USL FOR DUMMIES

As we continue our journey into pro soccer here at The Five Star Show, it’s time to give a beginners guide to the league in which our team plays. Nashville SC enters season two of the USL. What is the USL? Is it on TV? Let’s answer these questions.

WHAT IS USL AND USL CHAMPIONSHIP?

The United Soccer League is the largest professional soccer organization in North America. The USL consists of USL Championship, USL League 1, and USL League 2. USL Championship is the USL’s premier soccer league. Nashville SC is a member of USL Championship. USL Championship is sanctioned by the US Soccer Federation as a Division II soccer league. This designation places USL Championship just one step below Major League Soccer. via USL Soccer

Best I can understand, think of it like baseball. Nashville SC is a AAA team. League 1 would compare to Double-A. League 2 Single-A.

IS THE USL LEGIT?

Hell yeah! This organization has been around over 30 years. The USL Championship league has existed since 2011. USL-C has gone through a couple of name changes, but with the changes has come improvement in overall quality. USL-C was a Division III league until it’s promotion in 2016. 2013 saw an agreement reached between USL and MLS that allows for team affiliations, player loans, and more games to be played. The idea is to better develop players and strengthen the US Soccer “Pyramid”, as it’s known. MLS sits at the top of the pyramid. USL-C is the next level. And so on.

This season, the USL-C will consist of 36 teams! 18 in each conference. Nashville SC plays in the Eastern Conference. Side note… isn’t that nice?! As a fan of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and the NHL’s Nashville Predators, both of which play in its league’s Western Conference, it’s nice to see a professional sports league put Nashville/Tennessee where it belongs! Good job USL for looking at a map! via USL Championship Wikipedia

It seemed as though many prior professional soccer leagues tried to compete with MLS, or at least distance themselves from the league. Not USL. USL is MLS friendly. That’s a good thing for Nashville SC, and the growth of professional soccer in this country.

THE SEASON

The Regular Season began this past Saturday and runs through October 21st. Nashville SC began the year with a 2-0 victory over Loudoun United. Each team will play a total of 34 games this season.

IS IT ON TV?

YES! The USL has a national TV package with ESPN2/ESPNEWS for the National Game of the Week. via The Tennessean Nashville SC will host Tampa Bay on May 8th. This game will be broadcast on The Deuce. ESPNEWS has Nashville SC traveling to Alabama to take on Birmingham two weeks later. In addition to the ESPN Game of the Week, Nashville SC games can be seen on MyTV30 in the Nashville area.

PLAYOFFS?

2019 brings a new playoff format to the USL-C. via Nashville SC’s website the expansion to 36 teams has also expanded the playoffs. 20 teams, 10 from each conference will make the postseason. The playoffs begin at the end of October.

Last year, Nashville SC made the playoffs as an 8 seed. SC was eliminated in the first round of the United Soccer League playoffs. FC Cincinnati, the league’s best team during the regular season, advanced on penalty kicks, 6-5, after the teams went scoreless through regulation and got one goal apiece during the 30-minute overtime. via Nashville Post.

This should help us understand the league. Next week, we look to understand our team. It’s stars, strategies, coaches, and more!

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