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USL changes name, logo ahead of 2015 season

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By AARON CRANFORD

Just like soccer in America, the popularity of USL is “rising” faster than ever, and they have introduced a new look to accompany their rising fanbase and number of competing clubs.

In an announcement made Tuesday morning, USL will follow in the footsteps of MLS and introduce a new look to accompany all of their new expansion sides. The league will now be officially known as USL instead of USL Pro, and like the new MLS logo, the new look offers fans and teams the opportunity to personalize the colors and geometric patterns inside the USL logo.

“The USL is a very different league now from the inception of USL Pro five years ago,” USL said in their announcement. “The experience and quality of our clubs, our players and coaches, our front office executives and ownership groups has consistently increased each year.”

“Putting the right structure in place and creating a sustainable economic model has enabled the league to create a solid foundation from which to drive forward in line with the explosive growth of our sport in North America.”

The 2015 campaign is set to see the league introduce 13 new teams, seven of which will be directly run by MLS clubs. The influx of clubs has seen the league divide into two separate divisions for a 28 game regular season.

“Last season, USL clubs fielded 134 current and former MLS players, and since 2012, 19 USL-grown players have signed for MLS clubs,” the league announced on their website.

“We are also proud to note that four MLS loan players with USL experience in 2014 were selected for the January 2015 U.S. Men’s National Team camp (Steve Birnbaum, Jon Kempin, Oscar Sorto, Gyasi Zardes).”

USL also noted in their announcement that they intend to apply for division two status from U.S. Soccer. Currently the North American Soccer League is the only league with division two status.

The USL is set to kickoff the season on March 21st as Toronto FC II takes on the Charleston Battery while reigning champions Sacramento Republic FC take on Seattle Sounders 2.

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What do you think of the new look and name? Are you excited about the USL Pro’s announcement?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Comments

  1. Nice try but no. If the USL were to ever merge with MLS the players would become part of the MLS players union. The union’s job is to prevent wage exploitation.

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  2. I am the Lord Thy Don.

    My goal is to crush NASL and have USL as the sub-MLS so that I will own all the player contracts, keep salaries artifically low and keep my bosses happy.

    I am Lord!

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  3. I like it. it’s a unique take on a leagues logo. You’ll get used to it and in a year.

    Pleased quit whining unless you’re actually gonna attend/watch these games.

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  4. For the USL or NASL to grow they need to be on TV. The contracts may not makes as much as the MLS but they are being exposed to more markets. Seeing as NBC just lost MLS it may be an option.

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  5. I can’t believe uslpro is being brain wash by MLS and MLS doesn’t want to start an MLS2 of their own.
    So this means MLS is a selfish league that doesn’t want to grow soccer and will never have free agency.
    It would be awesome if MLS had a D2 but having a D2 with reserve teams, makes no sense.

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    • Actually, I think MLS’s affiliation with USL was so if the are forced into a pseudo- free agency while maintaining the single-entity under the new CBA they would maintain absolute control over players.

      For example, MLS sets a threshhold in the end of 4 years in the league and you can’t make more than 200% or less than 75% of what you currently make, but you can go to which ever team wants you. If multiple teams are willing to pay 200% of your current salary, it goes to allocation order. A pseudo free agency with escalations caps. The players’ union think they win.

      The increase in the cap and structural change will be used for new, higher-quality, incoming players, not the current veterans.

      MLS plans on using the USL to dump veteran players qualified for free agency that are no longer desirable because of new players to play along the likes of developing young talent. They are stuck until playing out their contract.

      MLS was one step ahead when they approved the reentry draft; the players’ union thought they had won. They will be one step ahead again…

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  6. I must be the only person who sees USL & MLS partnership also benefitting NASL. As player develops MLS & USL cannot pay nor hold onto everyone, especially quality players who can not get minutes in MLS. What are these players making after a few years on an MLS/USL contract? Can NASL make a slightly better offer?

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    • In short, the answer is yes. NASL players make what bench players make in MLS. USL players tend to make less then your average USL player.

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      • “USL players tend to make less then your average USL player.”

        I’d think that on average, they would make as much as the average player.

        The point is that the US is a huge country and should be able to support several leagues…but, if you look at other sports (i.e., NFL), consolidation might be the eventual outcome.

  7. Well-played by USL. Years ago, they chose to go to the 3rd tier because they didn’t fit the criteria established by USSF. USSF bent the rules to make NASL the second tier.

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  8. i support the growth of soccer in the USA, but the USL management has shown time and again that they are a bunch of petty-minded weasels. their goal is to put NASL out of business. that’s not gonna help soccer in this country…

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      • You mean the same rules the rest of the world plays by? Yeah, those are the ones NASL use.

