USL Championship

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USL Championship
USL Championship vert dark logo.svgTemplate: Infobox football competition / maintenance / logo format
Full name USL Championship
abbreviation USLC
Association USSF
United Soccer League
First edition 2011
hierarchy 2nd league
Teams 35
master Real Monarchs (2019)
Record champions Orlando City and Louisville City FC (2)
Current season 2020
Qualification for Lamar Hunt US Open Cup

The USL Championship (formerly United Soccer League and USL Pro) is a professional men's soccer league in the United States and Canada .

The league has been officially approved by the United States Soccer Federation as Division II Professional League, making it the second division in the US soccer league system. It also ranks second in the Canadian league structure. At the same time, the North American Soccer League was also the second division in the two countries until 2017 .

The league was founded in 2010 and began operating in 2011. The USL belongs to the United Soccer League organization and is operated by it. In it the previous leagues USL First Division and USL Second Division were combined. This also goes back to the dispute between USL and NASL , from which the temporary USSF Division 2 Professional League emerged for the 2010 season .

By creating the new league, the USL wants to achieve a better position in the US football landscape. The economic stability should also be better covered.


Foundation of the USL Pro

On September 8th, the USL announced the establishment of the Professional Division in a press release. On August 11, 2010, the Dayton Dutch Lions FC announced that they wanted to participate in the new "USL-Pro Championship Division" (formerly USL-2). Until then, this was the unofficial name of the league. With this declaration, the first team for the 2011 season was determined. The Richmond Kickers also announced a little later that they wanted to participate in the league. With the departure of the Portland Timbers in the direction of Major League Soccer and the declaration of the Puerto Rico Islanders to participate in the new NASL, the Austin Aztex were the only team in the USL First Division to opt for the USL Pro. The Aztex were later renamed Orlando City .

On September 22nd, 2010 a press conference took place in San Juan , Puerto Rico , in which the two clubs Sevilla FC Puerto Rico and Club Atlético River Plate Puerto Rico announced that they would take part in the USL Pro. Also Antigua Barracuda will make as a new team his entry into the league.

In the coming weeks, more and more teams followed in the USL Professional Division. On December 9, 2010, Puerto Rico United was the last team.

On May 10, 2011, the USL announced that the three teams from Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico United, River Plate Puerto Rico and Sevilla Puerto Rico, will no longer participate in the game. This “reformed” the agreement with the Puerto Rico Soccer League . The three RPSL clubs were no longer admitted for economic reasons. The three other teams in the International Division were split between the other divisions.

Start of the league (2011-2012)

After the first season it was announced that New York FC would no longer participate in the game. As a result, there is no longer any division into two divisions, but a standard table is formed.

Partnership with the MLS (2013)

On January 23, 2013, a comprehensive partnership between Major League Soccer and the USL Pro was agreed. In this step it was agreed that various MLS clubs would enter into partnerships with USL Pro Teams. Through these partnerships, players in both leagues should be better trained, e.g. B. through loan transfers. But there should also be positive economic effects here. In the next steps the reserve team of the MLS, which until then still played in the MLS Reserve League , will be integrated into the USL Pro. The 2014 season started with the Los Angeles Galaxy reserve team . Furthermore, the other reserve teams were integrated into the league operations for this season. That means, all USL Pro teams also played against the MLS reserve teams.

After the 2013 season, the VSI Tampa Bay and Antigua Barracuda teams stopped playing. The Los Angeles Blues team was renamed Orange County Blues FC in spring 2014 . The Phoenix FC franchise was canceled and replaced by Arizona United SC. For the 2015 season there were again changes in the field of participants. Orlando City moves to Major League Soccer. The Charlotte Eagles have given their license to Charlotte Independence. With the Colorado Springs Switchbacks, Louisville City, FC Montréal, Real Monarchs and the Tulsa Roughnecks, another five teams are added.

