Top Stories

USL unveils Division 3 league to begin play in 2019

U.S. Soccer’s divisional structure continues to be a hot topic, and the USL is set to expand in a big way in 2019 with the introduction of a new league.

The USL announced on Tuesday that the league will launch a third-division professional league to begin play in 2019. The league will be a follow up on the USL’s current second-division structure, which currently features 30 teams.

The league is set to target markets with populations ranging from 50,000 to 1 million for potential expansion. Among the criteria involved for a potential new team is a strong local ownership group with a primary owner possessing a net worth of $10 million and a soccer-specific stadium with the ability to seat 3,500 spectators.

According to the USL, the new third-division league will benefit from the recently-launched USL Productions, a $10 million broadcast and content division recently launched by the league.

In January, both the USL and NASL were awarded provisional Division 2 status by U.S. Soccer.


  1. My question is: will any USL-D2 teams move back down to D3? Some teams, like Harrisburg, seem to fit better as D3 teams rather than D2 teams.

  2. The USL’s desire for a soccer specific stadium is laughable. HOpefully, that’s more of a “wish list” item. It must be. Because teams currently playing in the USL pro ranks are playing in non-soccer specific stadiums (just like the NASL).

    Heck, even NYCFC is playing in one and there are no signs that will be changing anytime soon…

    • I’d be interested in the details of that. It may be that they have to have a soccer specific stadium to USE but not own. Which would make sense and could take advantage of college stadiums and such. Either way, seating 3500 people is tiny and not an expensive stadium to build. Especially in smaller towns/cities they seem to be marketing. Land is probably cheaper in those areas too.

    • As I’m pretty sure that you’re aware and the piece states, The NASL currently has the same status as the USL.

      I also don’t see any need for it to merge or dissolve as long as the US federation continues to sanction it and the owners are able to continue to fund and operate it. Now, if one of those three things that is mentioned in so longer at play…

  3. Any info on whether or not they will incorporate some pro/rel into the fold? Could be interesting to start in the lower leagues and would also drive some more interest in those leagues.

    • I actually see this as the inevitable growth of futbol in this country. It’s a first, and necessary step to having a viable MNT that is consistently in the top 8 and seeded at the WC or better. After we have some success and growth at the Div. 3 level, then we can start adding a Div. 4. And when that league grows, we can add promotion and relegation. Take minor league baseball, for example. There are currently 224 teams spread from Single Season Rookie Leagues (A) all the way to three AAA leagues. The number peaked in 1949 at 438. Wouldn’t it be amazing if every small city had its own club or two?

      Based on 2015 statistics, there 220 cities between 100K and 249,999 in population; 452 between 50K and 99,999; and 720 between 25K and 499,999.

      This can happen. It might take 50 years but we could grow the sport to the point where there are at least 200 different minor league clubs. There wouldn’t necessarily be 10-15 divisions, but some of the leagues would be regional and at the same level, so they would promote at the regional level only.


Leave a Comment