TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League today announced the addition of North Carolina FC for the 2018 season. North Carolina FC will join Fresno FC, Las Vegas Lights FC and Nashville SC, as well as a new club to be operated by Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United, as new additions for the USL’s next campaign.
As one of the top professional soccer clubs in North America, the team celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016 and rebranded to North Carolina FC prior to the 2017 season. The club plays at the 10,000-seat Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina, and ranked among the top 15 teams in average attendance outside Major League Soccer in 2017. A perennial frontrunner, North Carolina FC won its regular season championship in 2011 and 2013.
North Carolina FC also operates the North Carolina Courage of the National Women’s Soccer League, North Carolina FC U23 in the Premier Development League and is partnered with North Carolina FC Youth, which boasts 10 boys and four girls U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams among its successful programs.
“Today we are thrilled to announce the addition of another successful club to the USL,” said USL Chief Executive Officer Alec Papadakis. “We were very impressed with the level of sophistication of the operations and the ownership of North Carolina FC, led by their visionary owner and chairman Steve Malik. Steve brings a wealth of business experience to the league and has strong local community support. This is a first-class club with premier facilities, in a desirable market with a strong base of support – all the qualities that make a club successful in the USL.”
“We are excited to be joining the USL effective immediately,” said North Carolina Football Club Owner Steve Malik. “The USL has seen tremendous growth, not only in new markets and franchises, but in the quality of play and fan awareness. We look forward to contributing to that growth in years to come."
The USL’s success in 2017 shows no signs of slowing down, driven by record attendance, increased sponsorship revenue, greater audience reach through USL Productions and more soccer-specific stadiums throughout the league. North Carolina FC will join four previously announced 2018 expansion franchises in Atlanta, Fresno, Las Vegas and Nashville. The league has also confirmed Birmingham, Austin and Memphis as arrivals for the 2019 season, additions that will further strengthen the league’s standing as one of the most prominent second divisions in the world.