National Premier Soccer League

Last updated

National Premier Soccer League
National Premier Soccer League logo 2016.svg
Founded2003;18 years ago (2003)
CountryUnited States
Confederation U.S. Soccer
Divisions14 conferences in 4 regions
Number of teams92
Level on pyramid 4 (unofficial)
Domestic cup(s) U.S. Open Cup
Current champions Miami FC (2nd title)
Most championships Miami FC (2 titles)
TV partners Eleven Sports
Website NPSL website
Current: 2021 NPSL season

The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) is an American soccer league commonly recognized as being a fourth-tier league, although it has been given no official designation by U.S. Soccer. [1] [2] The NPSL is a semi-professional league, comprising some teams that have paid players and some that are entirely amateur. [2] Although the league is officially affiliated to the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) and qualifies for the U.S. Open Cup through USASA channels, it is generally considered to be the level of competition behind Major League Soccer (MLS) (Division I), the USL Championship (Division II), National Independent Soccer Association and USL League One (Division III), and equal with USL League Two (unofficial Division IV). [1] It is the successor of the Men's Premier Soccer League, a regional league originally based in the Western United States, which has now expanded nationwide to encompass teams from 29 states. The league's motto is "A National League with a Regional Focus".

Contents

Competition format

The National Premier Soccer League is divided into four separate regions (Northeast, South, Midwest, and West). Each region is divided into conferences with a varying number of teams per conference. The regular season runs from May to July with the exception of the West Region that has historically started in late March or early April. [3]

The NPSL currently has automatic berths in the U.S. Open Cup where they gain eligibility towards the CONCACAF Champions League.

NPSL logo 2005-2015 National Premier Soccer League logo.svg
NPSL logo 2005–2015

History

The National Premier Soccer League began in 2003 as the Men's Premier Soccer League (MPSL) initially as an offshoot of the Women's Premier Soccer League, and marked the first instance of a women's soccer league spawning a men's league. The league's first two champions were the Arizona Sahuaros, who had defected to the MPSL from the USL D-3 Pro League, and the Utah Salt Ratz.

The league expanded into the Midwest in 2005 with the addition of several new teams and a new conference, and changed its name to National Premier Soccer League to reflect its new national footprint; a team from the expansion conference – Detroit Arsenal – won the league in its first year after its eastward expansion. The NPSL expanded further in 2007 with the addition of a new Northeast Conference and five new teams from the eastern United States. The first team from the East to win the national NPSL title was the Pennsylvania Stoners in 2008. The league has since continued to expand, adding more teams throughout the entirety of the country.

Since its inception, the league has managed to place at least one team actively playing under its banner into U.S. Open Cup competition. Though the showing of the NPSL in US Open Cup play was typically only one or two teams in its first six years, the 2009 and 2010 cups have seen four and three, respectively, NPSL teams in each tournament. The recent success of the NPSL in USASA qualifying has encouraged a movement by which the league could have automatic berths in the final tournament. [4] The furthest a team from the NPSL has reached in the US Open Cup during the professional era (1997 and onward after the entry of MLS teams) has been the third round. However, the Brooklyn Italians have won the US Open Cup outright before the existence of either MLS or the NPSL.

Although no team has ever won the league twice, the Miami FC camp has won the championship twice as a club. Its reserve team (Miami FC 2) won the 2018 title, and its first team (Miami FC) won the 2019 championship.

Status

Officially the USSF does not recognize formal levels of the soccer pyramid below the professional 3rd tier. The USSF does not officially recognize distinctions between amateur soccer leagues in the United States. However, the USASA sanctions affiliated, but separately run, national leagues that are recognized in practical terms as playing at a higher level than the USASA state association leagues; for example, they receive automatic berths to the US Open Cup.

USL League Two takes place during the summer months, and the player pool is drawn mainly from NCAA college soccer players seeking to continue playing high-level soccer during their summer break, while still maintaining their college eligibility. The National Premier Soccer League is similar to USL League Two and also attracts top amateur talent from around the United States. NPSL does not have any age limits or restrictions, thus incorporating both college players and former professional players alike.

