U.S. Open Cup
Current champion(s)South Georgia Tormenta FC (2022)
Current regular
season title
Richmond Kickers (2022)
Most championshipsGreenville Triumph SC
North Texas SC
Union Omaha
South Georgia Tormenta FC
(1 title each)
Most regular
season titles
North Texas SC
Greenville Triumph SC
Union Omaha
Richmond Kickers
(1 title each)
TV partnersESPN+
YouTube
Websitewww.uslleagueone.com Edit this at Wikidata
Current: 2023 USL League One season

USL League One (USL1) is a professional men's soccer league in the United States that had its inaugural season in 2019. The Division III league is operated by United Soccer League, the same group that operates the Division II USL Championship and other leagues. As of 2023, the league has 12 teams who play 32 regular season games, followed by playoffs.

History[edit]

The USL Championship was granted second division sanctioning by the United States Soccer Federation in January 2017, leaving the third tier of American soccer unoccupied. From 1996 to 2009, the United Soccer League operated leagues at the lower divisions under various names, including the USL Second Division in the third tier.[1] On April 2, 2017, the USL announced that it would launch a new third division league in 2019, with a minimum of eight clubs and relaxed requirements compared to the second division USL.[2][3] The new league had the temporary name USL Division III (USL D3).[2] The league announced that they would target cities with a population of 150,000 to one million, mostly in cities currently without a professional team.[4]

In the following months, the league began searching for cities and markets in which to locate new member teams. A tour of prospective cities in the southeastern United States was conducted by the league's vice president from April to May 2017,[5] followed by a visit to North Carolina and a similar tour of the Midwest in late May.[6][7] After the closing of the southeastern tour, the league announced a possible plan for Tormenta FC, a Premier Development League team from Georgia, to join the league.[8]

The unveiling of the first founding member, South Georgia Tormenta FC, took place on January 25, 2018.[9] This was followed by FC Tucson on February 6,[10][11] Greenville Triumph SC on March 13,[12][13] and Madison, Wisconsin on May 17.[14] Toronto FC II of the USL was announced on July 2,[15] and Chattanooga, Tennessee was announced on August 1.[16] Three USL Championship teams, Penn FC, the Rochester Rhinos and the Richmond Kickers, also announced plans to move to League One by 2020 due to financial difficulties.[17][18][19] On October 2, 2018, the tenth and final founding member was revealed to be the reserve team of FC Dallas. Four days later, the club unveiled its branding as North Texas SC.

The league filed for Division III status with the USSF on August 14, 2018. Ten founding teams were listed in the application.[20][21] On December 14, 2018, USSF voted to provisionally sanction League One as a Division 3 league for 2019.[22][non-primary source needed][better source needed] The league currently shares Division III status with MLS Next Pro and the National Independent Soccer Association.[23]

The first League One game was played on March 29, 2019, when Tormenta FC defeated Greenville Triumph SC 1–0 before a crowd of 3,519 at Eagle Field in Erk Russell Park. Alex Morrell scored the first goal in the 72nd minute.[24][25]

On May 1, 2019, an Omaha, Nebraska team to start play in 2020 was unveiled.[26] On October 9, 2019, it was announced that both the New England Revolution and Inter Miami CF would be placing reserve teams in the league, bringing the total number of teams for the 2020 season to 12 teams.[27] On October 21, 2019, it was announced that one of its inaugural teams, Lansing Ignite FC, would fold after its first and only season in existence.[28] On October 28, 2020, USL announced that Fort Wayne FC would join USL League Two as an expansion side for the 2021 season, with a plan to compete in the league for two seasons before joining League One for the 2023 season.[29]

On June 21, 2021, Major League Soccer announced the creation of a new professional soccer league, MLS Next Pro, which began play in 2022 and would host all of MLS's reserve teams along with some independent teams.[30] Fort Lauderdale CF, New England Revolution II, North Texas SC and Toronto FC II all joined MLS Next Pro after the 2021 League One season.[31] Former League One side Orlando City B joined MLS Next Pro for the inaugural 2022 season following a hiatus that began after the club completed the 2020 League One season.[31] Rochester New York FC, formerly known as Rochester Rhinos, announced on December 5, 2021, that the club would be joining MLS Next Pro as its first independent club.[32] Rochester had announced in 2018 their intentions to join League One for the 2020 season, though stadium delays and other financial issues kept the club on hiatus for four years.[33][34] On October 5, 2021, the USL announced it had awarded Lexington Pro Soccer an expansion team for the 2023 season. It would be League One's first club based in Kentucky.[35] The club's identity was revealed as Lexington Sporting Club on March 22, 2022.[36]

