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Report: USL looking to expand in Baltimore and other markets

The rapid growth of the USL doesn’t seem to ending anytime soon.

According to the Washington Post, eight markets have submitted applications to join the USL by either 2019 or 2020 at the latest. Those markets include Las Vegas, Birmingham, Baltimore and Fresno. Nashville applied and has already earned a spot in the league for the 2018 season.

USL president Jake Edwards stated that if all the markets meet the requirements of the league, they will be allowed to join. USL stands at 30 teams now, so they could be pushing 40 by the end of this round of expansion.

Two of the more interesting names on this list are Baltimore and D.C. D.C. United are currently partnered with the Richmond Kickers in the USL, but they are looking into owning their own franchise in the second division, with northern Virginia being looked at as the location.

Baltimore is seen as one of the more likely sites on this list outside of Nashville by Edwards and the city has been in talks about getting a professional soccer team for the past few years now.

The Wilmington Hammerheads looked into relocating to Baltimore last summer before ultimately folding as a team. The Baltimore ownership group will look to avoid the failures of Crystal Palace Baltimore which folded in 2010. The team, affiliated with Crystal Palace FC played out of multiple different stadiums from their founding in 2006 to when they folded. They were unable to secure their own soccer specific stadium and were replaced by the Baltimore Bohemians, who play in the PDL.

Edwards will be meeting with the Baltimore ownership group in the next few weeks to discuss expansion and stadium sites in the next few weeks.

“It’s moving along nicely,” Edwards said. “I think it’s going to be a tremendous success in Baltimore.”


  1. One fact is for sure. Soccer is boooooming in the US.

    We all hope it isn’t a bubble.

  2. Let’s go Birmingham! I’d love to have a local team. Our minor league baseball team does very well here (leads their league in attendance) and nobody even likes baseball anymore, so I would bet there would be good support for a local team. Maybe we could be Atlanta’s 2nd division team.

    • Birmingham would be a good add. The South needs more teams and could be a good situation to link up with Atlanta United like the MiLB team in Tacoma just did with the Soudners and similar to the Dynamo/RCVFC setup.

  3. Mr. Booth, thanks a lot for your piece. Having been a season ticket holder and supporter from the before the inaugural season, I would like to just help share a bit of information about the history of Crystal Palace USA/Baltimore venues:

    The team never played at Towson University. The team started regular season play at the Navy-Marines Memorial Stadium (Naval Academy).

    Later the team played at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County(UMBC) Retriever Stadium.

    In the final season 2010, after the wheels had fallen off, the club played regular season matches in the USSF D2 League at UMBC, Maryland Soccer Plex and Calvert Hall High school (the latter two venues being over 60 miles apart)…

    Hopefully, the potential new franchise will be more stable.

  4. I grew up watching DC United and attending games but I always wanted a team in Baltimore. Also, Paul Angelo Russo Stadium is the stadium for a Catholic High School in Towson, not Towson University.


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