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USL’s Justin Papadakis on pro/rel, women’s league & calendar changes

Editor’s note: Amidst a period of extensive growth for USL, we sat down to interview USL’s Justin Papadakis, the COO and Chief Real Estate Officer for the league, to talk expansion, stadiums, competition, promotion and relegation, and more as the league looks towards the future. After announcing new expansion teams recently and the success of USL in the US Open Cup, we had plenty to discuss.

USL on the rise: A quick catch-up

The United Soccer League (USL) has experienced perhaps the most dramatic evolution of any soccer entity in the United States over the past decade and a half. The league has its origins way back in the mid-1980s, but after several decades of finding its way in the often tumultuous world of lower division soccer in North America, the organization hit its stride in the 2010s.

After the friction of the 2008/09 mutiny and eventual exodus of teams to the North American Soccer League, USL circled the wagons in 2011, merged its second and third division leagues into one D3 league, and carried on. After early challenges that saw the league at it’s lowest with just 11 pro clubs in 2012, there has been an incredible amount of growth in the league. The USL Championship re-gained it’s second division status in 2017, and by year’s end saw what was effectively the demise of the NASL. After bringing several of that league’s surviving clubs into the fold, as well as addition more expansion sides each year, the Championship now counts its membership at 27 clubs, with 5 more announced and on the way.

Meanwhile USL launched League One, a third division pro league, in 2019, which now features 11 clubs of its own with another 3 announced. The amateur women’s W League re-launched in 2022 with 44 sides, and the new USL Super League is set to debut in Fall 2023 as the first women’s pro division 2 league in the USA.

USL Expansion and Growth

World Soccer Talk (WST): Is there a “final” or ideal number of teams USL is targeting for the Championship and…

Source link : https://worldsoccertalk.com/2022/09/23/usl-on-the-rise-an-interview-with-usl-justin-papadakis/

Author : Derek Reese

Publish date : 2022-09-23 15:30:28

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