With more growth on the horizon, the United Soccer League (USL) is looking at a move from a two-conference configuration to a three-conference arrangement either in 2018 0r 2019.
The league now sits at 30 teams, and with at least three new teams (Las Vegas, Fresno and Nashville) scheduled to join the Division II circuit in 2018, it would be a good time to divide into three conferences. While scheduling wouldn’t necessarily be simplified, the move would cut down on travel and help foster some rivalries that had lapsed in the past few years. East and West conferences would be joined by a Central Conference with the likes of OKC Energy, St. Louis FC, Tulsa Roughnecks, FC Cincinnati and Louisville City, though it doesn’t sound like any final decisions are on the table. From NewsOK:
“We’ve been working toward a three-conference structure,” USL commissioner Jake Edwards said. “We are going through that process right now with our competition committee to decide whether or not 2018 is viable to jump into an East-West-Central conference structure or whether it makes sense to do that in 2019.
“We will have a couple of new markets coming into the league in 2019 that will I think make a three-conference model a certainty. We are looking at whether we do it in ’18, but I know we will definitely have it in ’19.”…
“A Central Conference would bring in a greater diversity of brands from different markets,” Energy co-owner Bob Funk Jr. said. “It makes sense having the conference. It minimizes travel, which allows us to divest more into the clubs and player development spending.”
There are some challenges, mostly relating to the postseason and how you handle. wild-card system.
Image courtesy OKC Energy.