Central Valley Fuego FC, Charlotte Independence and Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC began play in 2022.[37][38][39] On June 3, 2022, USL announced that they had granted a group based out of Wilmington, North Carolina the exclusive rights to pursue a League One expansion team for the area with the goal of joining in 2024. Wilmington had been the home of long time USL club Wilmington Hammerheads FC, who played in various USL leagues from 1996 until 2017.[40] On July 12, 2022, USL announced that a newly formed club, Santa Barbara Sky FC, would be joining League One for the 2024 season.[41] It would be the league's second club in California, joining Central Valley Fuego. Following the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, FC Tucson announced a self-relegation back to USL League Two.[42] Shortly after FC Tucson announced their self-relegation, One Knoxville SC announced they would turn professional and join League One for 2023, following a successful debut season that saw them reach the USL League Two conference finals.[43] On December 8, 2022, it was announced that USL League Two club Lane United FC acquired exclusive rights to pursue a League One franchise in Lane County, Oregon.[44]

Teams[edit]

The league will have 12 teams participating in the 2023 season.[20]

Team City Stadium Capacity Founded Joined Head coach
Current teams
Central Valley Fuego FC Fresno, California Fresno State Soccer Stadium 1,000 2020 2022 Mexico Martín Vásquez
Charlotte Independence Charlotte, North Carolina American Legion Memorial Stadium 10,500 2014 2022 United States Mike Jeffries
Chattanooga Red Wolves SC East Ridge, Tennessee CHI Memorial Stadium 5,500 2018 2019 United States Jeff Korytoski
Forward Madison FC Madison, Wisconsin Breese Stevens Field 5,000 2018 2019 United States Matt Glaeser
Greenville Triumph SC Greenville, South Carolina Paladin Stadium 16,000 2018 2019 United States John Harkes
One Knoxville SC Knoxville, Tennessee Regal Stadium 3,000 2021 2023 Scotland Mark McKeever
Lexington SC Lexington, Kentucky Bell Soccer Complex 3,370 2021 2023 England Sam Stockley
North Carolina FC Cary, North Carolina WakeMed Soccer Park 10,000 2006 2021 United States John Bradford
Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC Windsor, Colorado TicketSmarter Stadium at Future Legends Complex 6,000 2021 2022 Libya Éamon Zayed
Union Omaha Papillion, Nebraska Werner Park 9,023 2019 2020 England Dominic Casciato
Richmond Kickers Richmond, Virginia City Stadium 6,000 1993 2019 United States Darren Sawatzky
South Georgia Tormenta FC Statesboro, Georgia Optim Sports Medicine Field 5,300 2015 2019 Scotland Ian Cameron

Future teams[edit]

Team City Stadium Capacity Founded Joining Head coach
Planned expansion teams
USL1 Spokane Spokane, Washington Downtown Spokane Stadium 5,000 2021 2024 vacant
Santa Barbara Sky FC Santa Barbara, California La Playa Stadium 10,000 2022 2024 vacant

Location map[edit]

Former teams[edit]

Club City Stadium Capacity Joined Final season MLS affiliation Fate
Fort Lauderdale CF Fort Lauderdale, Florida DRV PNK Stadium 18,000 2020 2021 Inter Miami CF Moved to MLS Next Pro[31]
Lansing Ignite FC Lansing, Michigan Cooley Law School Stadium 7,527 2019 2019 Chicago Fire FC Folded[28]
New England Revolution II Foxborough, Massachusetts Gillette Stadium 20,000 2020 2021 New England Revolution Moved to MLS Next Pro[31]
North Texas SC Arlington, Texas Choctaw Stadium 48,114 2019 2021 FC Dallas Moved to MLS Next Pro[31]
Orlando City B Kissimmee, Florida Osceola County Stadium 5,400 2019 2020 Orlando City SC Moved to MLS Next Pro[31]
Toronto FC II Toronto, Ontario BMO Training Ground 1,000 2019 2021 Toronto FC Moved to MLS Next Pro[31]
FC Tucson Tucson, Arizona Kino North Stadium 3,200 2019 2022 None Moved to USL League Two[45]

