The United Soccer League announced a new structure and brand identity for its top three leagues ahead of the 2019 season: USL Championship, USL League One, and USL League Two.
The Premier Development League, the elite pre-professional tier of soccer in North America and the established developmental platform for Under-23 and collegiate players, will be known as the USL League Two beginning next year.
“Unifying the United Soccer League under one identity and creating a new structure only strengthens the commitment by US Soccer to improve the game in this country,” Rough Riders general manager Pedro Suarez said. “As a member of the new USL League Two, the Long Island Rough Riders are looking forward to the 2019 and beyond.”
The Rough Riders, the official USL League Two affiliate of New York City FC, finished the 2018 season – the last of the PDL – at 10-5-1 overall and 9-4-1 in league play. Long Island also advanced to the second round of the 2018 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, losing to Louisville City FC.
USL League Two has been the gateway to the professional ranks in the U.S., providing more than 70 percent of players selected in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft over the past eight years. Former Rough Riders defender Andre Morrison was selected in the third round by Toronto FC in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft.
“Today’s announcement comes at the dawn of an exciting new era for our sport,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “The USL has spent the past eight years transforming our league to meet the evolving needs of our team owners, players, coaches, fans, and partners. We have established our place in the U.S. soccer landscape while blazing the trail for professional soccer’s future by introducing a new third division, completing the nation’s professional soccer structure.”
Stay tuned for more information about the inaugural season of USL League Two.
BY: Michael LoRé