From Reckless Challenge:
United Soccer Leagues (USL) just concluded their Annual General Meetings in Clearwater Beach, FL this week. Usually, the biggest news to come out of the AGM is the general format of the schedules. Well, Reckless Challenge has learned those details, but that news will be delayed in favor of news that could change the landscape of soccer in America. Multiple sources have confirmed that USL PRO plans to submit an application to USSF for Division 2 status in 2017.
It’s long been speculated that USL PRO would try to achieve D2 status in the future. The nascent partnership with MLS made it seem inevitable. Reports coming out the USL AGM now make it a certainty.
What is less certain is whether or not the league will meet the requirements to make the leap from D3 to D2. The current rules governing division recognition were rewritten this year. A presentation at the USL AGM demonstrated that the league could satisfy about 85% of the current requirements with the clubs, ownership groups, and facilities in place today. One of the shortfalls that USL PRO would have to overcome is the net-worth of a few ownership groups.
Reckless Challenge, however, has also learned that the criteria for being sanctioned are likely to change by 2017. It remains to be seen whether the changes will enhance or diminish the chances of USL PRO to be officially recognized as a D2 professional league.
This would be huge news for American soccer if USL Pro achieved second tier status. Currently the NASL is the second tier so if USL PRO achieves second tier status then it would be interesting to see what happens to the NASL. There’s still a long way to go before the becomes a possible reality but if it does then the American soccer landscape could enter some turmoil. If USL PRO gets granted second tier status then there’s no doubt that the NASL will challenge that ruling and the lengthy legal battle that would follow could greatly hurt American soccer. The fact that MLS and USL PRO have such a strong partnership will also raise some eyebrows since NASL is technically a competitor to MLS while MLS and USL PRO have a symbiotic relationship. This is something to keep an eye on in the next few years because the possible repercussions are enormous.