English football is finally coming to the United States…sort of? In a brand new unveiling the United States’ oldest soccer league, the USL, is officially rebranding. Starting in 2019 the USL will now be one central brand with three leagues underneath that brand á la the English Football League. There will now be the USL Championship, USL League One, and USL League Two.
What is currently the sole second-division league in US Soccer, the USL, will become the Championship. The USL’s newest project, “USL D3,” will instead be the USL League One, and the current “USL Premier Development League (USL PDL)” will also maintain its function while changing names to the USL League Two. See their promo video for all this here:
Obviously, it goes without saying that the Championship is the highest level of USL and so on and so forth. The thing that still strikes me, however, is there hasn’t been an official word on whether or not this restructuring done by the USL incorporates promotion/relegation in its plans. Promotion and relegation is something that has been hotly debated in American soccer for what seems like forever now. I think that the USL should definitely take a leap of faith. We’re the only country in the world that doesn’t have promotion and relegation and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’re far behind other countries when it comes to soccer. What’s the point of having leagues that are superior to others if teams in the bottom leagues can never reach the top ones? Of course, some clubs will have more money than others, better infrastructure, better players, etc. but isn’t that the magic of things like the FA cup? Where, for 90 minutes, 22 players, whether someone gets paid 60,000 a week or someone who earlier in the day had a plumbing job, are allowed to be equals out on the pitch. That’s the beauty of soccer, where teams like Liverpool have to travel to teams like Mansfield Town who are six divisions below them. The USL has made a good first step in rebranding, but it’s time to take the extra step forward.
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