Jump to content

United Soccer League

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

United Soccer League
Founded1986; 38 years ago (1986)
FounderFrancisco Marcos[1]
Area served
  • United States
  • Canada
Key people
  • Rob Hoskins (Chairman)
  • Alec Papadakis (CEO)

United Soccer League (USL) is an organizer of soccer leagues in the United States. It operates several men's and women's leagues, both professional and amateur. Men's leagues currently organized are the USL Championship, USL League One, USL League Two, and the youth Super Y League. A women's league, the USL W League, began play in 2022.[2] It is directly affiliated with the United States Soccer Federation and the United States Adult Soccer Association. The USL is headquartered in Tampa, Florida.[3]



Year by year

  • 1986 – The original USL is established as the Southwest Indoor Soccer League.
  • 1989 – An outdoor league, known as the Southwest Outdoor Soccer League is added.
  • 1990 – The indoor and outdoor leagues merge, becoming the Sunbelt Independent Soccer League.
  • 1991 – The SISL is renamed the United States Interregional Soccer League.
  • 1995 – The USISL is renamed the United States International Soccer League. Later that year, the USISL is renamed United Systems of Independent Soccer Leagues and formally establishes professional Pro League and amateur Premier Development League. The USL W-League women's semi-pro league is also launched.
  • 1996 – Select League is established consisting of strongest teams from Division 3 Pro League and Amateur Premier League in hopes of gaining Division 2 sanctioning.
  • 1997 – Select League and the former American Professional Soccer League merge to form A-League under the USISL umbrella.
  • 1999 – Umbrella USISL changes its name to the United Soccer Leagues. The A-League's Rochester Raging Rhinos defeat four Major League Soccer teams to win the 1999 U.S. Open Cup, the first—and to date, only—team outside of Division I to win the Open Cup in its modern era (1995–present).
  • 2009 – Nike sells organization to NuRock Soccer Holdings, LLC. As a result, nine clubs left the First Division to form the North American Soccer League: Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks FC, Miami FC, Minnesota Thunder, Montreal Impact, Rochester Rhinos, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Vancouver Whitecaps, and the AC St. Louis expansion group.[4][5] The United Soccer League becomes a division in the temporary USSF Division 2 league, due to a dispute between the NASL and the USL over Division 2 status.[6]
  • 2010 – The USL announce the formation of USL Pro, which merged the USL First Division and USL Second Division.[7]
  • 2011 – The Inaugural season of USL Pro is held. The USL takes over operation of the Major Indoor Soccer League.
  • 2013 – USL Pro and Major League Soccer announce a multi-year agreement, beginning that season, to integrate MLS Reserve League play with USL Pro teams, first through team affiliations and "interleague" play, eventually fully merging MLS Reserves into the USL Pro structure. The W-20 League is launched, a youth league that is operationally aligned with the USL W-League.[8]
  • 2015 – USL Pro is renamed the United Soccer League. The USL W-League and W-20 League cease operations.[9]
  • 2017 – The USL is granted Provisional Division II status by U.S. Soccer.[10] The USL also creates the USL Division III league, filing for Division III status with U.S. Soccer.
  • 2018 – The USL announces re-branding of its top league to the USL Championship, USL Division III to USL League One, and the Premier Development League to USL League Two beginning with the 2019 season.
  • 2019 – USL League One launches with 10 teams.
  • 2021 – The USL announces two new women's competitions, the amateur W League launching in the 2022 season and the professional Super League launching in 2024.
  • 2024 – The USL reorganizes and rebrands Super Y League as USL Youth. USL Super League receives Division I sanctioning from U.S. Soccer and launches with 8 teams.



