United Soccer League
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United Soccer League

United Soccer League
Founded1986; 32 years ago (1986)

United Soccer League (USL) 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 and Super-20 League. It is directly affiliated with the United States Soccer Federation, the United States Adult Soccer Association and the Canadian Soccer Association. The USL is headquartered in Tampa.[1]


Year by year

  • 1986 Established as Southwest Indoor Soccer League
  • 1989 Added an outdoor league known as the Southwest Outdoor Soccer League. This was soon changed to Southwest Independent Soccer League which included both the indoor and outdoor leagues.
  • 1990 Renamed Sunbelt Independent Soccer League
  • 1991 Renamed United States Interregional Soccer League
  • 1995 Renamed United States International Soccer League
  • 1995 Renamed United Systems of Independent Soccer Leagues and formally established professional Pro League and amateur Amateur Premier League
  • 1995 The USL W-League women's semi-pro league is launched.
  • 1996 Established Select League 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 merged to form A-League under the USISL umbrella.
  • 1999 Umbrella USISL changed its name to the modern 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.[2][3] United Soccer League was a division in the temporary USSF Division 2 league.[4]
  • 2010 USL announced the formation of USL Pro, which merged the USL First Division and USL Second Division.[5]
  • 2011 Inaugural season of USL Pro.
  • 2011 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.
  • 2013 The W-20 League is launched, a youth league that is operationally aligned with the USL W-League.[6]
  • 2015 USL Pro renamed United Soccer League
  • 2015 USL W-League and W-20 League cease operations.[7]
  • 2017 USL is granted Provisional Division II status by U.S. Soccer.[8]
  • 2017 USL creates USL Division III league and files for Division III status with U.S. Soccer.
  • 2018 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


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.[9] 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."[10]

Complete historical team list




Indoor seasons

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.

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.

Season Winner Final score Runner-up Season Winner Final score Runner-up Season Winner Final score Runner-up
1989 Colorado Comets 3-1 Addison Arrows
1990 Colorado Comets
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
  Pro League (Division III) Premier League (semi-pro)
Division II 1995 Professional Long Island Rough Riders 2-1 Minnesota Thunder 1995 Premier Richmond Kickers 3-1 Cocoa Expos
1996 Select California Jaguars 2-1 (SO) Richmond Kickers 1996 Professional Charleston Battery 3-2 (SO) Charlotte Eagles 1996 Premier Central Coast Roadrunners 2-1 San Francisco Bay Seals
1997 A-League Milwaukee Rampage 1-1 (3-0) Carolina Dynamo 1997 D-3 Pro Albuquerque Geckos 4-1 Charlotte Eagles 1997 PDSL Central Coast Roadrunners 2-1 Cocoa Expos
1998 A-League Rochester Raging Rhinos 3-1 Minnesota Thunder 1998 D-3 Pro Chicago Stingers 3-2 (OT) New Hampshire Phantoms 1998 PDSL San Gabriel Valley Highlanders 3-2 Jackson Chargers
1999 A-League Minnesota Thunder 2-1 Rochester Raging Rhinos 1999 D-3 Pro Western Mass Pioneers 2-1 South Jersey Barons 1999 PDL Chicago Sockers 3-1 Spokane Shadow
2000 A-League Rochester Raging Rhinos 3-1 Minnesota Thunder 2000 D-3 Pro Charlotte Eagles 5-0 New Jersey Stallions 2000 PDL Chicago Sockers 1-0 Mid-Michigan Bucks
2001 A-League Rochester Raging Rhinos 2-0 Hershey Wildcats 2001 D-3 Pro Utah Blitzz 1-0 Greenville Lions 2001 PDL Westchester Flames 3-1 Calgary Storm
2002 A-League Milwaukee Rampage 2-1 (OT) Richmond Kickers 2002 D-3 Pro Long Island Rough Riders 2-1 Wilmington Hammerheads 2002 PDL Cape Cod Crusaders 2-1 Boulder Rapids Reserves
2003 A-League Charleston Battery 3-0 Minnesota Thunder 2003 Pro Soccer Wilmington Hammerheads 2-1 (OT) Westchester Flames 2003 PDL Cape Cod Crusaders 2-0 Chicago Fire Reserves
2004 A-League Montreal Impact 2-0 Seattle Sounders 2004 Pro Soccer Utah Blitzz 2-2 (5-4 PK) Charlotte Eagles 2004 PDL Central Florida Kraze 1-0 Boulder Rapids Reserves
2005 First Division Seattle Sounders 1-1 (4-3 PK) Richmond Kickers 2005 Second Division Charlotte Eagles 2-2 (5-4 PK) Western Mass Pioneers 2005 PDL Des Moines Menace 0-0 (6-5 PK) El Paso Patriots
2006 First Division Vancouver Whitecaps 3-0 Rochester Raging Rhinos 2006 Second Division Richmond Kickers 2-1 Charlotte Eagles 2006 PDL Michigan Bucks 2-1 Laredo Heat
2007 First Division Seattle Sounders 4-0 Atlanta Silverbacks 2007 Second Division Harrisburg City Islanders 1-1 (8-7 PK) Richmond Kickers 2007 PDL Laredo Heat 0-0 (4-3 PK) Michigan Bucks
2008 First Division Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 Puerto Rico Islanders 2008 Second Division Cleveland City Stars 2-1 Charlotte Eagles 2008 PDL Thunder Bay Chill 1-1 (4-1 PK) Laredo Heat
2009 First Division Montreal Impact 3-2; 3-1 Vancouver Whitecaps 2009 Second Division Richmond Kickers 3-1 Charlotte Eagles 2009 PDL Ventura County Fusion 2-1 Chicago Fire Premier
2010 D2 Pro League Puerto Rico Islanders 2-0; 1-1 Carolina RailHawks 2010 Second Division Charleston Battery 2-1 Richmond Kickers 2010 PDL Portland Timbers U23s 4-1 Thunder Bay Chill