On October 2, 2014 it was announced that the reserve teams of the major league soccer teams Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders FC will join the USL Pro. The New York Red Bulls also have their own team. For 2016, FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo have announced that they will provide their own reserve teams.

Change of league name (2015)

In 2015 the league name was changed to United Soccer League. The logo has also been adapted. In addition, the USL strives to have the status of a second division in the USA again.

Further development from 2015

On July 15, 2015, another franchise went to Lone Star, LLC. They founded the team Rio Grande Valley Toros , which is based in Edinburgh, Texas and is an official partner of the MLS franchise Houston Dynamo . Rio Grande will play in the USL from the 2016 season.

Another franchise was confirmed on August 12, 2015. The FC Cincinnati will thus be the 26th franchise in the United Soccer League and play in the league from the season 2016th

On August 19, 2015, the Philadelphia Union formed another USL franchise. The Bethlehem Steel FC comes from the metropolitan region of Lehigh Valley and is an official partner of Philadelphia.

The Austin Aztex announced on October 2 that they would be putting the 2016 season off and not returning until 2017. However, this was not implemented and the team completely stopped the game. The reason for this was that the House Park stadium was hit by a tidal wave in May 2015 .

Other new teams for the 2017 season include the Ottawa Fury , Tampa Bay Rowdies (both from NASL ) and teams from Reno and Nashville . The FC Montréal franchise was dissolved for the 2017 season, the Wilmington Hammerheads move to the Premier Development League .

On January 6, 2017, the United States Soccer Federation officially granted the league second national league status.

The United Soccer League announced at the end of September 2018 that the United Soccer League would be renamed the USL Championship with the start of the 2019 season . In the course of this, the other leagues will also be renamed so that a uniform structure results: the USL Championship as the highest league below Major League Soccer, USL League One as the lowest league in US professional football and USL League Two as an amateur -Liga with targeted support and prospects for entry into professional sport.


For the 2015 season , the league was divided into two conferences, West and East. Each team plays 28 games. During the conferences, each team plays twice against the other teams. In addition, each team plays against three teams from the other conference. At the end of the regular season, the six best teams qualify for the play-offs .



The United Soccer League is directed and organized by the United Soccer Leagues . The USL was founded in 1986 and is headquartered in Tampa, Florida. In addition to the USL, the organization also operates other amateur and youth leagues.


All games are broadcast nationwide on Fox Soccer Channel. Furthermore, each team has its own media partner, where the games can be seen and heard either on regional television and / or radio. Since the 2014 season it has also been possible to watch all games on YouTube.

Teams 2020

The following teams take part in the 2020 season.

Home cities of the USL Championship 2019

Eastern Conference

team founding Entry (USL) Stadion place State / Province MLS partner
Atlanta United 2 2017 2018 Fifth Third Bank Stadium (8,318) Kennesaw USA GeorgiaGeorgia Georgia Atlanta United
Birmingham Legion FC 2017 2019 BBVA Field (5,000) Birmingham USA AlabamaAlabama Alabama
Charleston Battery 1993 2011 MUSC Health Stadium (5,100) Charleston USA South CarolinaSouth carolina South carolina
Charlotte Independence 2014 2015 Sportsplex at Matthews (5,000) Matthews USA North CarolinaNorth Carolina North Carolina
Hartford Athletic 2018 2019 Dillon Stadium (6,000) Hartford USA ConnecticutConnecticut Connecticut New England Revolution
Indy Eleven 2013 2018 Lucas Oil Stadium (62,421) Indianapolis USA IndianaIndiana Indiana
Loudoun United 2018 2019 Segra Field (5,000) Leesburg USA VirginiaVirginia Virginia DC United
Louisville City FC 2014 2015 Lynn Family Stadium (11,700) Louisville USA KentuckyKentucky Kentucky
Memphis 901 FC 2018 2019 AutoZone Park (10,000) Memphis USA TennesseeTennessee Tennessee
Miami FC 2015 2020 Riccardo Silva Stadium (20,000) Miami USA FloridaFlorida Florida
New York Red Bulls II 2015 2015 MSU Soccer Park (1,100) Montclair USA New JerseyNew Jersey New Jersey New York Red Bulls
North Carolina FC 2006 2018 WakeMed Soccer Park (6,000) Cary USA North CarolinaNorth Carolina North Carolina
Philadelphia Union II 2015 2016 Talen Energy Stadium (18,500) Chester USA PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Pennsylvania Philadelphia Union
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1999 2011 Highmark Stadium (5,000) Pittsburgh USA PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Pennsylvania
Saint Louis FC 2014 2015 Toyota Stadium (5,500) Fenton USA MissouriMissouri Missouri
Sporting Kansas City II 2015 2016 Children's Mercy Park (18,467) Kansas City USA KansasKansas Kansas Sporting Kansas City
Tampa Bay rowdies 2008 2017 Al Lang Stadium (7,500) Saint Petersburg USA FloridaFlorida Florida