        I am a big fan of MLS, specifically the Dynamo, but I am also a fan of the NASL, specifically the Scorpions.

  9. This is what lobbyists refer to as “client capture” and what advocates who counter that call “regulatory capture” in government. Like when a cable telecom lobbyist or exec gets a spot on the FCC or another board meant to regulate their industry. It’s the fox guarding the hen house. It’s cynical and corrupting. This is basically what MLS “operators” (owners) and Garber are doing to USSF and the soccer pyramid. Can’t do it based on your own merits? Don’t like a competing model? Then take control of the regulatory agency – in this case USSF – and engineer the system, corner the market. US soccer is a banana republic backwater.

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  10. MLS basically owning D2 and conspiring with USL to choke off a competing structure is bad for US soccer. We don’t need an artificial MLS D2. If we had a strong federation this sort of thing would not happen. Teams would be promoted on their merits, not a mythological marketing hypothesis or robber Barron style boardroom manuevering. MLS structure is not something that we need at all levels of US soccer. It’s perpetual mediocrity for D1 and the USMNT if so. It’s less autonomy for the national team manager. It’s more arbitrary restrictions on players. But given that the federation is weak, Gulati appears spineless, and the likes of Garber and Paulson are on the USSF board I expect this to happen.

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  11. Getting past the logo—the addition of St. Louis to the USL means that I can regularly see whether this is a league for players and coaches moving up or moving down. I am anxious to see whether it’s quick, skillful soccer or just college play for older guys, hoof it and run! Fingers crossed!

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  12. I honestly don’t like these “stupid” initiatives to customize the logo to make it team specific.

    I thought, and still think it’s tacky for the MLS, I don’t see how it good marketing….but now this, this is horrible. Who’s approving these ideas, and where are they coming from.

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    • Yeah, I don’t get it either. The new MLS logo IS SO BAD!!. I actually like the old logo when they would present it in Black/White. It looked clean.

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    • No. NASL has better attendance and quality of play than the USL. It is good that we have three distinct tiers of fully professional soccer now in this country; MLS, NASL, USL…

      We can only hope that the three can work more closely together instead of NASL acting like an outsider, and MLS and USL treating them like it as well. It is better for American soccer that they all work together.

      I truly believe the NASL is the perfect counterpoint to the rigidly structured single-entity system of MLS. USL is an excellent training and proving ground for young talent that isn’t quite ready.

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      • We will see how USL attendance does this year, after adding some teams in some strong markets. However I sill tell you this, the NASL not partnering with MLS, will hurt themlong term. When it comes to the quality of play, I’m sorry, but just by adding MLS reserves sides, USL Pro has a better league.

        Nor is the NASL a “perfect counterpoint to the rigidly structured single-entity system of MLS”, when you here from insiders how poor the clubs are doing financially. USL will make for a better second division & I look forward to seeing them continue to grow.

      • I AM an insider, and there are as many NASL clubs that are profitable as MLS clubs. Granted the margins are smaller, but roughly about half break even or make a profit, and half don’t.

        Regarding the rest of your statement… We will agree to disagree. This season across all three leagues will be a telling test.

      • “There are as many NASL clubs that are profitable as MLS clubs”. Which is so false, I had to slap myself, just to see if I was dreaming.

      • Agreed with above. Commonly – on this site and others – you’ll see an outpouring for a single table/ relegation & promotion. At this point in our emerging soccer culture – the easiest way for this to happen is if all three entities are under a single entity (i.e. the FA in England). If all three join forces, then relegation and promotion is – at least – something that could happen realistically.

        Wouldn’t it be great if NYRB is in the bottom three and the Cosmos are promoted? Or if the Fire go down and the 11 go up? Regional rivalries, and state-side soccer, would only be enhanced.

      • Yeah it’d just be great to go to potential owners and say “How about you invest $100 Million so your investment will turn into a $2 Million dollar asset next year.

        Hey, thanks for losing dozens of millions of dollars through the year, now we’d like to reduce the value of your assets in this league.

      • None of the Euro fanboys in America seems to understand this. In Europe, thousands of teams sprouted up when money was less involved in the sport. Having a bunch of teams starting at the beginning of a journey it is easy to say lets make multiple levels and have promotion and relegation. Especially when higher and lower levels are more about prestige than money. In America we developed one league and placed it at the top of the pyramid artificially. And a lot of money was involved in doing so . You aren’t going to convince owners to risk losing all they put in. And why should they? If not for these risk takers we might not even have a soccer loving country.

      • Ha! That’s what I thought. I really wish NASL would merge back with USL, although I know that will never happen. I just have a hard time seeing how NASL will stay viable in 5 years from now. Not that their markets or teams are bad. It just feels like they are being left behind by MLS and USL.

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