Expansion is always fun to talk about and with the offseason coming up, chaos is sure to follow. We’ll keep track of new clubs, folding clubs, and even ones packing up and moving to other leagues from MLS, NASL, USL, PDL, NPSL, as well as the announced Canadian Premier League and National Independent Soccer Association.
Below you’ll find Additions and Departures broken down by league. Stay tuned as we’ll keep you updated.
Major League Soccer (+1)
- Los Angeles FC (Los Angeles, CA) - 1/7/16
North American Soccer League (+0)
United Soccer League (+6)
- Nashville SC (Nashville, TN) - 5/19/16
- Las Vegas Lights (Las Vegas, NV) - 7/19/17
- Fresno FC (Fresno, CA) - 7/26/17
- Atlanta United 2 (Lawrenceville, GA) - 11/14/17
- North Carolina FC (From NASL: Cary, NC) - 11/16/17
- Indy Eleven FC (From NASL: Indianapolis, IN: NASL) - 1/11/18
Premier Development League (+12)
- Birmingham Hammers (From NPSL: Vestavia Hills, AL) - 8/8/17
- AHFC Royals (Houston, TX) - 8/15/17
- Lansing United (From NPSL: East Lansing, MI) - 10/12/17
- Corpus Christi FC (Corpus Christi, TX) - 10/23/17
- Lionsbridge FC (Newport News, VA) - 11/14/17
- Ogden City SC (Ogden, UT) - 11/21/17
- San Francisco Glens SC (San Francisco, CA) - 12/18/17
- Kaw Valley FC (Lawrence, KS) - 12/21/17
- Colorado Pride Switchbacks U23 (Colorado Springs, CO) - 1/26/18
- Santa Cruz Breakers (Santa Cruz, CA) - 1/31/18
- Black Rock FC (Great Barrington, MA) - 2/1/18
- Memphis, TN - 2/1/18
National Premier Soccer League
North American Soccer League (-4)
- North Carolina FC (Moved to USL) - 11/16/17
- FC Edmonton (Folded) - 11/24/17
- San Francisco Deltas (Folded) - 11/24/17
- Indy Eleven FC (Moved to USL) - 1/10/18
United Soccer League (-3)
- Whitecaps FC 2 (Folded) - 11/17/17
- Rochester Rhinos (On Hiatus) - 11/30/17
- Orlando City B (On Hiatus) - 1/12/18
Premier Development League (-10)
- BYU Cougars (Moved to Club Level) - 9/14/17
- Burlingame Dragons FC (Folded) - 10/4/17
- Nashville SC U23 (On Hiatus) - 12/20/17
- Jersey Express S.C. (Folded) - 1/10/18
- St. Louis FC U23 (On Hiatus) - 1/30/18
- FC Boulder U23 - Unannounced, left off PDL website and schedule
- K-W United FC - Unannounced, left off PDL website and schedule
- SoCal Surf - Unannounced, left off PDL website and schedule
- Tampa Bay Rowdies U23 - Unannounced, left off PDL website and schedule
- Wilmington Hammerheads - Unannounced, left off PDL website and schedule
The Canadian Premier League, which was originally listed, is planned to start in 2019 and we’ll keep our eyes on it as that league as Ottawa Fury (USL) could move to that league which will take over Tier 1 sanctioning by the Canadian Soccer Association. Even with Canada gaining Tier 1 sanctioning, Toronto FC, Montreal Impact, and Vancouver Whitecaps will remain in Major League Soccer (Division 1 for the US Soccer Federation). Another league we’ll keep an eye on is the proposed National Independent Soccer Association which is trying to bridge the gap between Pro and Amateur and is much in favor of Pro/Rel.
While a lot of changes take place in the 4th tier the biggest ones of the year took place in the 2nd Division.
The NASL not only lost Division 2 sanctioning but also went from 8 teams down to just 6 and will not play until the fall of 2018 . UPDATE: The North American Soccer League announced earlier today that the league will not play in 2018. Three of the teams, the Jacksonville Armada, Miami FC, and New York Cosmos will be fielding teams in the NPSL instead. California United and Puerto Rico FC’s futures are uncertain while San Diego 1904 FC is attempting to join the USL for 2019.
The United Soccer League continued it’s rapid addition of clubs adding 6 more while losing 3 to go to a total of 33 for 2018. This could change over the next 12 months as the USL is expected to launch a D3 League in the spring of 2019 and the proposed NISA.
The Premier Development League also added 12 clubs while losing 10 going to a total of 74 for 2017. Just like the USL the number could greatly fluctuate over the next 12 months with the proposals of USL D3 League and NISA.
An honorable mention for leagues is the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) which will enter it’s 8th season in 2018. The notable reasons why the UPSL is mentioned is due to two events. The first being it’s merger with the Premier League of America (in which Minneapolis City SC played in 2016), which formed a new Midwest Conference. The other event was FC Minneapolis and Granite City FC (St. Cloud, MN) who moved from the American Champions League.
Below is a map of the currently announced expansion teams for 2018.
Map Credit: KatoSportsGirl