US Soccer Leagues and Competitions Explained
The United States of America’s soccer leagues work differently from those of other countries. Soccer only really became a big-league sport in the early nineties. America is much better known for its American football, basketball, and baseball leagues.
US soccer leagues are divided into three main categories: men’s, women’s, and indoor soccer. The US teams and leagues do not make use of a system of promotion and relegation. The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) governs soccer leagues in the country. The United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) regulates amateur soccer teams.
There are three major divisions in the men’s soccer leagues. The first division is Major League Soccer (MLS) that involves 27 teams. The league was founded in 1993. The second division is the USL Championship that was founded in 2010 and involves 31 teams. The third division consists of USL League One and the National Independent Soccer Association.
Women’s soccer leagues in the US had a rough start. The Women’s United Soccer Association started in 2001 but was suspended two years later. Then the Women’s Professional Soccer league started up in 2009 but was closed two years later because of owner disputes. The National Women’s Soccer League is currently the Level 1 league.
For a team to participate in a league, there are many requirements. Leagues must consist of a specific number of teams. The US-based teams are required to participate in all US events. There are also requirements for owner net worth, team financial viability, location, stadiums, staff, and lease periods.
US soccer teams take part in various local and international competitions. Some of these include Major League Soccer, CONCACAF Champions League, USL Championship, and the United States Open Cup. Internationally, US teams take part in the different UEFA and FIFA competitions as well as other selected European and international events.
Soccer has gained popularity in the last two decades in the Unites States. It will be exciting to see how the sport grows in the coming years. Keep coming back for a front-row seat on all the developments.