USL League One

Last updated

USL League One
USL League One vert dark logo.svg
Organizing body United Soccer League
FoundedApril 2, 2017;7 years ago (2017-04-02)
First season 2019
CountryUnited States
Confederation CONCACAF
(North American Football Union)
Number of teams12
Level on pyramid 3
Domestic cup(s) U.S. Open Cup
League cup(s) USL Cup
Current champion(s) North Carolina FC (2023)
Current regular
season title
Union Omaha (2023)
Most championships Greenville Triumph SC
North Carolina FC
North Texas SC
Union Omaha
South Georgia Tormenta FC
(1 title each)
Most regular
season titles
Union Omaha (2 titles)
Top goalscorer Emiliano Terzaghi (55)
TV partners
Website OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Current: 2024 USL League One season

USL League One (USL1) is a professional men's soccer league in the United States that had its inaugural season in 2019. The Division III league is operated by United Soccer League, the same group that operates the Division II USL Championship and other leagues. As of 2023, the league has 12 teams who play 32 regular season games, followed by playoffs.



The USL Championship was granted second division sanctioning by the United States Soccer Federation in January 2017, leaving the third tier of American soccer unoccupied. From 1996 to 2009, the United Soccer League operated leagues at the lower divisions under various names, including the USL Second Division in the third tier. [1] On April 2, 2017, the USL announced that it would launch a new third division league in 2019, with a minimum of eight clubs and relaxed requirements compared to the second division USL. [2] [3] The new league had the temporary name USL Division III (USL D3). [2] The league announced that they would target cities with a population of 150,000 to one million, mostly in cities currently without a professional team. [4]

In the following months, the league began searching for cities and markets in which to locate new member teams. A tour of prospective cities in the southeastern United States was conducted by the league's vice president from April to May 2017, [5] followed by a visit to North Carolina and a similar tour of the Midwest in late May. [6] [7] After the closing of the southeastern tour, the league announced a possible plan for Tormenta FC, a Premier Development League team from Georgia, to join the league. [8]

The unveiling of the first founding member, South Georgia Tormenta FC, took place on January 25, 2018. [9] This was followed by FC Tucson on February 6, [10] [11] Greenville Triumph SC on March 13, [12] [13] and Madison, Wisconsin on May 17. [14] Toronto FC II of the USL was announced on July 2, [15] and Chattanooga, Tennessee was announced on August 1. [16] Three USL Championship teams, Penn FC, the Rochester Rhinos and the Richmond Kickers, also announced plans to move to League One by 2020 due to financial difficulties. [17] [18] [19] On October 2, 2018, the tenth and final founding member was revealed to be the reserve team of FC Dallas. Four days later, the club unveiled its branding as North Texas SC.

The league filed for Division III status with the USSF on August 14, 2018. Ten founding teams were listed in the application. [20] [21] On December 14, 2018, USSF voted to provisionally sanction League One as a Division 3 league for 2019. [22] [ non-primary source needed ][ better source needed ] The league currently shares Division III status with MLS Next Pro and the National Independent Soccer Association. [23]

The first League One game was played on March 29, 2019, when Tormenta FC defeated Greenville Triumph SC 1–0 before a crowd of 3,519 at Eagle Field in Erk Russell Park. Alex Morrell scored the first goal in the 72nd minute. [24] [25] At the end of the season, Lansing Ignite FC folded. [26]

For the 2020 season, Union Omaha joined the league. [27] Additionally, the New England Revolution and Inter Miami CF placed reserve teams in the league, bringing the total number of teams to 12. [28]

On June 21, 2021, Major League Soccer announced the creation of a new professional soccer league, MLS Next Pro, which began play in 2022 and would host all of MLS's reserve teams along with some independent teams. [29] Fort Lauderdale CF, New England Revolution II, North Texas SC and Toronto FC II all joined MLS Next Pro after the 2021 League One season. [30] Former League One side Orlando City B joined MLS Next Pro for the inaugural 2022 season following a hiatus that began after the club completed the 2020 League One season. [30] Rochester New York FC, formerly known as Rochester Rhinos, announced on December 5, 2021, that the club would be joining MLS Next Pro as its first independent club. [31] Rochester had announced in 2018 their intentions to join League One for the 2020 season, though stadium delays and other financial issues kept the club on hiatus for four years. [32] [33] On October 5, 2021, the USL announced it had awarded Lexington Pro Soccer an expansion team for the 2023 season. It would be League One's first club based in Kentucky. [34] The club's identity was revealed as Lexington Sporting Club on March 22, 2022. [35]

Central Valley Fuego FC, Charlotte Independence and Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC began play in 2022. [36] [37] [38] On June 3, 2022, USL announced that they had granted a group based out of Wilmington, North Carolina the exclusive rights to pursue a League One expansion team for the area with the goal of joining in 2024. Wilmington had been the home of long time USL club Wilmington Hammerheads FC, who played in various USL leagues from 1996 until 2017. [39] On July 12, 2022, USL announced that a newly formed club, Santa Barbara Sky FC, would be joining League One for the 2024 season. [40] It would be the league's second club in California, joining Central Valley Fuego. Following the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, FC Tucson announced a self-relegation back to USL League Two. [41] Shortly after FC Tucson announced their self-relegation, One Knoxville SC announced they would turn professional and join League One for 2023, following a successful debut season that saw them reach the USL League Two conference finals. [42] On December 8, 2022, it was announced that USL League Two club Lane United FC acquired exclusive rights to pursue a League One franchise in Lane County, Oregon. [43]


