USL News Release
Thursday, February 16, 2006
TAMPA, FL – United Soccer Leagues announced today the creation of the USL Super-20 League, a new league designed as a graduating youth league for elite players from 17-20 as they advance beyond the traditional youth bracket to the senior professional and amateur development leagues. The league will debut this summer with teams representing all levels of US and Canadian soccer from elite youth clubs to first division professional teams in the US and Canada. Teams such as Ironbound SC (Super Y-League), Brooklyn Knights (Premier Development League), Cleveland Internationals (W-League), Harrisburg City Islanders (USL Second Division), Toronto Lynx (USL First Division) and the MetroStars (MLS) will be fielding USL Super-20 League teams.
“The MetroStars directly support the USL efforts with youth development, and the U20’s will further connect our players to our senior team at the MLS level,” said MetroStars Director of Soccer and Youth Development Systems Giovanni Savarese, a former USL and MLS star. “This will also provide the club with opportunities to further develop a larger pool of players within the club that also play within the collegiate ranks, so we can monitor and prepare their development for higher levels of the game.”
The Super-20 League, for men and women, will replace the U19 age bracket of the Super Y-League, which will now range from U13-U17 for boys and girls. The date for the birth year has been changed to the international standard of January 1 from the previous date of August 1, which now provides an additional six months of eligible players on teams’ roster, extending the bracket into the range of 20 year olds. The league will, ultimately, contain the top 80 teams in each of the men’s and women’s divisions across the US and Canada.
“Shifting our U19 team to a U20 team will provide our club more depth and opportunities for our players,” said Albert Coutinho, President of Ironbound SC from Newark, NJ. “As a club we intend to add a PDL team in 2007, and the U20 team would provide the right resources for a true reserve team.”
The league was designed to cater to the top of the youth ranks in the US and Canada for players aspiring to play professionally and to serve as a reserve division for USL’s Premier Development League and W-League teams, who have increasingly taken youth development of this age range under their auspices the past few years on a smaller scale. PDL and W-League teams will now be able to add USL Super-20 teams to expand their development goals as well as their player pool for the senior team.
"The creation of the USL Super-20 League, as the sixth North American league under the USL umbrella, comes from the recognition of an immediate need for a meaningful elite-level, league-based competition for male and female U20 players. Outgrowing the defining age groups (U13-U17) of the Super Y-League and often squeezed out for significant playing opportunities at the PDL and W-League levels by more experienced U23 players, the U20 age bracket has been one of the most underserved within our structure and often the period during which other elite countries around the world distance themselves from the United States and Canada in terms of player development. We expect the USL Super 20 League not only become a catalyst for traditional youth soccer clubs to make the foray into senior level competition, but also as an immediate destination spot for the less seasoned college players prior to their emergence into the highly competitive PDL and W-League," said USL Vice President, Tim Holt.
“This will deepen the player pool from our PDL perspective, and we will be able to work with the college players more to provide them opportunities,” said Jim Vogt, Director of Operations for the SYL founding member Brooklyn Knights and President of the Met Oval Foundation. This will help the colleges improve their players, while simultaneously strengthening the USL system.”
In addition to the USL Super-20 League completing the model for club building and vertical integration, it will aid US Soccer and the Canadian Soccer Association in identifying the top U20 players for international competition ranging from U17 to U20.
"Symbolically, the launching of our USL Super-20 League comes as USL celebrates its 20th Anniversary, and while I would not categorically say that we are done with starting new leagues , the Super-20 does put some closure on our concept of 'cradle to grave' when it comes to being the pyramid for all the development needs of soccer players in North America,” said USL President and founder Francisco Marcos. “The addition of the USL Super-20 League along with the change of position of Matt Weibe, who will oversee the formation of the league as Managing Director of Club Development and Communications, demonstrates our escalation in commitment and resources to the role of player development in North America.”
In addition to the partnership with the USL Super Y-League, US Club Soccer will also be the registration provider for the USL Super-20 League. Clubs will be able to utilize the same online registration, roster and insurance services as they do for the USL Super Y-League.
View USL Super-20 League 2006 Season Overview (.pdf)
As United Soccer Leagues celebrates its 20th Anniversary, soccer at all levels continues to grow in the U.S., Canada and Caribbean. The largest organization of elite-level soccer leagues in North America, United Soccer Leagues is dedicated to growing the sport at the grassroots level in every community. The USL First Division and Second Division (North American men’s professional soccer), the USL Premier Development League (U23 North American men’s amateur), the USL W-League (North American open women’s amateur), the USL Super-20 League (U20 North American men’s and women’s amateur) and the USL Super Y-League (North American boy’s and girl’s elite youth amateur) have provided a platform for thousands of players to reach their dreams since 1986. This vision and commitment to develop a soccer nation by fans, investors, administrators, coaches, and players has created the foundation for the growth of the sport, while presenting affordable, exciting family entertainment in over 100 towns and cities on the continent.