About USL Championship

The USL Championship (USLC), a professional men's soccer league in the United States since 2011, boasts its headquarters in Tampa, Florida. The US Soccer Federation sets this Division II league below only Major League Soccer—its sole counterpart of equal standing. The USL Championship is a professional men's soccer league in the United States that began its first season in 2011. The USLC is classified as a Division II league by the United States Soccer Federation since 2017, placing it below Major League Soccer (Division I). The USLC has its headquarters in Tampa, Florida. The Championship features 24 teams in two conferences, split into two regional divisions of 12 teams each. The league plans to expand to 30 teams by 2020. Each team plays 32 games in the regular season, half home and a half away. 

At the end of the regular season, the top six teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs, which culminate in the USL Championship Final. The Championship began play in 2011 with 15 teams, all located in the southeastern United States or Puerto Rico. The league expanded to 19 teams in 2012, then added a further eight teams for 2013 (including an expansion franchise in Phoenix) and two more for 2014 (in Austin and Tulsa). As of 2016, the Championship has 24 teams in 13 states and three Canadian provinces. In October 2010, the USL announced the formation of the USL Pro division for the 2011 season. This new professional league was created to fill the void between Major League Soccer and the various amateur leagues in the United States, including the USL Premier Development League. The USL Pro featured 14 teams in its inaugural season, all located in the southeastern and midwestern United States. 

The league expanded to 24 teams for the 2012 season, with expansion franchises in Charlotte, Phoenix, Tampa Bay, and Wilmington. The league added a further eight teams for 2013, including expansion franchises in Austin, Colorado Springs, Oklahoma City, Orange County, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Sacramento, and Phoenix (again). The league expanded to 30 teams for the 2020 season, with expansion franchises in Austin, Birmingham, Hartford, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Louisville, Memphis, Miami, Nashville, and New Mexico. From 2020 to 2022, a majority of MLS clubs had an affiliate in either the USL Championship or USL League One (USL1), which are the third-level United Soccer Leagues. All remaining MLS affiliations will come to an end after the 2022 season as a result of MLS Next Pro.

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