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 teams11
Level on pyramid3
Domestic cup(s)U.S. Open Cup
Current champion(s)Union Omaha (2021)
Current regular
season title
Union Omaha (2021)
Most championshipsGreenville Triumph SC
North Texas SC
Union Omaha
(1 title each)
Most regular
season titles
North Texas SC
Greenville Triumph SC
Union Omaha
(1 title each)
TV partnersESPN+
YouTube
Websiteuslleagueone.com
Current: 2022 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 2022, the league has 11 teams who play 30 regular season games, followed by playoffs.

History

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, and the second division as USL First Division.[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 lower requirements than 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. From April 26 to May 3, 2017, league vice president Steven Short toured the southeast region of the United States, stopping in the cities of Lexington, Kentucky, Knoxville, Tennessee, Asheville, North Carolina, Greenville, South Carolina, and Columbia, South Carolina.[5] After the closing of the tour, the league announced a possible plan for Tormenta FC, a Premier Development League team from Georgia, to join the league.[6] A few weeks later, league executives announced they would be visiting the Midwest area in the United States between May 22 and 26, stopping in Dayton, Ohio, Toledo, Ohio, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Lansing, Michigan, and Grand Rapids, Michigan.[7] After the original tour concluded, Vice President Short visited Des Moines, Iowa to meet with the Des Moines Menace of the Premier Development League to join the league.[8] Preceding the tour of the Midwest, Short visited two more cities in North Carolina: High Point and Fayetteville. Following the tour, Short announced potential plans to build a new multi-purpose stadium in High Point and had positive outlooks on potentially sharing a J. P. Riddle Stadium with the Fayetteville SwampDogs, or the ballpark for the Fayetteville Woodpeckers that ultimately opened in 2019 as Segra Stadium.[9]

The unveiling of the first founding member, South Georgia Tormenta FC, took place on January 25, 2018.[10] This was followed by FC Tucson on February 6,[11][12] Greenville Triumph SC on March 13,[13][14] and Madison, Wisconsin on May 17.[15] Toronto FC II of the USL was announced on July 2,[16] and Chattanooga, Tennessee was announced on August 1.[17]

On August 22, 2018, Rochester Stadium Operations, LLC announced that the Rochester Rhinos will be stepping down from the USL Championship and joining League One in 2020.[18] On September 11, 2018, the league announced that Richmond Kickers would also be dropping down from Championship to League One due to financial difficulties competing in the higher league.[19] On October 8, 2018, Penn FC, another long-time USL member, announced they would follow Rochester in stepping down to League One in 2020.[20] On October 10, the Lansing City Council unanimously approved a deal for the new Lansing Ignite FC team to begin USL League One play at Cooley Law School Stadium in the inaugural 2019 season.[21] 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.[22][23] On December 14, 2018, USSF voted to provisionally sanction League One as a Division 3 league for 2019.[24][non-primary source needed][better source needed] The league currently shares Division III status with MLS Next Pro and the National Independent Soccer Association.[25]

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.[26][27]

On May 1, 2019, an Omaha, Nebraska team to start play in 2020 was unveiled.[28] 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.[29] 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.[30]

On June 21, 2021, Major League Soccer announced the creation of a new professional soccer league, MLS Next Pro, which began play in 2022.[31] Fort Lauderdale CF, New England Revolution II, North Texas SC and Toronto FC II joined MLS Next Pro after the 2021 season.[32] Including Orlando City B which last competed in League One in 2020.[32] Central Valley Fuego FC, Charlotte Independence and Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC began play in 2022.[33][34][35]

Teams

The league will have 11 teams participating in the 2022 season.[22]

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 Jimmy Obleda
Forward Madison FC Madison, Wisconsin Breese Stevens Field 5,000 2018 2019 United States Matt Glaeser
Greenville Triumph SC Greenville, South Carolina Legacy Early College Field 4,000 2018 2019 United States John Harkes
North Carolina FC Cary, North Carolina WakeMed Soccer Park 10,000 2006 2021 United States John Bradford
Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC Windsor, Colorado Jackson Stadium 1,860 2021 2022 Libya Éamon Zayed
Union Omaha Papillion, Nebraska Werner Park 9,023 2019 2020 United States Jay Mims
Richmond Kickers Richmond, Virginia City Stadium 22,611 1993 2019 United States Darren Sawatzky
South Georgia Tormenta FC Statesboro, Georgia Optim Health System Field 3,500 2015 2019 Scotland Ian Cameron
FC Tucson Tucson, Arizona Kino North Stadium 3,200 2010 2019 United States Jon Pearlman

Future teams

Team City Stadium Capacity Founded Joining Head coach
Planned expansion teams
Lexington SC Lexington, Kentucky Bell Soccer Complex 3,370 2021 2023 vacant
USL1 Spokane Spokane, Washington Downtown Spokane Stadium 5,000 2021 2023 vacant
Santa Barbara Sky FC Santa Barbara, California La Playa Stadium 10,000 2022 2024 vacant