Organization

The NPSL is organized in a mostly decentralized structure and is managed as a team-run league. Each year the member clubs help elect a chairman, treasurer, and secretary and an eight-member board of directors. Each team is individually owned and operated, and is responsible for maintaining league minimum standards. New teams seeking membership into the NPSL are subject to approval from an executive committee of existing team owners. Member clubs have the right to make localized decisions for their respective markets, conferences, and regions based on what they believe is best for their particular region. Each conference is managed by the individual member clubs and elects a conference commission each year.

The current chairman is Kenny Farrell of the New Orleans Jesters. [5]

The costs to join the league as of 2016 are reported to be a one-time $15,000 franchise fee and a $5,250 annual league fee. [6] The low entry fee compared to USL League Two's of $75,000 has made the league an attractive alternative to teams looking to compete at the highest level of amateur play.

The league requires that all teams play in stadiums with at least 500 seats, a scoreboard, and locker rooms with showers for both teams and officials. The home team is also responsible for providing water and food for the visiting team, ensuring there is a trainer or doctor on-site for the match, and paying the referees fees at the end of each game.

Sponsorship and partnerships

Mitre Sports International provided the official ball for the NPSL starting in 2014. Global Scarves began providing custom soccer scarves throughout the league, and worked with the NPSL on various events and contests to increase awareness and fervor throughout the 2014 NPSL season. Renegade GK, hummel, MyCujoo, Passage, Carbon Athletics, GCG Sports, Activate Canopy, and HomeLight are all listed as current business partners (2021). [7]

Teams

Current teams

TeamCityStadiumFoundedFirst NPSL SeasonHead coach
East Region
North Atlantic Conference
Boston City FC Revere, Massachusetts Harry Della Russo Stadium20152016 Flag of Colombia.svg Cesar Deossa

