The United Soccer League today announced the unification of its three leagues—USL, USL D-III, and the Premier Development League—under a new brand identity and structure. Starting before next season, the leagues will be known as the USL Championship, USL League One, and USL League Two.
The rebrand comes as the 2018 regular season enters its final stretch and as they still seek expansion franchises for their middle tier league, USL League One. The league has yet to be officially sanctioned as a Division III league in the U.S. Soccer pyramid, but have submitted the application to begin that process.
The leagues plan to roll out new websites and social media over the coming weeks and months as they unite under this new brand. One interesting note is that the league’s new structure is set up to eventually allow for a form of promotion/relegation to occur in the future. What the timetable is for that remains uncertain.
which is a necessary precursor to any implementation of a promotion and relegation system. That said, the new structure does lend itself well to some form of promotion and relegation in the future.— USL (@USL) September 25, 2018
The names of the league derive from England, where the English Football League recently did a similar rebrand to label the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th tiers of the English pyramid the EFL Championship, EFL League One, and EFL League Two. The Premier League, the top tier, is a separate league that operates independent from the EFL. USL sought a similar setup in its rebrand to bring its leagues under the same identity.
What does this mean for soccer in the United States? Well, an organized pyramid will help with stability in an era of expansion and finding new markets for professional soccer. This will only help more American players have an opportunity to play soccer and develop with the chance to be seen by teams in MLS or abroad. Youth development is a key focus nowadays, and if USL can create three stable tiers of the American soccer pyramid, that will be a huge boost to the development process.
Thoughts on the USL rebrand and what it means for American soccer? Hit the comments and let us know!