By AVI CREDITOR
The United Soccer Leagues announced Wednesday that starting in 2011, USL-1 and USL-2 will merge to form a single league called USL PRO.
USL officials and team owners are meeting Wednesday in Tampa, Fla., to further discuss and outline the specifics for the new league, which will be made up of as many as four geographic regions and will be affiliated with the United States Soccer Federation.
USL media relations officer David Wagner confirmed to SBI that all of the current USL-2 teams will be in USL PRO. (UPDATE: Wagner has clarified the USL's position, saying that USL-2 teams have yet to officially confirm their participation in USL PRO)
At this point it is unclear as to which teams from the USSF Division 2 (USL-1, NASL) will be a part of the new league.
"At this time we're not sure. It's still an evaluation process with different clubs we're speaking to," Wagner said. "That part of it is still being decided."
USL PRO figures to focus on building up the regional dynamics of the league. According to a press release, "the league will focus on aggressive but deliberate growth by adding teams fully capable of meeting USL and USSF standards which are located in markets that further promote regional league play."
"After much analysis of the current landscape, we’ve chosen to combine our synergies into a single professional league that will operate within financial and competitive models that make sense,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. "The USL PRO business plan is the first below the MLS level to give team owners a realistic roadmap to profitability. We need to focus on the future health of soccer in North America, and the USL PRO model addresses many of the issues that have led to the instability of men’s professional soccer below the MLS level."
What do you think of this news? Excited for the prospects of the new league? Hope the NASL teams are included in the new model?
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