Good news for the Phoenix Rising FC today as the United Soccer League was granted provisional Division II status by the United States Soccer Federation. Unlike much of the world the US soccer system does not use the system of promotion and relegation. Instead, the USSF oversees a league system and is responsible for sanctioning professional leagues.
With 7 more teams than Major League Soccer, the United Soccer League is the largest professional soccer league in the United States and Canada, and the world with 29 teams in 19 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces. The USL more than doubled in size since 2014 and earlier this year submitted their application for entry into Division II.
“The USL is honored to receive U.S. Soccer Federation Division 2 status, which provides further validation about our League’s financial sustainability, national footprint, ownership quality, stadium infrastructure and player development,” Alec Papadakis, the USL Chief Executive Officer, said. “Our teams have invested more than $100 million into stadium development in the last year to enhance the experience for the 1.5 million passionate fans that attended games in 2016, the 1,000-plus players and nearly 100 coaches that have positioned our League as a highly sophisticated competition model that cultivates strong regional rivalries.”
Phoenix soccer fans will benefit from the league’s investment as the Phoenix Rising FC gets ready to open the 2017 season with a new name, a new stadium location and now a pathway to a new division of competition.
Provisional status will give the league a clear path to full Division II status. U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said today. “U.S. Soccer will create an internal working group that will work with the league to set a pathway to meet the full requirements for Division II and allow for the larger goal of creating a sustainable future. We look forward to another productive year for professional soccer in this country.”
Phoenix Rising FC is in the Western Conference of the USL and will be kicking off the season in late March, 2017.