Flag of Brazil.svg Roberto Mazzinghy

Greater Lowell Rough Diamonds [8] Tyngsborough, Massachusetts 2016 [9] 2017 Flag of the United States.svg Jacob Simonis
Hartford City FC Glastonbury, Connecticut Oakwood Soccer Park20152017 Flag of the United States.svg Nick Balistierri
Kingston Stockade FC Kingston, New York Dietz Stadium 20152016 Flag of the United States.svg Jamal Lis-Simmons
New York Shockers Albany, New York Afrim's Sports Park20212021 Flag of the United States.svg Matt Esposito
Valeo FC Newton, Massachusetts 20082020 Flag of the United States.svg Corlton Simmond
Keystone Conference
Atlantic City FC Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey Silver Eagle Stadium 20172018 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Kristian O'Leary
Electric City Shock SC Scranton, Pennsylvania Fitzpatrick Field 20132014 Flag of the United States.svg James Bell
First State FC Wilmington, Delaware Abessinio Stadium 20192020 Flag of Ghana.svg Chibsah Faisal
Hershey FC Hershey, Pennsylvania Hershey High School Stadium 20132013 Flag of the United States.svg Dustin Bixler
FC Monmouth Red Bank, New Jersey Count Basie Park20172018 Flag of the United States.svg Brian Woods
FC Motown Madison, New Jersey Ranger Stadium 20122013 Flag of the United States.svg Šaćir Hot
Torch FC Perkasie, Pennsylvania Pennridge High School Stadium 20102011 Flag of the United States.svg Daniel Byrd
West Chester United SC West Chester, Pennsylvania Ciccarone Field19762017 Flag of the United States.svg Blaise Santangelo
Mid-Atlantic Conference
FC Baltimore Christos Baltimore, Maryland CCBC Essex Stadium [10] 20172018 Flag of the United States.svg Larry Sancomb
FC Frederick Frederick, Maryland Thomas Athletic Field19862015 Flag of Scotland.svg Chris Spinks
Northern Virginia United FC Leesburg, Virginia Cropp Metcalfe Park at Evergreen Sportsplex 20182018 Flag of Scotland.svg Brian Welsh
Philadelphia Lone Star FC Philadelphia, Pennsylvania South Philadelphia Athletic Super Site20012012 Flag of Sierra Leone.svg Fatoma Turay
Virginia Beach City FC Norfolk, Virginia Powhatan Field20132014 Flag of the United States.svg vacant
Southeast Conference
Appalachian FC [11] Boone, North Carolina Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex20202021 Flag of the United States.svg Dale Parker
Georgia Revolution FC McDonough, Georgia Warhawk Stadium 20102011 Flag of England.svg Ricky Davey
Georgia Storm FC [12] Carrollton, Georgia Grisham Stadium 20202021 Flag of the United States.svg Joshua Bivens
LSA Athletico Lanier [13] Gainesville, Georgia Allen Creek Soccer Complex20202020
Metro Louisville FC [14] Louisville, Kentucky King Louie’s Sports Complex20202020
North Alabama SC [15] Huntsville, Alabama John Hunt Park20082020
South Region
Gulf Coast Conference
AFC Mobile Mobile, Alabama Archbishop Lipscomb Athletic Complex20152020 Flag of the United States.svg Steve Wieczorek
Florida Roots FC [16] Panama City, Florida Tommy Oliver Stadium 20182021
Jacksonville Armada U-23 Jacksonville, Florida Patton Park20102016 Flag of Croatia.svg Tommy Križanović
New Orleans Jesters New Orleans, Louisiana Pan American Stadium 20032013 Flag of Ireland.svg Kenny Farrell
Pensacola FC Pensacola, Florida Ashton Brosnaham Stadium20132020 Flag of Trinidad and Tobago.svg Dean Logan
Port City FC Gulfport, Mississippi Herbert Wilson Stadium20162020 Flag of the United States.svg Chris Handy
Southern States SC [17] Hattiesburg, Mississippi The Oakes Training Center20152021 Flag of England.svg Carl Reynolds
Tallahassee SC Tallahassee, Florida Gene Cox Stadium 20182020 Flag of the United States.svg Josh Bruno
Sunshine Conference
Boca Raton FC Boca Raton, Florida TBD20152017 Flag of the United States.svg Jim Rooney
Central Florida Panthers SC Winter Park, Florida Showalter Field 20192019 Flag of the United States.svg Tom Traxler
Miami Dutch Lions FC Olympia Heights, Florida Tropical Park Stadium 20192020
Miami United FC North Miami Beach, Florida North Miami Athletic Stadium20122013 Flag of Italy.svg Ferdinando De Matthaeis
Naples United FC Naples, Florida Fleischmann Park20172017Vicente Sandoval
Storm FC Lauderhill, Florida Central Broward Stadium 20132014
Heartland Conference
Arkansas Wolves FC [18] Little Rock, Arkansas Scott Field20182021
Dallas City FC McKinney, Texas McKinney Soccer Complex20132014 Flag of Turkey.svg Rahim Zafer
Demize NPSL Springfield, Missouri Cooper Stadium20142014 Flag of the United States.svg Chris Hanlon
Oklahoma City 1889 FC [19] Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Tom Thompson Field20172021 Flag of England.svg Adam Kay
Reign FK [20] Bartlesville, Oklahoma OKWU Soccer Complex20192021 Flag of the United States.svg Matt Mason
Tulsa Athletic [21] Tulsa, Oklahoma Veterans Park20132013 Flag of the United States.svg Joey Ryan
