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USL Announces 2017 Conference Alignment

By Nicholas Murray, 01/09/17, 10:30AM PST


30 teams to play 32 games; Saint Louis FC transitions to Eastern Conference

TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League today announced its structure for the 2017 season, which will feature 30 teams playing an expanded 32-game schedule as the league continues in a two-conference alignment that began in 2015.

“The 2017 USL Season will feature enhanced competition due to the conference alignment,” said USL President Jake Edwards. “Building off the momentum of our Division II designation last week, we look forward to another exciting season of elite professional soccer across all our markets. Fans can expect thrilling action on the pitch as our clubs battle for the coveted USL Cup.” 

League newcomers the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Ottawa Fury FC will play in the USL’s Eastern Conference while expansion Reno 1868 FC will play in the Western Conference. Saint Louis FC will rejoin the Eastern Conference, and both the Eastern and Western Conferences will each have 15 teams.

The 2017 USL regular season schedule will see teams play 32 matches contested over 30 weeks, with the regular season starting on March 24-26 and concluding the weekend of October 13-15. Teams will play two games (one home, one away) against each of their conference rivals. The remaining four games will be played against regional rivals or cross-conference opponents. Teams will not face each other more than three times during the 2017 regular season.

The top eight teams in each conference will qualify for postseason play that will include Conference Quarterfinals (Oct. 20-22), Semifinals (Oct. 27-29) and Final (Nov. 3-5). The 2017 USL Cup Final will be played the weekend of November 10-12. The full 2017 USL schedule will be released in the coming weeks.

The conference alignment will be:

Western Conference

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

Tulsa Roughnecks FC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2


Eastern Conference

Bethlehem Steel FC

Charleston Battery

Charlotte Independence                                                     

FC Cincinnati

Harrisburg City Islanders

Louisville City FC

New York Red Bulls II

Orlando City B

Ottawa Fury FC

Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Richmond Kickers

Rochester Rhinos

Saint Louis FC

Tampa Bay Rowdies

Toronto FC II

The 2016 season saw the USL record a total attendance of almost 1.5 million for 29 teams, a 33 percent increase from 2015. The league has more than doubled in size since 2014 and has built a stable, highly-competitive professional soccer league positioned for long-term success. The USL enters the 2017 season with three new teams, and has announced Nashville SC as joining the league in 2018. Additional expansion announcements are expected in the near future.