Timeline[edit]

USL1 SpokaneSanta Barbara Sky FCOne Knoxville SCLexington SCNorthern Colorado Hailstorm FCCharlotte IndependenceCentral Valley Fuego FCNorth Carolina FCUnion OmahaNew England Revolution IIFort Lauderdale CFFC TucsonToronto FC IITormenta FCRichmond KickersOrlando City BNorth Texas SCLansing Ignite FCGreenville Triumph SCForward Madison FCChattanooga Red Wolves SC

Champions[edit]

Teams that no longer participate in USL League One are in italics.

Team USL1 Cup Year(s) won Regular season
title
Year(s) won
North Texas SC 1 2019 1 2019
Greenville Triumph SC 1 2020 1 2020
Union Omaha 1 2021 1 2021
South Georgia Tormenta FC 1 2022 -- --
Richmond Kickers -- -- 1 2022

USL League One Finals[edit]

Season Champions Score Runners–up Venue Attendance MVP
2019 North Texas SC 1–0 Greenville Triumph SC Toyota Stadium 3,245 Arturo Rodríguez (NTX)
2020 Greenville Triumph SC Cancelled[46] Union Omaha Legacy Early College Field 0 N/A
2021 Union Omaha 3–0 Greenville Triumph SC Werner Park 5,221 Damià Viader (OMA)
2022 South Georgia Tormenta FC 2–1 Chattanooga Red Wolves SC Optim Sports Medicine Field 3,045 Kazaiah Sterling (TRM)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kennedy, Paul (March 30, 2017). "USL: A new Division III league in works for 2019". Soccer America. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "USL to Launch Third-Division League in 2019" (Press release). United Soccer League. April 2, 2017. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  3. ^ Straus, Brian (March 30, 2017). "USL will launch second league in 2019 to occupy U.S. Soccer's Division 3". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  4. ^ "About". USL. April 25, 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  5. ^ "USL DIII VP Short reflects on southeast expansion tour". USL D3. May 10, 2017. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
  6. ^ "Short Shares Thoughts on North Carolina Visits". August 8, 2017. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  7. ^ "USL DIII Expansion Tour Visits Midwest". USL D3. May 22, 2017. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
  8. ^ "Tormenta FC to explore USL DIII possibilities". USL D3. May 5, 2017. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
  9. ^ "Tormenta FC joins USL Division III for 2019". January 25, 2018. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  10. ^ "FC Tucson Leads USL Division III'S West Coast Expansion". United Soccer League (USL). February 6, 2018.
  11. ^ "FC Tucson moves to USL Division III, becomes professional team". Arizona Daily Star. February 6, 2018.
  12. ^ "USL Division III Welcomes Greenville as Founding Member". United Soccer League (USL). February 6, 2018.
  13. ^ "Greenville's Pro Soccer Team To Be Called Greenville Triumph Soccer Club". Greenville Triumph Soccer Club. August 9, 2018.
  14. ^ Staff, USL DIII (May 17, 2018). "Madison Unveiled as Fourth USL Division III Founding Member". USL Championship.
  15. ^ Staff, USL DIII (July 2, 2018). "USL Division III Names Toronto FC II as Founding Member". USL League One.
  16. ^ Staff, USL DIII (August 1, 2018). "Chattanooga Welcomed as Newest USL Division III Founding Member". USL League One.
  17. ^ "Rochester Approved for USL Division III" (Press release). Rochester Rhinos. August 22, 2018.
  18. ^ "Kickers Named a USL Division III Founding Member". usld3.com. United Soccer Leagues. September 11, 2018. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  19. ^ "Penn FC to join USL League One in 2020" (Press release). October 8, 2018.
  20. ^ a b "USL Division III Files Sanctioning Paperwork to U.S. Soccer". United Soccer League (USL). August 14, 2018.