The league has 12 teams participating in the 2024 season. [20]

TeamCityStadiumCapacityFoundedJoinedHead coach
Current teams
Central Valley Fuego FC Fresno, California Fresno State Soccer Stadium1,00020202022 Flag of the United States.svg Jermaine Jones
Charlotte Independence Charlotte, North Carolina American Legion Memorial Stadium 10,50020142022 Flag of the United States.svg Mike Jeffries
Chattanooga Red Wolves SC East Ridge, Tennessee CHI Memorial Stadium 5,50020182019 Flag of England.svg Scott Mackenzie
Forward Madison FC Madison, Wisconsin Breese Stevens Field 5,00020182019 Flag of the United States.svg Matt Glaeser
Greenville Triumph SC Greenville, South Carolina Paladin Stadium 16,00020182019 Flag of Bermuda.svg Rick Wright
Lexington SC Lexington, Kentucky [lower-alpha 1] Toyota Stadium 5,00020212023 Flag of England.svg Darren Powell
Lexington SC Stadium7,500
Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC Windsor, Colorado 4Rivers Equipment Stadium 2,50020212022 Flag of Libya.svg Éamon Zayed
One Knoxville SC Knoxville, Tennessee Regal Stadium 3,00020212023 Flag of Scotland.svg Mark McKeever
Union Omaha Papillion, Nebraska Werner Park 9,02320192020 Flag of England.svg Dominic Casciato
Richmond Kickers Richmond, Virginia City Stadium 6,00019932019 Flag of the United States.svg Darren Sawatzky
Spokane Velocity FC Spokane, Washington ONE Spokane Stadium 5,10020212024 Flag of England.svg Leigh Veidman
South Georgia Tormenta FC Statesboro, Georgia Tormenta Stadium 5,30020152019 Flag of Scotland.svg Ian Cameron
  1. Team based in Lexington, but is playing 2024 home games in nearby Georgetown, Kentucky until their permanent stadium is completed.

Future clubs

TeamCityStadiumCapacityFoundedJoiningHead coach
Planned expansion teams
Santa Barbara Sky FC Santa Barbara, California La Playa Stadium 10,00020222025vacant
Texoma FC [44] Sherman, Texas Historic Bearcat Stadium6,50020232025vacant
USL Antelope Valley [45] Lancaster, California Lancaster Municipal Stadium 5,30020232025vacant
USL Eugene [46] Eugene, Oregon Civic Park Stadium3,50020242025vacant
USL Naples [47] Naples, Florida Paradise Coast Sports Complex Stadium5,00020242025vacant
USL Portland [48] Portland, Maine Fitzpatrick Stadium 6,00020232025vacant

Location map

Former teams

ClubCityStadiumCapacityJoinedFinal seasonFateRef.
Fort Lauderdale CF Fort Lauderdale, Florida DRV PNK Stadium 18,00020202021Moved to MLS Next Pro [30]
Lansing Ignite FC Lansing, Michigan Cooley Law School Stadium 7,52720192019Folded [26]
New England Revolution II Foxborough, Massachusetts Gillette Stadium 20,00020202021Moved to MLS Next Pro [30]
North Carolina FC Cary, North Carolina WakeMed Soccer Park 10,00020212023Moved to USL Championship [49]
North Texas SC Arlington, Texas Choctaw Stadium 48,11420192021Moved to MLS Next Pro [30]
Orlando City B Kissimmee, Florida Osceola County Stadium 5,40020192020Moved to MLS Next Pro [30]
Toronto FC II Toronto, Ontario BMO Training Ground 1,00020192021Moved to MLS Next Pro [30]
FC Tucson Tucson, Arizona Kino North Stadium 3,20020192022Moved to USL League Two [50]


Texoma FCSanta Barbara Sky FCSpokane VelocityOne Knoxville SCLexington SCNorthern Colorado Hailstorm FCCharlotte IndependenceCentral Valley Fuego FCNorth Carolina FCUnion OmahaNew England Revolution IIFort Lauderdale CFFC TucsonToronto FC IITormenta FCRichmond KickersOrlando City BNorth Texas SCLansing Ignite FCGreenville Triumph SCForward Madison FCChattanooga Red Wolves SCUSL League One


Teams that no longer participate in USL League One are in italics.

SeasonPlayoff championsPlayers' Shield [lower-alpha 1]
2019 North Texas SC North Texas SC
2020 Greenville Triumph SC [lower-alpha 2] Greenville Triumph SC
2021 Union Omaha Union Omaha
2022 South Georgia Tormenta FC Richmond Kickers
2023 North Carolina FC Union Omaha
  1. Known as "Regular season champions" from 2019 to 2022
  2. The 2020 Final was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Greenville was awarded the championship based on points per game.

USL League One Finals

2019 North Texas SC 1–0 Greenville Triumph SC Toyota Stadium 3,245 Arturo Rodríguez (NTX)
2020 Greenville Triumph SC Cancelled [51] Union Omaha Legacy Early College Field N/AN/A
2021 Union Omaha 3–0 Greenville Triumph SC Werner Park 5,221 Damià Viader (OMA)
2022 South Georgia Tormenta FC 2–1 Chattanooga Red Wolves SC Optim Sports Medicine Field 3,045 Kazaiah Sterling (TRM)
2023 North Carolina FC 1–1 (5–4 PK) Charlotte Independence WakeMed Soccer Park 4,487 Raheem Somersall (NCA)

See also

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