United Soccer League
|United Soccer League divisions|
United Soccer League (USL), formerly known as United Soccer Leagues, is the organizer of several soccer leagues with teams in the United States and Canada. It includes men's and women's leagues, both professional and amateur. Leagues currently organized are the USL Championship, USL League One, USL League Two and the youth Super Y League. A new women's league, the USL W League, began play in 2022. It is directly affiliated with the United States Soccer Federation and the United States Adult Soccer Association. The USL is headquartered in Tampa, Florida.
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.
- 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. 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.
- 2010 - The USL announce the formation of USL Pro, which merged the USL First Division and USL Second Division.
- 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.
- 2015 - USL Pro is renamed the United Soccer League. The USL W-League and W-20 League cease operations.
- 2017 - The USL is granted Provisional Division II status by U.S. Soccer. 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.
- 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 2023.
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. 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."
Complete historical team list
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.
|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. Therefore, 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 the USL Professional Division.
|1989||Colorado Comets||3–1||Addison Arrows|
|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|
Outdoor seasons 2011–2018
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||2020||Greenville Triumph SC||N/A||Union Omaha||2020||Season canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic|
|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||TBD||0–0||TBD||2022||TBD||0–0||TBD||2022||Ventura County Fusion||2–1||Long Island Rough Riders|
W-League seasons 1995–2015
W League seasons 2022–present
|2022 W League||South Georgia Tormenta FC||2–1 (a.e.t.)||Minnesota Aurora FC|
- Alec Papadakis – Chief Executive Officer
- Jake Edwards – President
- Justin Papadakis – Chief Operating Officer & Chief Real Estate Officer
- Karen Gittens - Chief Financial Officer
- Amanda Vandervort - President, Super League
- Court Jeske - Chief Commercial Officer
- Greg Lalas - Chief Marketing Officer
- Garrison Mason – Senior Vice President, General Counsel
- Brett Luy – Executive Vice President, League Operations
- Michael Cohen - Executive Vice President, Media
- Cory Bernstine - Vice President, Strategy
- Rachel Bukszar - Vice President, People
- Mark Cartwright - Sporting Director
- John Cochol – Senior Vice President, Club Services
- Dan Holman - Senior Vice President, Club Expansion & Real Estate
- Josh Keller - Senior Vice President, Corporate Development & Partnerships
- Will Kuhns - Senior Vice President, Communications & Public Relations
- Dan Lohrs - Vice President, League Operations
- Joel Nash - Vice President, Youth & Pre-Professional
- Domenic Notarfrancesco - Vice President, Consumer Products
- Liam O'Connell - Technical Director
- Missy Price - Vice President, Women's Soccer
- Matt Reda - Vice President, Corporate Development
- Adam Satz - Senior Vice President, Technology & Data Strategy
- Steven Short – Senior Vice President, League One
- 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.
- "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.
- "About". www.uslsoccer.com. Archived from the original on August 29, 2017. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
- "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.
- 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.
- "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.
- "USL Restructures Professional Division". www.uslsoccer.com. September 8, 2010. Archived from the original on October 11, 2010. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
- "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.
- "W-League Statement". United Soccer Leagues (USL). November 7, 2015. Archived from the original on November 19, 2015. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
- "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.
- "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.
- "earlyyears". www.unm.edu. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
- "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.
- "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.
- "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.
- "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.