Last week, the U.S. Soccer Federation issued a new set of rules and regulations for professional leagues in the United States, with particular emphasis placed on the current USSF Division 2 that is the second tier of professional soccer in the United States.
The changes will have a significant impact on the direction of the league by placing new restrictions that will keep the USSF Division 2 from becoming dominated by non-U.S. teams and small market teams. The new guidelines also put an emphasis on financially stable owners, with an eye toward giving the league some much-needed stability.
The full report, detailed on Inside Minnesota Soccer, is a rather lengthy and strict set of rules put into place. Here's a look at some of the new standards:
- 75% of the teams must be U.S.-based, and play in markets with a population of at least 750,000.
- Stadiums must seat at least 5,000 people.
- The league must have U.S.-based teams in at least two different time zones in the first year, three by the sixth year.
- Principal team owners must have an individual net worth of $20 million.
- League must have at least eight teams in the first year, 10 in the third, and 12 by the third year.
- A $750,000 bond is required to cover operational costs every year.
Initial reaction from the current USSF D-2 has been mixed. With three teams set to depart for MLS play over the next two years — Portland, Vancouver and Montreal — it will likely make for another tumultuous offseason once the current season concludes.
What do you think about the new standards? Glad to see USSF cracking down? Think it's too harsh?
Share your thoughts below.