It could be the end of the current United Soccer Leagues (USL) as we know it when the Montreal Impact face the Vancouver Whitecaps in the championship series next weekend. Both teams have declined to pay their dues to the USL to compete next season and are part of the Team Owners Association (TOA) who would form their own league to conform to FIFA laws.
Leg 1 of the USL-1 Championship Series will be played in Vancouver, the seventh seed, on Saturday, October 10 at 8:30 PM (CT). Leg 2 moves to fifth seed Montreal on October 18 at 4 PM (CT). Both games will air on Fox Soccer Channel.
Montreal and Vancouver are part of the 8-club TOA, a group of team owners who would like more of a say in how the USL operates. Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Atlanta, St. Louis, and Tampa Bay are the other clubs looking to breakaway from the NuRock owned USL.
What could be considered the final TOA slap-in-the-face to the NuRock USL, Montreal and Vancouver both upset returning USL clubs to advance to the finals.
Here is what the 2010 USL-1st Division could look like if the TOA does indeed breakaway to form their own league:
- Austin Aztex
- Charleston Battery
- Cleveland City Stars (club is presently for sale)
- Portland Timbers (plan to move to MLS in 2011)
- Puerto Rico Islanders
- Rochester Rhinos
The TOA would like to conform to all FIFA international rules and create a professional league operated by the clubs themselves. The USL has been previously owned and operated by Nike Soccer, who recently sold the USL to NuRock Soccer.
A 2010 league operated by the TOA could look like this:
- Atlanta Silverbacks
- Carolina Railhawks
- Miami Blues
- Minnesota Thunder
- Montreal Impact
- St. Louis United
- Tampa Bay Rowdies
- Vancouver Whitecaps