WHAT IS IT?
The United Soccer League (USL) is the world’s largest Division II professional soccer league, with 30 markets in 20 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces for the 2017 season. In total, the USL reaches a population of 75 million people, fueling the growth of professional soccer across North America.
A growing league, the USL has more than doubled in size since 2014, with the Ottawa Fury FC, Reno 1868 FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies scheduled to debut in 2017. Nashville SC is the first club set to join the league for 2018.
The league’s footprint is national but its schedule is highlighted by a regional approach designed to build rivalries. The USL’s 30 teams are divided into two conferences – Eastern and Western – with each team set to play 32 games over 30 weeks during the 2017 regular season. WFC2 play in the Western Conference against:
- Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
- LA Galaxy II
- OKC Energy FC
- Orange County Blues FC
- Phoenix Rising FC
- Portland Timbers 2
- Real Monarchs SLC
- Reno 1868 FC
- Rio Grande Valley FC
- Sacramento Republic FC
- San Antonio FC
- Seattle Sounders FC 2
- Swope Park Rangers KC
- Tulsa Roughnecks FC
In 2013, USL began a groundbreaking, multi-year partnership with MLS - allowing top tier clubs to field a second team in the second division, similar to Spain's Segunda Division and Germany's 2. Bundesliga.
Today, 10 MLS clubs field their own USL teams, with the remainder of MLS clubs having official affiliations with USL clubs.
USL, which debuted in 2011, was formed as a result of the United Soccer Leagues’ merger of the old First and Second Divisions. Though it is still a relatively new league, Whitecaps FC have a long history in the United Soccer Leagues – the organization that owns and operates USL and other leagues such as the PDL and W-League.
Prior to joining MLS in 2011, the ‘Caps spent a total of 11 seasons in the USL (between the USL A-League and USL First Division), winning league championships in 2006 and 2008. They also previously operated a U-23 PDL team and a W-League side.
- Four players from WFC2 have already earned first team contracts with Whitecaps FC in MLS: Alphonso Davies, Brett Levis, Kyle Greig, and Spencer Richey
- WFC2 feature the future stars of Whitecaps FC, including:
- Players on loan from the MLS roster
- Players signed to USL contracts
- Players from the Residency program
- USL allows teams to carry as many as five non-signed Academy (aka Residency) players on their roster