Founded in 1985 by Francisco Marcos, the Southwest Indoor Soccer League was first intended as a minor indoor league associated with Major Indoor Soccer League.[11] The league began with five teams, all owned by individuals who owned or operated indoor soccer arenas in the Southwest United States. League headquarters was in Austin, Texas. In 1986, Marcos' team, the Austin Sockadillos, entered the league giving it six teams. By 1989, the league had set its sights on greater prospects than remaining a small, semi-professional indoor league. A 1989 press release stated, "It is envisioned the league will be part of the USSF's plan to professionalize soccer in the USA prior to the 1994 World Cup, and the league plans to push its teams to be considered for the "three-tiered first, second and third divisions" plan the USSF envisions for soccer."[12]

Complete historical team list






Indoor seasons


The USL began operations in 1986 as the Southwest Indoor Soccer League, a semi-professional indoor league. The league quickly expanded and added an outdoor season in 1989. In 1991, the league renamed itself the United States Interregional Soccer League. By then, the outdoor league overshadowed the indoor league which continued to slowly dwindle in importance. By the 1997–98 season, only five teams remained indoors while the outdoor season had over a hundred teams divided into a three-division structure. This led the league to stop running an indoor league.

In 2010, the USL began to consider relaunching an indoor season. However, it decided instead to take over operations of the Major Indoor Soccer League; beginning indoor operations in 2011. The champions were determined by a single games in 1987, 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1998. The champions were determined by a best of three series in 1998 and a best of five series in 1989, 1990 and 1991 and a home-and-home series in 2012 and 2013.

Season Winner Final score Runner-up
1986/87 Addison Arrows 7–2 Lubbock Lazers
1987/88 Oklahoma City Warriors 3–0 Austin Sockadillos
1988/89 Lubbock Lazers 3 games to 2 Austin Sockadillos
1989/90 Addison Arrows 3 games to 0 Phoenix Hearts
1990/91 Colorado Comets 3 games to 0 Oklahoma City Warriors
1991/92 Oklahoma City Warriors 7–2 Atlanta Magic
1992/93 Atlanta Magic 11–7 Arizona Cotton
1993/94 Atlanta Magic 8–3 Chattanooga Express
1994/95 Atlanta Magic 6–3 Oklahoma City Slickers
1995/96 Baltimore Bays 10–8 Atlanta Magic
1996/97 Baltimore Bays 5–4; 13–10 Tulsa Roughnecks
1997/98 Baltimore Bays 11–4 Tulsa Roughnecks
The USISL ceased operating its own indoor league in 1998.
From 2011–2014, the USL operated the MISL.
2011/12 Milwaukee Wave 14–2; 12–10 Baltimore Blast
2012/13 Baltimore Blast 21–12; 8–6 Missouri Comets
2013/14 Missouri Comets 15–8; 4–19; 6–4 Baltimore Blast

Outdoor seasons 1989–2010


In 1989, the Southwest Indoor Soccer League added a summer, outdoor season known as the Southwest Outdoor Soccer League. In 1990, the league dropped both "indoor" and "outdoor" from its name as it ran both a semi-professional indoor and outdoor season. By 1995, the outdoor season had grown to such a size that the USISL, as it was known at the time, split the league into two levels, the aptly named, fully professional Professional League and the semi-professional Premier League. In 1996, the USISL added a third, higher, Select League. This was formed from the strongest teams from both the Professional and Premier League. The Select League, along with the competing A-League, both received official Division II status from FIFA. However, the A-League was in decline while the USISL was expanding. In 1997, the A-League ceased operations and merged into the USISL Select League which was renamed the USISL A-League. From that point, the USL's three-level structure remained stable until 2010. Some teams left to start the North American Soccer League and the First and Second Divisions were merged to become USL Pro.