Lone Star Conference
FC Brownsville Brownsville, Texas Brownsville Sports Park20182018
Coyotes FC Temple, Texas Holy Trinity Catholic High School 20182020 Flag of Mexico.svg Ruben Galvan
Denton Diablos FC Denton, Texas G. Roland Vela Soccer Complex20182019 Flag of the United States.svg Chad Rakestraw
Fort Worth Vaqueros FC Fort Worth, Texas Farrington Field 20142014 Flag of England.svg Nick Stavrou
Irving FC [22] Mansfield, Texas RL Anderson Stadium20182021
Katy 1895 FC Katy, Texas 20172018
Laredo Heat SC Laredo, Texas Texas A&M International University Soccer Complex 20042018 Flag of the United States.svg John Powell
Midland-Odessa Sockers FC Midland, Texas Grande Communications Stadium 20092017 Flag of the United States.svg Dave Jacobs
Midwest Region
Rust Belt Conference
FC Buffalo Buffalo, New York All-High Stadium 20092010 Flag of the United States.svg Frank Butcher [23]
Cleveland SC Berea, Ohio George Finnie Stadium 20182018 Flag of England.svg Ryan Osborne
Erie Commodores FC Erie, Pennsylvania McConnell Family Stadium 20092009 Flag of Scotland.svg Dale White
Pittsburgh Hotspurs Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania The Ellis School 20192019 Flag of England.svg Tom Campbell
Rochester Lancers Rochester, New York Marina Auto Stadium 20152016 Flag of the United States.svg Doug Miller
Syracuse FC [24] Syracuse, New York David W. Murphy Field 20172017 Flag of the United States.svg Matt Tantalo
Great Lakes Conference
Carpathia FC Sterling Heights, Michigan Avondale High School 19522020 Flag of the United States.svg Joey Tinnion
FC Columbus Grandview Heights, Ohio Anderson Field 20182018 Flag of the United States.svg Flag of Jamaica.svg Maziya Chete
F.C. Indiana Lafayette, Indiana Legacy Sports Club20002015 Flag of Ecuador.svg Erik Castro
FC Milwaukee Torrent Wauwatosa, Wisconsin Hart Park 20152016 Flag of Argentina.svg Carlos Córdoba
Panathinaikos Chicago [25] Palatine, Illinois Harper College 20192021 Flag of Argentina.svg Trevor McGrann
North Conference
Dakota Fusion FC Fargo, North Dakota Jim Gotta Stadium20152017 Flag of the United States.svg Jon Melendez
Duluth FC Duluth, Minnesota Public Schools Stadium 20152017 Ulster Banner.svg Sean Morgan
Joy St. Louis Park [26] St. Louis Park, Minnesota St. Louis Park High School 20212021 Flag of the United States.svg Arinze Ezirike
La Crosse Aris FC La Crosse, Wisconsin Viterbo Athletic Complex20092009 Flag of Greece.svg Greg Saliaras
Med City FC Rochester, Minnesota Rochester Regional Sports Center 20162017 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Neil Cassidy
Minneapolis City SC Minneapolis, Minnesota Edor Nelson Field20152017 Flag of the United States.svg Matt vanBenschoten
Sioux Falls Thunder FC Sioux Falls, South Dakota 20162016
West Region
Golden Gate Conference
Academica SC [27] Turlock, California Academica Field19722018 Flag of Portugal.svg Sergio Sousa
Contra Costa FC [28] Walnut Creek, California 20152021 Flag of the United States.svg Christian Castillo
El Farolito SC [29] San Francisco, California Boxer Stadium 19852018 Flag of the United States.svg Santiago Lopez
FC Davis [30] Davis, California Playfields Sports Park20172018 Flag of the United States.svg Andrew Bailey
Napa Valley 1839 FC [31] Napa, California Dodd Stadium 20162017 Flag of England.svg Mark Corbett
Oakland Stompers Oakland, California 20092021
Sacramento Gold FC Sacramento, California Capital Christian Stadium20092010 Flag of Mexico.svg Ruben Mora Jr.
Sonoma County Sol Petaluma, California Lucchesi Park 20042005 Flag of the United States.svg Vinny Cortezzo
Northwest Conference
Crossfire Redmond [32] Bellevue, Washington Courter Field 20182019 Flag of England.svg Bernie James
International Portland Select FC Vancouver, Washington Kiggins Bowl20122014 Flag of Mexico.svg Sergio Medel
OSA Seattle FC Burien, Washington Highline High School 20152015 Flag of the United States.svg Juan Pablo Murillo
Spokane SC Shadow [33] Spokane, Washington Spokane Falls Community College 19962017 Flag of England.svg Dan Philp
Tacoma Stars Tacoma, Washington Washington Premier FC Fields20032020 Flag of the United States.svg Adam Becker
Southwest Conference
FC Arizona Gilbert, Arizona Campo Verde High School 20162017 Flag of England.svg Dave Rogers
A.S. Los Angeles [34] [35] Whittier, California Whittier College 20182019
ASC San Diego San Diego, California Mission Bay High School 20152016 Flag of the United States.svg Ziggy Korytoski
High Desert Elite FC [36] Adelanto, California Adelanto Stadium 20182019 Flag of Mexico.svg Claudio Rivas
Las Vegas Legends Las Vegas, Nevada Peter Johann Memorial Field [37] 20122020 Flag of Mexico.svg Juan Carlos García
Temecula FC Temecula, California Chaparral High School 20132014 Flag of the United States.svg Austin Levins

