September 27 – The United Soccer League (USL), the fast growing organiser of the second and third tiers of US professional football, has unveiled a new organisational structure and corporate rebranding of its top three leagues. The rejig also brings its PDL development league more identifiably under the USL corporate imprint.
“We are bringing three leagues under one central brand that will uniquely represent the USL’s vision for the future and give rise to local passion in new cities currently without professional soccer. The new brand and logos are inspiring and convey a new direction,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis.
“The USL will now be modelled after a tried and respected international structure. One central brand, three leagues: theUSL Championship – the pinnacle of competition; USL League One – the foundation of professional soccer; and, USL League Two – the Path to Pro.
“We are repositioning the competition under MLS with a new strategy, new names and logos.”
The new branding will come into play for the 2019 season and brings a much stronger continuity to the USL’s structure as well as clearer direction as the league aligns all its assets.
The renaming sees the second tier USL become the USL Championship, while the new third tier competition will be called USL League. Perhaps the biggest change within the USL’s structure is the renaming of the successful PDL (Professional Development League). The PDL is a development league for top U-23 and collegiate players and has grown to 74 teams across four conferences playing a shorter May to August season around college term schedules.
The PDL will now be identified much closer with the USL structure being renamed USL League Two. There is no promotion or relegation between any of the leagues whose clubs are all franchise-based in terms of their membership.
“The USL has spent the past eight years transforming our league to meet the evolving needs of our team owners, players, coaches, fans and partners. We have established our place in the U.S. soccer landscape while blazing the trail for professional soccer’s future by introducing a new third division, completing the nation’s professional soccer structure,” said Papadakis.
And there is no lack of ambition. “As we look to the future, the USL is ready to put its fingerprints on U.S. Soccer’s drive toward becoming the best in the world, and its pursuit of winning a FIFA Men’s World Cup,” Papadakis concluded.
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