August 15 – The new launch USL Division III will have at least 10 teams as founding members when it kicks off its inaugural season, according to sanctioning paperwork sent to the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF).
The USSF has to officially recognise the USSL’s third division as the country’s third tier of professional football, in the way that it recognises MLS ass the top tier and the USL as the second division, though there is no promotion or relegation between the franchise-member leagues.
So far the six teams announced publicly as holding franchises in USL D3 are South Georgia Tormenta FC, FC Tucson, Greenville Triumph SC, Madison Pro Soccer, Toronto FC II and Chattanooga Pro Soccer. The USL says the opther founding teams will be unveiled in the coming weeks.
USL CEO Alec Papadakis (pictured) said that the league has a target of 24 teams by 2021, the league’s third season, with discussions alreaady ongoing with ownership groups for the 2020 season.
“This is a landmark moment not only for the United Soccer League but also soccer as a whole in North America,” said Papadakis. “Over the past several years, alongside the effort to elevate the USL to Division II, we developed the plan to launch a new, competitive and exciting professional third-division league that would further the growth of soccer across the U.S. The new league is announcing teams in ten thriving markets that exhibit a proven demand for the professional game.”
At the core of each franchise discussion, says Papadakis, is the importance of a “proper stadium plays a major role in that experience. USL Division III features two clubs – South Georgia Tormenta FC and Greenville Triumph SC – building new soccer-specific stadiums, equating to more than $30 million in construction and design, and much more in local economic impact. The league also features clubs utilizing and renovating existing infrastructure to provide the best experience while revitalizing community assets.”
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