USL Commissioner posts season opening letter
In his welcome to the season message USL Commissioner Jake Edwards amplified on comments he has made previously about expansion and conference realignment.
- In addition to the new 2018 expansion franchise in Nashville, several new team announcements are expected this year for the 2018, 2019 and 2020 seasons. There have been rumors that FC Dallas will start up a USL franchise soon.
- The league plans to go to a three-conference (East/Central/West) structure next season. San Antonio and Rio Grande Valley are about as central as you get, so we can be pretty sure where they will end up.
- In an interview with FourFourTwo USA’s Editor Jeff Kassouf, Commissioner Edwards added to the comments in the season opening message. First, he stated that the league was in discussion with eight expansion candidates with “strong applications”. He stated that a couple of teams would be announced mid-summer and a few more to be announced later in the year, to begin play in 2018 or 2019. In the same interview, he also added that he sees the total number of teams in the league growing into the “mid to high thirties”, but there is no cap at this time. Here is the link to the fascinating article, which also contains discussion about RGVFC’s role as model for future expansion and the possibility of splitting USL into two divisions in the future.
- Here is a link to Commissioner Edwards Welcome to the USL Season full post (uslsoccer.com)
Video Assistant Referee (VAR) Continues
The USL and Major League Soccer continue to work with the Professional Referee Organization (PRO) to conduct live, in-game Video Assistant Referee (VAR) testing for 25 2017 regular-season matches this year. The VAR process positions an additional referee on-site in a stadium press-box booth. Video technology will be utilized through every available camera angle to advise the head referee of clear game-changing situations: goals, penalty decisions, direct red card incidents and cases of mistaken identity. Both SAFC and RGVFC will participate in two games where this VAR will be tested. The home game VAR tests will take place in San Antonio and Edinburg on July 14th and 19th respectively. (uslsoccer.com)
New Season Rule Changes
- The most significant USL rule change for the 2017 season is that teams will now be allowed three substitutions per game vs. the five allowed in the 2016 season. This will bring USL into line with the rest of FIFA on the substitution rule. In announcing the change earlier this year, USL commented that the extra substitutes were a legacy player-safety measure, resulting from old USL travel schedules and the need to play multiple games with short rest. (uslsoccer.com)
- Implementing a policy that is similar to one in Major League Soccer, USL will be implementing a Good Behavior Incentive that potentially could reduce a player’s yellow card accumulation total, based on a string of matches without receiving a caution for the 2017 season. In MLS, and now USL, if a player accumulates a large number of yellow cards over a certain number of games he will be suspended for the next match. Under this Good Behavior system, a player has the ability to automatically reduce his yellow card accumulation total by one yellow card each time he appears in five consecutive games without a card or supplemental discipline. (uslsoccer.com)
FC Dallas loans Homegrown player to USL Affiliate
Up to this point FC Dallas (FCD) has deliberately chosen not to establish their own USL squad, unlike many other MLS teams. Given the depth of FCD’s roster, and the large number of Homegrown players they have signed, it is clear that a number of their Homegrown’s will not get much playing time in MLS games this year. MLS requires that each team have an affiliation with a USL side, however so far, FC Dallas has chosen to loan only a single player to their USL affiliate, Oklahoma City Energy. Homegrown midfielder Coy Craft will join the Energy on a season-long loan for a second straight year. Craft recently played a part in the U-20 CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying tournament (won by the U.S.) in Costa Rica. (mlssoccer.com)