Season Winner Final score Runner-up
1989 Colorado Comets 3–1 Addison Arrows
1990 Colorado Comets
1991 Richardson Rockets 3–0 New Mexico Chiles
1992 Palo Alto Firebirds 1–0 Tucson Amigos
1993 Greensboro Dynamo 2–1 Orlando Lions
1994 Greensboro Dynamo 2–1 (SO) Minnesota Thunder
Season Winner Final score Runner-up Season Winner Final score Runner-up Season Winner Final score Runner-up
Division II Division III Semi-pro
1995 Professional Long Island Rough Riders 2–1 Minnesota Thunder 1995 Premier Richmond Kickers 3–1 Cocoa Expos
1996 Select California Jaguars 2–1 (SO) Richmond Kickers 1996 Professional Charleston Battery 3–2 (SO) Charlotte Eagles 1996 Premier Central Coast Roadrunners 2–1 San Francisco Bay Seals
1997 A-League Milwaukee Rampage 1–1 (3–0) Carolina Dynamo 1997 D-3 Pro Albuquerque Geckos 4–1 Charlotte Eagles 1997 PDSL Central Coast Roadrunners 2–1 Cocoa Expos
1998 A-League Rochester Raging Rhinos 3–1 Minnesota Thunder 1998 D-3 Pro Chicago Stingers 3–2 (OT) New Hampshire Phantoms 1998 PDSL San Gabriel Valley Highlanders 3–2 Jackson Chargers
1999 A-League Minnesota Thunder 2–1 Rochester Raging Rhinos 1999 D-3 Pro Western Mass Pioneers 2–1 South Jersey Barons 1999 PDL Chicago Sockers 3–1 Spokane Shadow
2000 A-League Rochester Raging Rhinos 3–1 Minnesota Thunder 2000 D-3 Pro Charlotte Eagles 5–0 New Jersey Stallions 2000 PDL Chicago Sockers 1–0 Mid-Michigan Bucks
2001 A-League Rochester Raging Rhinos 2–0 Hershey Wildcats 2001 D-3 Pro Utah Blitzz 1–0 Greenville Lions 2001 PDL Westchester Flames 3–1 Calgary Storm
2002 A-League Milwaukee Rampage 2–1 (OT) Richmond Kickers 2002 D-3 Pro Long Island Rough Riders 2–1 Wilmington Hammerheads 2002 PDL Cape Cod Crusaders 2–1 Boulder Rapids Reserves
2003 A-League Charleston Battery 3–0 Minnesota Thunder 2003 Pro Soccer Wilmington Hammerheads 2–1 (OT) Westchester Flames 2003 PDL Cape Cod Crusaders 2–0 Chicago Fire Reserves
2004 A-League Montreal Impact 2–0 Seattle Sounders 2004 Pro Soccer Utah Blitzz 2–2 (5–4 PK) Charlotte Eagles 2004 PDL Central Florida Kraze 1–0 Boulder Rapids Reserves
2005 First Division Seattle Sounders 1–1 (4–3 PK) Richmond Kickers 2005 Second Division Charlotte Eagles 2–2 (5–4 PK) Western Mass Pioneers 2005 PDL Des Moines Menace 0–0 (6–5 PK) El Paso Patriots
2006 First Division Vancouver Whitecaps 3–0 Rochester Raging Rhinos 2006 Second Division Richmond Kickers 2–1 Charlotte Eagles 2006 PDL Michigan Bucks 2–1 Laredo Heat
2007 First Division Seattle Sounders 4–0 Atlanta Silverbacks 2007 Second Division Harrisburg City Islanders 1–1 (8–7 PK) Richmond Kickers 2007 PDL Laredo Heat 0–0 (4–3 PK) Michigan Bucks
2008 First Division Vancouver Whitecaps 2–1 Puerto Rico Islanders 2008 Second Division Cleveland City Stars 2–1 Charlotte Eagles 2008 PDL Thunder Bay Chill 1–1 (4–1 PK) Laredo Heat
2009 First Division Montreal Impact 3–2; 3–1 Vancouver Whitecaps 2009 Second Division Richmond Kickers 3–1 Charlotte Eagles 2009 PDL Ventura County Fusion 2–1 Chicago Fire Premier
2010 D2 Pro League Puerto Rico Islanders 2–0; 1–1 Carolina RailHawks 2010 Second Division Charleston Battery 2–1 Richmond Kickers 2010 PDL Portland Timbers U23s 4–1 Thunder Bay Chill