Expansion

YearNo. of
teams
Teams
added
Teams
departed
2003 6
2004 1051
2005 1374
2006 1850
2007 22128
2008 25129
2009 271210
2010 31128
2011 37137
2012 46135
2013 57209
2014 773111
2015 681221
2016 84237
2017 963018
2018 981816
2019 911119
2020 942219
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Locations of NPSL clubs for 2017. Blue = Northeast Region clubs, Yellow = South Region clubs, Green = Midwest Region clubs, Red = West Region clubs

Rivalries

Many NPSL teams have rivalries given the close geography of the teams throughout the league. The most notable rivalry was the Rust Belt Derby contested between Detroit City FC, AFC Cleveland, and FC Buffalo. The name refers to the teams' shared region, the Rust Belt. [38] Another intense rivalry existed between the San Diego Flash and San Diego Boca/Force FC, which were crosstown rivals in San Diego. Until the 2013 sale and rebranding of Force FC from Boca FC, the ownership groups of the two clubs were previously partners in the original San Diego Flash club of the A-League that competed from 1998 to 2001. [39]

Derby nameMost winsTitlesOther club(s)Recent winner
Cheese Barn Derby [40] Split2 (2018 [lower-alpha 1] , 2019) Cleveland SC, FC Columbus Split (2019) [lower-alpha 2]
Chisolm Trail Clásico [41] Fort Worth Vaqueros 1 (2019) Denton Diablos FC Fort Worth Vaqueros (2019)
Erie County Derby [42] Erie Commodores FC 7 (2009–14, 2018) FC Buffalo (5) FC Buffalo (2020)
Kildare's Cup [43] West Chester United SC 3 (2017–19) Philadelphia Lone Star FC West Chester United SC (2019)
Portland Derby [44] PDX FC 2 (2018, 2019) International Portland Select FC (1) PDX FC (2019)
Riverside Derby [45] Club Xolos USA U-23 4 (2015–18) Temecula FC (1) Temecula FC (2019)
Trinity River Cup [46] [lower-alpha 3] Dallas City FC 4 (2014–17) Fort Worth Vaqueros (1) Fort Worth Vaqueros (2019)
Wine Country Derby [47] Sonoma County Sol 2 (2017, 2018) Napa Valley 1839 FC (1) Napa Valley 1839 FC (2019)
The Wooden Shoe [48] Kingston Stockade FC 1 (2019) Hartford City FC Kingston Stockade FC (2019)
Former derbies
Everglades Cup [49] Miami United 2 (2013, 2014) Cape Coral Hurricanes Miami United (2014)
Gulf Coast Cup [50] Tampa Marauders 1 (2014) Cape Coral Hurricanes Tampa Marauders (2014)
Red River Cup [51] [lower-alpha 4] Tulsa Athletic 1 (2014) Fort Worth Vaqueros, Liverpool Warriors, Oklahoma City FC Tulsa Athletic (2014)
Louisiana Cup [53] New Orleans Jesters 1 (2016) Shreveport Rafters FC New Orleans Jesters (2016)
Rust Belt Derby Detroit City FC 4 (2013–16) AFC Cleveland (1), FC Buffalo Detroit City FC (2016)
San Diego Derby [54] [lower-alpha 5] San Diego Flash 3 (2011–13) Albion SC Pros (1), North County Battalion, San Diego Boca FC Albion SC Pros (2016)
I-40 Cup [55] Tied1 each (2016, 2017) Little Rock Rangers (1), Memphis City FC (1) Memphis City FC (2017)
Alameda County Derby [56] CD Aguiluchos USA 2 (2016, 2017) East Bay FC Stompers Split (2018) [lower-alpha 6]
Green Line Derby [57] Minneapolis City SC 2 (2017, 2018)Viejos son los Trapos FC (St Paul) Minneapolis City SC (2018)
I-91 Derby [58] Hartford City FC 2 (2017, 2018) Elm City Express Hartford City FC (2018)
Georgia Derby [59] [lower-alpha 7] [lower-alpha 8] Atlanta SC 6 (2014–19) Georgia Revolution FC (1) Atlanta SC (2019)
Volunteer Shield Chattanooga FC 5 (2014–16, 2018, 2019) Knoxville Force (1), Inter Nashville FC, Nashville FC, Memphis City FC Chattanooga FC (2019)
  1. Two game series ended 5–5, with both away teams winning 3–2
  2. Game ended 1–1 with no away goal tiebreaker in place
  3. Dallas City went on hiatus for the 2018 season, meaning no competition for the cup was held
  4. Event returned in 2020, but only with Tulas Athletic and UPSL side Deportivo Alacranes taking part [52]
  5. San Diego Boca folded after the 2013 season. The Flash did not take part in the 2016 season, meaning the derby was contested by the two new San Diego teams, Albion SC Pros and North County Battalion.
  6. Series ended tied 3–3 after two games
  7. 2012 series ended in tie, home team won respected leg 3–1
  8. Derby not played in 2013 as Atlanta went on hiatus