Western Conference

team founding Entry (USL) Stadion place State / Province MLS partner
Austin Bold 2018 2019 Bold Stadium Elroy USA TexasTexas Texas
Colorado Springs Switchbacks 2013 2015 Weidner Field (5,000) Colorado Springs USA ColoradoColorado Colorado
El Paso locomotive 2018 2019 Southwest University Park (9,500) El Paso USA TexasTexas Texas
LA Galaxy II 2014 2014 Dignity Health Track Stadium (5,000) Carson USA CaliforniaCalifornia California LA Galaxy
Las Vegas Lights 2017 2018 Cashman Field (9,334) Las Vegas USA NevadaNevada Nevada
New Mexico United 2018 2019 Isotopes Park (13,500) Albuquerque USA New MexicoNew Mexico New Mexico
Oklahoma City Energy 2013 2014 Taft Stadium (7,500) Oklahoma City USA OklahomaOklahoma Oklahoma FC Dallas
Orange County SC 2010 2011 Champion Stadium (5,000) Irvine USA CaliforniaCalifornia California Los Angeles FC
Phoenix Rising 2014 2014 Casino Arizona Field (6,200) Tempe USA ArizonaArizona Arizona
Portland Timbers 2 2014 2015 Hillsboro Stadium (7,600) Hillsboro USA OregonOregon Oregon Portland Timbers
Real monarchs 2014 2015 Zions Bank Stadium (5,000) Herriman USA UtahUtah Utah Real Salt Lake
Reno 1868 FC 2015 2017 Greater Nevada Field (9,013) Reno USA NevadaNevada Nevada San Jose Earthquakes
Rio Grande Valley Toros 2015 2016 HEB Park (9,400) Edinburgh USA TexasTexas Texas Houston Dynamo
Sacramento Republic 2012 2014 Papa Murphy's Park (11,442) Sacramento USA CaliforniaCalifornia California
San Antonio FC 2015 2016 Toyota Field (8,296) San Antonio USA TexasTexas Texas New York City FC
San Diego Loyal 2019 2020 Torero Stadium (6,000) San Diego USA CaliforniaCalifornia California
Tacoma Defiance 2014 2015 Cheney Stadium (6,500) Tacoma USA WashingtonWashington Washington Seattle Sounders
Tulsa FC 2013 2015 ONEOK Field (7,833) Tulsa USA OklahomaOklahoma Oklahoma

Future teams

team Started place country
Oakland East Bay 2021 Concord , California United StatesUnited States United States
Queensboro SC 2021 Queens , New York United StatesUnited States United States
USL Rhode Island 2022 Pawtucket , Rhode Island United StatesUnited States United States