Location map

Former teams

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[32]
Lansing Ignite FC Lansing, Michigan Cooley Law School Stadium 7,527 2019 2019 Chicago Fire FC Folded[30]
New England Revolution II Foxborough, Massachusetts Gillette Stadium 20,000 2020 2021 New England Revolution Moved to MLS Next Pro[32]
North Texas SC Arlington, Texas Choctaw Stadium 48,114 2019 2021 FC Dallas Moved to MLS Next Pro[32]
Orlando City B Kissimmee, Florida Osceola County Stadium 5,400 2019 2020 Orlando City SC Moved to MLS Next Pro[32]
Toronto FC II Toronto, Ontario BMO Training Ground 1,000 2019 2021 Toronto FC Moved to MLS Next Pro[32]

Timeline

Santa Barbara Sky FCUSL1 SpokaneLexington Pro SoccerFort Wayne FCNorthern 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

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

USL League One Finals

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[36] Union Omaha Legacy Early College Field 0 N/A
2021 Union Omaha 3–0 Greenville Triumph SC Werner Park 5,221 Damià Viader (OMA)

See also

References

  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. ^ "Tormenta FC to explore USL DIII possibilities". USL D3. May 5, 2017. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
  7. ^ "USL DIII Expansion Tour Visits Midwest". USL D3. May 22, 2017. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
  8. ^ "Homonoff: Menace 'Evaluating' USL's DIII". USL D3. June 16, 2017. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
  9. ^ "Short Shares Thoughts on North Carolina Visits". August 8, 2017. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  10. ^ "Tormenta FC joins USL Division III for 2019". January 25, 2018. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  11. ^ "FC Tucson Leads USL Division III'S West Coast Expansion". United Soccer League (USL). February 6, 2018.
  12. ^ "FC Tucson moves to USL Division III, becomes professional team". Arizona Daily Star. February 6, 2018.
  13. ^ "USL Division III Welcomes Greenville as Founding Member". United Soccer League (USL). February 6, 2018.
  14. ^ "Greenville's Pro Soccer Team To Be Called Greenville Triumph Soccer Club". Greenville Triumph Soccer Club. August 9, 2018.
  15. ^ Staff, USL DIII (May 17, 2018). "Madison Unveiled as Fourth USL Division III Founding Member". USL Championship.
  16. ^ Staff, USL DIII (July 2, 2018). "USL Division III Names Toronto FC II as Founding Member". USL League One.
  17. ^ Staff, USL DIII (August 1, 2018). "Chattanooga Welcomed as Newest USL Division III Founding Member". USL League One.
  18. ^ "Rochester Approved for USL Division III" (Press release). Rochester Rhinos. August 22, 2018.
  19. ^ "Kickers Named a USL Division III Founding Member". usld3.com. United Soccer Leagues. September 11, 2018. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  20. ^ "Penn FC to join USL League One in 2020" (Press release). October 8, 2018.
  21. ^ Couch, Graham (October 10, 2018). "Pro soccer in downtown Lansing gets go-ahead from City Council". Lansing State Journal. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  22. ^ a b "USL Division III Files Sanctioning Paperwork to U.S. Soccer". United Soccer League (USL). August 14, 2018.
  23. ^ "USL Division III submits sanctioning request to U.S. Soccer with 10 teams". Paul Kennedy. SoccerAmerica. August 14, 2018.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ Kivlehan, Chris (February 17, 2019). "Breaking: NISA Sanctioned By USSF, To Start In August". Midfield Press. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  26. ^ "Gameday Report: March 29, Week 1". USL League One. March 29, 2019.
  27. ^ "Tormenta takes down Greenville". Mike Anthony. March 30, 2019.
  28. ^ "Omaha Unveiled as USL League One's Newest Club". May 1, 2019.
  29. ^ USLLeagueOne.com Staff (October 9, 2019). "Inter Miami FC, New England Revolution Launch League One Clubs". USL League One. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  30. ^ a b "Lansing Ignite FC Ceases Operations". USLLeagueOne.com. USL League One. October 21, 2019. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
  31. ^ Bonagura, Kyle (June 21, 2021). "Major League Soccer to launch development league in 2022". ESPN. Retrieved September 15, 2022.
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ "United Soccer League Welcomes Central Valley Fuego Futbol Club to League One". uslleagueone.com. USL League One. December 8, 2020. Retrieved September 15, 2022.
  34. ^ "Charlotte Independence to Compete in USL League One Starting in 2022". uslleagueone.com. USL League One. December 2, 2021. Retrieved September 15, 2022.
  35. ^ "United Soccer League Welcomes Northern Colorado FC to League One". uslleagueone.com. USL League One. January 12, 2021. Retrieved September 15, 2022.
  36. ^ "USL League One Final Cancelled, Greenville Named 2020 Title-Winners". USLLeagueOne.com Staff. October 29, 2020. Retrieved October 29, 2020.