Outdoor seasons 2011-present

W-League seasons 1995-2015

Season Winner Final score Runner-up
1995 W-League Long Island Lady Riders 3-0 Southern California Nitemares
1996 W-League Maryland Pride 3-0 Dallas Lightning
1997 W-League Long Island Lady Riders 2-1 (OT) Chicago Cobras
1998 W-League W-1 Raleigh Wings 4-3 Boston Renegades
1998 W-League W-2 Fort Collins Force 3-1 Hampton Roads Piranhas
1999 W-League W-1 Raleigh Wings 3-2 (OT) Chicago Cobras
1999 W-League W-2 North Texas FC 5-1 Springfield Sirens
2000 W-League W-1 Chicago Cobras 1-1 (4-2 PSO) Raleigh Wings
2000 W-League W-2 Springfield Sirens 2-1 Charlotte Lady Eagles
2001 W-League W-1 Boston Renegades 5-1 Vancouver Whitecaps Women
2001 W-League W-2 Charlotte Lady Eagles 3-1 Memphis Mercury
2002 W-League Boston Renegades 3-0 Charlotte Lady Eagles
2003 W-League Hampton Roads Piranhas 1-0 Chicago Cobras
2004 W-League Vancouver Whitecaps Women 0-0 (4-2 PSO) New Jersey Wildcats
2005 W-League New Jersey Wildcats 3-0 Ottawa Fury Women
2006 W-League Vancouver Whitecaps Women 3-0 Ottawa Fury Women
2007 W-League Washington Freedom 3-1 Atlanta Silverbacks Women
2008 W-League Pali Blues 2-1 F.C. Indiana
2009 W-League Pali Blues 2-1 Washington Freedom Reserves
2010 W-League Buffalo Flash 3-1 Vancouver Whitecaps Women
2011 W-League Atlanta Silverbacks Women 6-1 Ottawa Fury Women
2012 W-League Ottawa Fury Women 1-1 (4-3 PSO) Pali Blues
2013 W-League Pali Blues 1-0 Laval Comets
2014 W-League Los Angeles Blues 6-1 Washington Spirit Reserves
2015 W-League Washington Spirit Reserves 2-1 Colorado Pride
The W-League ceased operations after the 2015 season.


  1. ^ "About". www.uslsoccer.com. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ "USL outcasts set to launch new league in 2010". Soccerbyives.net. November 10, 2009. Retrieved 2011.
  3. ^ Molinaro, John F. (November 10, 2009). "CBC Sports: Whitecaps, Impact to form breakaway league". Cbc.ca. Retrieved 2011.
  4. ^ "US Soccer Federation To Oversee Combined NASL/USL League". Goal.com. January 7, 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  5. ^ "USL Restructures Professional Division". www.uslsoccer.com. September 8, 2010. Archived from the original on October 11, 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  6. ^ "W-20 League Set for 2013 Debut". www.uslsoccer.com. April 4, 2013. Archived from the original on April 9, 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  7. ^ "W-League Statement". United Soccer Leagues (USL). November 7, 2015. Archived from the original on November 19, 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  8. ^ "U.S. Soccer Board of Directors Grants Provisional Division II Status to NASL and USL". U.S. Soccer. January 6, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  9. ^ "Indoor Soccer Comes to City Warriors Feature "Cream of Crop' Players". December 22, 1986. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ "earlyyears". www.unm.edu. Retrieved 2017.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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