NPSL Members Cup

The NPSL Members Cup, originally called the NPSL Founders Cup, was a competition that ran from August to October 2019. It was initially intended to lead to a new professional league beginning play in the spring of 2020. [60] However, following the departure of numerous previously announced teams and issues in launching the professional league the tournament was altered.

Detroit City FC won the cup on October 16, 2019, when the team defeated Michigan Stars FC, 1–0, in the penultimate game of the tournament. [61] [62]

Records and champions

SeasonWinnerScoreRunner-up
2003 Arizona Sahuaros 2–1 ( a.e.t. ) Utah Salt Ratz
2004 Utah Salt Ratz 4–2 Arizona Sahuaros
2005 Detroit Arsenal 1–0 Sonoma County Sol
2006 Sacramento Knights 2–1 Princeton 56ers
2007 Southern California Fusion 1–0 Queen City FC
2008 Pennsylvania Stoners 3–0 Minnesota Twin Stars
2009 Sonoma County Sol 2–1 Erie Admirals SC
2010 Sacramento Gold 3–1 Chattanooga FC
2011 Jacksonville United 3–2 Hollywood United Hitmen
2012 FC Sonic 1–0 Chattanooga FC
2013 RVA Football Club 2–0 Sonoma County Sol
2014 New York Red Bulls U-23 3–1 Chattanooga FC
2015 New York Cosmos B 3–2 ( a.e.t. ) Chattanooga FC
2016 AFC Cleveland 4–2 Sonoma County Sol
2017 Elm City Express 5–0 Midland-Odessa FC
2018 Miami FC 2 3–1 FC Motown
2019 Miami FC 3–1 New York Cosmos B

Back-office

Executive committee [63]

NPSL board of directors [63]

NPSL leadership staff [63]

eSports

In April 2020, the NPSL launched a competitive gaming competition to promote the growth of the league in new areas. [65] The league hopes to "bring its community members together for friendly competition on a virtual pitch". The first nine clubs to formally join the new eSports league were Atlantic City FC, Central Florida Panthers SC, Denton Diablos FC, Duluth FC, Fort Worth Vaqueros, FC Milwaukee Torrent, Muskegon Risers, Gate City FC, and Ozark FC.

The league partnered with Virtual Pro Gaming to assist in operations of the league. Clubs will play full 11 v 11 in pro clubs mode, on FIFA, EA Sports video game. [66] [67]

Notes

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    Cleveland SC Football club

    Cleveland SC is an American amateur soccer club based in the Greater Cleveland, Ohio region. Cleveland competes in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) as part of the Midwest Region's Rust Belt Conference. The club was established on February 19, 2018, taking over from the recently defunct AFC Cleveland as the city's representative in the NPSL.

    The 2020 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup was planned to be the 107th edition of the U.S. Open Cup, a knockout cup competition in American soccer. Atlanta United FC were the defending champions after defeating Minnesota United FC in the 2019 final. The competition was suspended on March 13, 2020, before the first round fixtures, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and later canceled on August 17. Despite the tournament's cancelation, the spot for the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League was awarded to the defending champions, Atlanta United FC.

    Toledo Villa FC Soccer club in Round Rock, Texas

    Toledo Villa FC is a pre-professional soccer club in Toledo, Ohio competing in the Great Lakes Division in USL League Two. They previously played in the Premier League of America, United Premier Soccer League, and National Premier Soccer League.

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