MLS, USL Pro Reach Deal

What has been rumored for months is finally official.

On Wednesday afternoon, MLS and USL Pro reached an agreement to integrate MLS Reserve League teams into the USL Pro schedule. The deal is a multi-year deal that will feature what is being called “interleague” play between the MLS Reserve League teams and the 13 USL Pro squads.

“This partnership represents the first step in a long-term alliance between MLS and USL Pro to connect domestic professional soccer through a system that benefits player development, competition and the overall business of our sport,” said MLS executive vice president of player relations and competition Todd Durbin

Each of the USL Pro teams will play a pair interleague games against MLS Reserve teams. USL Pro teams have been paired with a single MLS team to play a home-and-home series, save for Antigua, who will play both games at the site of the MLS team. The interleague games will count in both the official USL Pro and MLS Reserve League standings.

“USL Pro has for the past several years been the most sophisticated and competitive professional soccer league under MLS,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “This new partnership with MLS will elevate and strengthen the level of competition for domestic professional soccer while simultaneously creating a more sustainable financial model for team owners. As a result, we expect this partnership will forge a seamless system for the development of players and coaches, and promote the expansion of professional soccer into new North American markets.”

With this partnership in place with USL Pro, the third tier of the US soccer pyramid, what does this show in regards to the relationship between the NASL (the second tier of the US soccer pyramid), and MLS?

Share your thought below.

Pedro Heizer

The founder, editor and publisher of 90 Minutes Stong, Pedro is credentialed member of U.S. Soccer, Orlando City Soccer Club, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and others, as well as a member of the North American Soccer Reporters.

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