  21. ^ "USL Division III submits sanctioning request to U.S. Soccer with 10 teams". Paul Kennedy. SoccerAmerica. August 14, 2018.
  22. ^ Goff, Steven [@soccerinsider] (December 14, 2018). "U.S. Soccer Federation's board of directors has voted to provisionally sanction @USLLeagueOne as a Division III pro league in 2019. #usl" (Tweet). Retrieved December 14, 2018 – via Twitter.
  23. ^ Kivlehan, Chris (February 17, 2019). "Breaking: NISA Sanctioned By USSF, To Start In August". Midfield Press. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  24. ^ "Gameday Report: March 29, Week 1". USL League One. March 29, 2019.
  25. ^ "Tormenta takes down Greenville". Mike Anthony. March 30, 2019.
  26. ^ "Omaha Unveiled as USL League One's Newest Club". May 1, 2019.
  27. ^ USLLeagueOne.com Staff (October 9, 2019). "Inter Miami FC, New England Revolution Launch League One Clubs". USL League One. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  28. ^ a b "Lansing Ignite FC Ceases Operations". USLLeagueOne.com. USL League One. October 21, 2019. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
  29. ^ USLLeagueOne com Staff (October 28, 2020). "Fort Wayne FC To Join USL League One In 2023". USL League One. Retrieved October 22, 2022.
  30. ^ Bonagura, Kyle (June 21, 2021). "Major League Soccer to launch development league in 2022". ESPN. Retrieved September 15, 2022.
  31. ^ a b c d e f g "MLS NEXT Pro unveils 21 clubs for inaugural season starting March 2022". mlssoccer.com. Major League Soccer. December 6, 2021. Retrieved September 15, 2022.
  32. ^ FC, RNY. "Rochester New York FC". RNY FC. Retrieved October 22, 2022.
  33. ^ "Premier League star Jamie Vardy named co-owner of Rochester Rhinos". RochesterFirst. June 15, 2021. Retrieved October 22, 2022.
  34. ^ "Episode 151: Pat Ercoli (President Rochester Rhinos) Part 2 from Uncle Sam's Soccer Podcast". www.stitcher.com. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  35. ^ USLLeagueOne com Staff (October 5, 2021). "United Soccer League Welcomes Lexington Pro Soccer as League One Expansion Club". USL League One. Retrieved October 22, 2022.
  36. ^ USLLeagueOne com Staff (March 22, 2022). "Lexington Sporting Club Reveal Brand Identity". USL League One. Retrieved October 22, 2022.
  37. ^ "United Soccer League Welcomes Central Valley Fuego Futbol Club to League One". uslleagueone.com. USL League One. December 8, 2020. Retrieved September 15, 2022.
  38. ^ "Charlotte Independence to Compete in USL League One Starting in 2022". uslleagueone.com. USL League One. December 2, 2021. Retrieved September 15, 2022.
  39. ^ "United Soccer League Welcomes Northern Colorado FC to League One". uslleagueone.com. USL League One. January 12, 2021. Retrieved September 15, 2022.
  40. ^ USLLeagueOne com Staff (June 3, 2022). "USL to Wilmington Announce Intentions to Bring Professional Soccer to Wilmington, N.C." USL League One. Retrieved October 22, 2022.
  41. ^ USLLeagueOne com Staff (July 12, 2022). "Santa Barbara Sky FC to Join USL League One". USL League One. Retrieved October 22, 2022.
  42. ^ "FC Tucson to join USL League Two in 2023". October 18, 2022. Retrieved October 18, 2022.
  43. ^ "One Knoxville SC to join USL League One in 2023". October 20, 2022. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  44. ^ USLLeagueOne com Staff (December 8, 2022). "Lane United FC acquires exclusive rights to pursue professional USL franchises". USL League Two. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  45. ^ "FC Tucson to Join USL League Two in 2023". USLLeagueOne.com. USL League One. October 18, 2022. Retrieved October 18, 2022.
  46. ^ "USL League One Final Cancelled, Greenville Named 2020 Title-Winners". USLLeagueOne.com Staff. October 29, 2020. Retrieved October 29, 2020.

External links[edit]