Former teams

team Started Exit place country
Antigua Barracuda 2011 2013 Saint John's Antigua and BarbudaAntigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda
Austin Aztex 2011 2017 Austin , Texas United StatesUnited States United States
Charlotte Eagles 2011 2014 Charlotte , North Carolina United StatesUnited States United States
Cincinnati FC 2015 2018 Cincinnati , Ohio United StatesUnited States United States
Dayton Dutch Lions 2011 2014 West Carrollton , Ohio United StatesUnited States United States
FC Montréal 2015 2016 Montréal CanadaCanada Canada
New York FC 2011 2011 New York City , New York United StatesUnited States United States
Orlando City 2011 2014 Orlando , Florida United StatesUnited States United States
Ottawa Fury 2017 2019 Ottawa CanadaCanada Canada
Penn FC 2011 2018 Harrisburg , Pennsylvania United StatesUnited States United States
Phoenix FC 2013 2013 Phoenix , Arizona United StatesUnited States United States
Puerto Rico United 2011 2011 Aguada Puerto RicoPuerto Rico Puerto Rico
River Plate Puerto Rico 2011 2011 Fajardo Puerto RicoPuerto Rico Puerto Rico
Richmond Kickers 2011 2018 Richmond , Virginia United StatesUnited States United States
Rochester Rhinos 2011 2017 Rochester , New York United StatesUnited States United States
Toronto FC II 2011 2018 Toronto , Ontario CanadaCanada Canada
Sevilla FC Puerto Rico 2011 2011 Juncos Puerto RicoPuerto Rico Puerto Rico
Vancouver Whitecaps 2 2015 2017 Vancouver , British Columbia CanadaCanada Canada
Tampa Bay FC 2013 2013 Plant City , Florida United StatesUnited States United States
Wilmington Hammerheads 2011 2016 Wilmington , North Carolina United StatesUnited States United States


season Commissioner's Cup
(Regular Season)
USL (Pro)
Championship Series
2011 Orlando City Orlando City
2012 Orlando City Charleston Battery Charleston Battery
2013 Richmond Kickers Orlando City
2014 Orlando City Sacramento Republic Sacramento Republic
2015 Rochester Rhinos Rochester Rhinos
2016 New York Red Bulls II New York Red Bulls II
2017 Real monarchs Louisville City FC
2018 Cincinnati FC Louisville City FC
2019 Phoenix Rising FC Real monarchs

Individual evidence

  1. a b U.S. Soccer grants NASL and USL provisional Division II status for 2017. Retrieved January 9, 2017 .
  2. US Soccer denies NASL Division 2 status for 2018 . In: , February 26, 2018. Retrieved November 26, 2017. 
  3. a b USL Restructures Professional Division , September 8, 2010. Archived from the original on October 11, 2010. 
  4. ^ Kickers Join USL PRO , September 8, 2010. Archived from the original on September 12, 2010 Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . Retrieved September 14, 2010. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / 
  5. ^ Seville, River Plate Join USL PRO , September 23, 2010. Archived from the original on November 5, 2010. Retrieved on September 24, 2010. 
  6. Puerto Rico United Joins USL Pro , December 9, 2010. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. 
  7. USL Reforms Agreement with PRSL , May 10, 2011. Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. Retrieved on May 11, 2011. 
  8. USL PRO 2012 Schedule Released , January 11, 2012. Archived from the original on January 15, 2012. Retrieved on January 22, 2012. 
  9. MLS, USL Pro reach deal on restructured Reserve League , January 23, 2013. Accessed January 27, 2013. 
  10. MLS Affifiliation , Archived from the original on February 17, 2015 Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . Retrieved February 17, 2015.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / 
  11. ^ Welcome to a new dawn in North American soccer . USL. Archived from the original on February 19, 2015. Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved February 17, 2015. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  12. Mario Carlucc: OSEG backs winner with Fury FC move to USL - Ottawa - CBC News., accessed October 29, 2016 .
  13. USL Unveils New Structure: One Central Brand, Three Leagues, Evolving for the Future . Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  14. Expanded USL PRO Unveils 2015 format . United Soccer Leagues (USL). January 21, 2015. Archived from the original on January 22, 2015. Retrieved on February 10, 2015.
  15. Teams - USL Soccer. Retrieved December 4, 2019 .

Web links