Outdoor seasons 2011–2018

USL Pro / United Soccer League Premier Development League (PDL)
Season Winner Final score Runner-up Season Winner Final score Runner-up
Division III Semi-pro
2011 USL Pro Orlando City SC 2–2 (3–2 PK) Harrisburg City Islanders 2011 PDL Kitsap Pumas 1–0 Laredo Heat
2012 USL Pro Charleston Battery 1–0 Wilmington Hammerheads 2012 PDL Forest City London 2–1 Carolina Dynamo
2013 USL Pro Orlando City SC 7–4 Charlotte Eagles 2013 PDL Austin Aztex 3–1 Thunder Bay Chill
2014 USL Pro Sacramento Republic FC 2–0 Harrisburg City Islanders 2014 PDL Michigan Bucks 1–0 Kitsap Pumas
2015 USL Rochester Rhinos 2–1 (a.e.t.) LA Galaxy II 2015 PDL K-W United FC 4–3 New York Red Bulls U-23
2016 USL New York Red Bulls II 5–1 Swope Park Rangers 2016 PDL Michigan Bucks 3–2 Calgary Foothills FC
Division II Semi-pro
2017 USL Louisville City FC 1–0 Swope Park Rangers 2017 PDL Charlotte Eagles 2–1 Thunder Bay Chill
2018 USL Louisville City FC 1–0 Phoenix Rising FC 2018 PDL Calgary Foothills FC 4–2 (a.e.t.) Reading United AC

United Soccer League 2019–present

USL Championship (Division II) USL League One (Division III) USL League Two (Semi-pro)
Season Winner Final score Runner-up Season Winner Final score Runner-up Season Winner Final score Runner-up
2019 Real Monarchs 3–1 Louisville City FC 2019 North Texas SC 1–0 Greenville Triumph SC 2019 Flint City Bucks 1–0 (a.e.t.) Reading United AC
2020 Final canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic[13] 2020 Greenville Triumph SC N/A[14] Union Omaha 2020 Season canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic[15][16]
2021 Orange County SC 3–1 Tampa Bay Rowdies 2021 Union Omaha 3–0 Greenville Triumph SC 2021 Des Moines Menace 1–0 North Carolina Fusion
2022 San Antonio FC 3–1 Louisville City FC 2022 Tormenta FC 2–1 Chattanooga Red Wolves SC 2022 Ventura County Fusion 2–1 Long Island Rough Riders
2023 Phoenix Rising FC 1–1 (3–2 PK) Charleston Battery 2023 North Carolina FC 1–1 (5–4 PK) Charlotte Independence 2023 Ballard FC 2–1 Lionsbridge FC

W-League seasons 1995–2015

Season Winner Final score Runner-up
1995 W-League Long Island Lady Riders 3–0 Southern California Nitemares
1996 W-League Maryland Pride 3–0 Dallas Lightning
1997 W-League Long Island Lady Riders 2–1 (OT) Chicago Cobras
1998 W-League W-1 Raleigh Wings 4–3 Boston Renegades
1998 W-League W-2 Fort Collins Force 3–1 Hampton Roads Piranhas
1999 W-League W-1 Raleigh Wings 3–2 (OT) Chicago Cobras
1999 W-League W-2 North Texas FC 5–1 Springfield Sirens
2000 W-League W-1 Chicago Cobras 1–1 (4–2 PSO) Raleigh Wings
2000 W-League W-2 Springfield Sirens 2–1 Charlotte Lady Eagles
2001 W-League W-1 Boston Renegades 5–1 Vancouver Whitecaps Women
2001 W-League W-2 Charlotte Lady Eagles 3–1 Memphis Mercury
2002 W-League Boston Renegades 3–0 Charlotte Lady Eagles
2003 W-League Hampton Roads Piranhas 1–0 Chicago Cobras
2004 W-League Vancouver Whitecaps Women 0–0 (4–2 PSO) New Jersey Wildcats
2005 W-League New Jersey Wildcats 3–0 Ottawa Fury Women
2006 W-League Vancouver Whitecaps Women 3–0 Ottawa Fury Women
2007 W-League Washington Freedom 3–1 Atlanta Silverbacks Women
2008 W-League Pali Blues 2–1 F.C. Indiana
2009 W-League Pali Blues 2–1 Washington Freedom Reserves
2010 W-League Buffalo Flash 3–1 Vancouver Whitecaps Women
2011 W-League Atlanta Silverbacks Women 6–1 Ottawa Fury Women
2012 W-League Ottawa Fury Women 1–1 (4–3 PSO) Pali Blues
2013 W-League Pali Blues 1–0 Laval Comets
2014 W-League Los Angeles Blues 6–1 Washington Spirit Reserves
2015 W-League Washington Spirit Reserves 2–1 Colorado Pride
The W-League ceased operations after the 2015 season.

