USL League

The New USL Season Kicks Off

The 2021 season for USL has just kicked off. I never paid that much attention to the non-MLS teams except for the Open Cup. I was based in Northwest Indiana for over 20 years and followed the Chicago Fire. Lower league teams were pretty much a novelty and not on my radar at all. When I moved to South Carolina I was happy to see that Greenville had the freshly minted Greenville Triumph of USL League One, with John Harkes as their manager.

John Harkes and the Greenville Triumph Peaked My Interest in USL

Harkes was a legendary United States men’s team player from 1987 to 2000. He played in England with Sheffield Wednesday, Derby County, and had loan spells with West Ham United, and Nottingham Forest. John finished his play career with The New England Revolution, and the Columbus Crew. He also managed FC Cincinnati when they were in USL. So this got my attention. USL is not an English Sunday pub league, they might have something worth checking out. I had listened to Harkes on SiriusXM when he co-hosted Counter Attack on weekday afternoons.

I went to the Triumph’s first home game against the Lansing Ignite in 2019. They won 2:1 in an exciting game with a sold-out stadium at Legacy Early College. I followed the Triumph on ESPN+ but I want to find out more about USL, USL Championship, USL League One, and USL League Two. Are they just development leagues for MLS or can they stand on their own two feet?

What Teams and Cities Are in USL?

USL Championship

Atlantic Division

  • Charleston Battery
  • Charlotte Independence
  • Hartford Athletic
  • Loudoun United FC
  • Miami FC
  • New York Red Bulls II
  • Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
  • Tampa Bay Rowdies

Central Division

  • Atlanta United 2
  • Birmingham Legion FC
  • Indy Eleven
  • Loudoun United FC
  • Louisville City FC
  • Memphis 901 FC
  • Oklahoma City Energy FC
  • Sporting Kansas City II
  • FC Tulsa

Mountain Division

  • Austin Bold FC
  • Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
  • El Paso Locomotive FC
  • New Mexico United
  • Real Monarchs
  • Rio Grande Valley FC
  • San Antonio FC

Pacific Division

  • LA Galaxy II
  • Las Vegas Lights FC
  • Oakland Roots SC
  • Orange County SC
  • Phoenix Rising FC
  • Sacramento Republic FC
  • San Diego Loyal SC
  • Tacoma Defiance

Expansion Teams

  • Monterey Bay FC
  • Queensboro FC

Future Teams

  • USLC Rhode Island[
  • USLC Buffalo
  • USLC Des Moines

USL League One

  • Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
  • FC Tucson
  • Fort Lauderdale CF
  • Forward Madison FC
  • Greenville Triumph SC
  • New England Revolution II
  • North Carolina FC
  • North Texas SC
  • Richmond Kickers
  • South Georgia Tormenta FC
  • Toronto FC II
  • Union Omaha

Expansion Teams

  • Central Valley Fuego FC
  • Northern Colorado FC

USL League Two

The USL League Two, formerly the Premier Development League (PDL) is an amateur developmental soccer league sponsored by United Soccer Leagues in the United States and Canada. It has a lot of teams, over 80 in total. They are spread across four conferences, Eastern, Central, Southern, and Western. Each conference has three divisions. USL League Two would be considered the fourth tier of the American soccer pyramid.

ESPN+, and SiriusXM will both feature games from the USL Championship and League One throughout the season. SiriusXM has also launched a new weekly show called USL-All Access hosted by Mike Watts, and Devon Kerr.