Report: USL to vote on adopting promotion, relegation system

Jul 13, 2023, 2:00 PM

A general view of USL Championship signage during the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup quarterfinal game betw...

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A monumental vote is set to take place in the near future regarding the USL bringing promotion and relegation to the competition.

A report from The Athletic Tuesday revealed the United Soccer League’s plans to discuss future plans for the association. One of those plans would be to implement a promotion/relegation system for the various divisions. While no specifics have been released at this time, the vote will take place at the USL’s board of governors meetings Aug. 9-10 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Sources also stated that the vote was optimistic to be passed, but it isn’t a certainty at this time.

The Athletic’s Tom Bogert and Jeff Rueter were first with the report.

From The Athletic:

The vote will not be on a specific and finalized framework for promotion and relegation, the sources said. Rather, the topic up for a vote will confirm whether ownership at the leagues’ clubs has enough collective interest to merit further work toward implementing an open system among the USL’s professional competitions.

Bogaert, a senior writer covering Major League Soccer, also included statements from USL owners about their thoughts on the potentially-new system.

“If you somehow think continuing on our current trajectory will make us competitive and where we all want to be, you’re fooling yourself,” one USL owner said. “The reality is MLS will destroy USL long-term (on our current trajectory). But if USL successfully adopts pro/rel and can get division one sanctioning (for the top level), it’ll be transformed.”

“Promotion/relegation is truly one of the best constructs in pro sports, full stop,” said another owner. “I believe that it would take USL to a completely new level.”

The USL Players Association also released a statement on the looming vote, giving their vote of confidence for implementing a new system across the three tiers of USL soccer.

“Promotion/relegation is an original and inherent part of the professional soccer framework around the world, but given the different economic foundation and infrastructure of American professional sports leagues, implementing a promotion/relegation system in a rational manner in the U.S. has presented a conundrum…Given that it is an ecosystem with multiple leagues and divisions, the USL is positioned to make history and introduce promotion/relegation to North American professional soccer. That said, there are many issues yet to be navigated and negotiated and we look forward to having the league approach and engage the USL Players Association in meaningful discussions.”

Sacramento Republic FC currently compete in the highest level of the competition, the USL Championship. The Indomitable Club are currently tied for first place in the western conference standings at 34 points.

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