W League seasons 2022–present

Season Winner Final score Runner-up
2022 W League Tormenta FC 2–1 (a.e.t.) Minnesota Aurora FC
2023 W League Indy Eleven 2–1 (a.e.t.) North Carolina Courage U23


  • Alec Papadakis – Chief executive officer
  • Justin Papadakis – Chief operating officer and chief real estate officer
  • Paul McDonough – President and chief soccer officer[17]


  1. ^ Kennedy, Paul (March 7, 2018). "Francisco Marcos: 'The impatient train left a long time ago'". Soccer America. Archived from the original on December 15, 2018. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  2. ^ "USL announces return of the W League from 2022 – SportsPro Media". www.sportspromedia.com. Archived from the original on June 16, 2021. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  3. ^ "About". www.uslsoccer.com. Archived from the original on August 29, 2017. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  4. ^ "USL outcasts set to launch new league in 2010". Soccerbyives.net. November 10, 2009. Archived from the original on February 19, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  5. ^ Molinaro, John F. (November 10, 2009). "CBC Sports: Whitecaps, Impact to form breakaway league". Cbc.ca. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  6. ^ "US Soccer Federation To Oversee Combined NASL/USL League". Goal.com. January 7, 2010. Archived from the original on September 8, 2011. Retrieved January 8, 2010.
  7. ^ "USL Restructures Professional Division". www.uslsoccer.com. September 8, 2010. Archived from the original on October 11, 2010. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  8. ^ "W-20 League Set for 2013 Debut". www.uslsoccer.com. April 4, 2013. Archived from the original on April 9, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
  9. ^ "W-League Statement". United Soccer Leagues (USL). November 7, 2015. Archived from the original on November 19, 2015. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  10. ^ "U.S. Soccer Board of Directors Grants Provisional Division II Status to NASL and USL". U.S. Soccer. January 6, 2017. Archived from the original on January 7, 2017. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  11. ^ "Indoor Soccer Comes to City Warriors Feature "Cream of Crop' Players". December 22, 1986. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  12. ^ "earlyyears". www.unm.edu. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  13. ^ "USL Championship Final Cancelled, Season Concludes with Tampa Bay, Phoenix as Conference Title-Winners". USLChampionship.com. October 31, 2020. Archived from the original on November 1, 2020. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  14. ^ "USL League One Final Cancelled, Greenville Named 2020 Title-Winners". USLLeagueOne.com Staff. October 29, 2020. Archived from the original on November 1, 2020. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  15. ^ "USL League Two cancels 2020 season". Matthew Ralph. brotherlygame.com. April 30, 2020. Archived from the original on June 7, 2020. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  16. ^ "USL cancels 2020 League Two season, extends pro league suspensions". Jenny Hojnacki. sbisoccer.com. April 30, 2020. Archived from the original on June 9, 2020. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  17. ^ "United Soccer League Names Experienced Soccer Executive Paul McDonough as USL President and Chief Soccer Officer". United Soccer League. May 8, 2023. Retrieved May 8, 2023.