United Soccer League
Overview
 
The United Soccer League was a professional
Professional
A professional is a person who is paid to undertake a specialised set of tasks and to complete them for a fee. The traditional professions were doctors, lawyers, clergymen, and commissioned military officers. Today, the term is applied to estate agents, surveyors , environmental scientists,...

 soccer league
Sports league
League is a term commonly used to describe a group of sports teams or individual athletes that compete against each other in a specific sport. At its simplest, it may be a local group of amateur athletes who form teams among themselves and compete on weekends; at its most complex, it can be an...

 in the United States in the mid-1980s.

After the demise of the second incarnation of the American Soccer League
American Soccer League
The American Soccer League has been a name used by three different professional soccer leagues in the United States. The first American Soccer League was established in 1921 by the merger of teams from the National Association Football League and the Southern New England Soccer League. For...

 in 1983, four ASL teams (Dallas Americans, Jacksonville Tea Men, Oklahoma City Slickers renamed Stampede and Rochester Flash) founded the USL. Fiscal responsibility, regional rivalries and measured expansion were a few of the cornerstones on which the organization was to be structured.
Encyclopedia
The United Soccer League was a professional
Professional
A professional is a person who is paid to undertake a specialised set of tasks and to complete them for a fee. The traditional professions were doctors, lawyers, clergymen, and commissioned military officers. Today, the term is applied to estate agents, surveyors , environmental scientists,...

 soccer league
Sports league
League is a term commonly used to describe a group of sports teams or individual athletes that compete against each other in a specific sport. At its simplest, it may be a local group of amateur athletes who form teams among themselves and compete on weekends; at its most complex, it can be an...

 in the United States in the mid-1980s.

After the demise of the second incarnation of the American Soccer League
American Soccer League
The American Soccer League has been a name used by three different professional soccer leagues in the United States. The first American Soccer League was established in 1921 by the merger of teams from the National Association Football League and the Southern New England Soccer League. For...

 in 1983, four ASL teams (Dallas Americans, Jacksonville Tea Men, Oklahoma City Slickers renamed Stampede and Rochester Flash) founded the USL. Fiscal responsibility, regional rivalries and measured expansion were a few of the cornerstones on which the organization was to be structured. A league rule allowed only four of eighteen roster spots be taken by foreign players. In addition a salary cap was imposed on member clubs. Initially, the league was to have both indoor
Indoor soccer
Indoor soccer or arena soccer, or six-a-side football in the United Kingdom, is a game derived from association football adapted for play in an indoor arena such as a turf-covered hockey arena or skating rink. The most important difference in play is that the indoor field is surrounded by a wall...

 and outdoor seasons so that clubs could play year round.

In addition to the ASL holdovers were new teams Buffalo Storm, Charlotte Gold, Ft. Lauderdale Sun, Houston Dynamos, and New York Nationals. Two North American Soccer League
North American Soccer League
North American Soccer League was a professional soccer league with teams in the United States and Canada that operated from 1968 to 1984.-History:...

 teams, the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Tulsa Roughnecks
Tulsa Roughnecks
-NASL:The Tulsa Roughnecks were a North American Soccer League team from Tulsa, Oklahoma. They played at Skelly Stadium on the campus of the University of Tulsa. The Roughnecks were a regular in the NASL playoffs, and won the NASL Soccer Bowl in 1983, defeating the Toronto Blizzard at B.C. Place...

, also expressed interest in joining the new league.

The USL played its first season in 1984 with nine teams in three divisions. The Fort Lauderdale Sun, whose roster featured former NASL Fort Lauderdale Strikers players Teófilo Cubillas
Teófilo Cubillas
Teófilo Juan Cubillas Arizaga is a Peruvian former footballer. He was selected as Peru's greatest ever player in an IFFHS poll, in which he was also included in the world's Top 50...

, Keith Weller, Jim Tietjens and Ernst Jean-Baptiste, won the league title in a three-game series against the Oklahoma City Stampede.

Despite its conservative fiscal plan, the league found itself in crisis heading into its second season. While attendance was on par with the ASL in its last season, revenues did not keep up with expenses and team owners could not cope with the losses. All but two clubs, Fort Lauderdale (now called South Florida Sun) and Dallas, folded. The evaporation of teams caused the cancellation of the planned indoor season. The Tulsa Tornados and El Paso/Juarez Gamecocks were added to bring league membership to a paltry four teams in 1985. A short six-game first half of the season was completed, but before a second half could begin the league's creditors foreclosed on the organization. League officials were locked out of their offices and the USL never played another game.

The collapse of the USL and the end of the NASL a year before meant that for the first time in over fifty years there was no professional outdoor soccer league in the U.S. This was a temporary void, however, as the Western Soccer Alliance
Western Soccer League
Western Soccer Alliance was a professional soccer league featuring teams from the West Coast of the United States and Western Canada. The league began in 1985 as the Western Alliance Challenge Series. In 1986, it became the Western Soccer Alliance...

 and third incarnation of the American Soccer League
American Soccer League
The American Soccer League has been a name used by three different professional soccer leagues in the United States. The first American Soccer League was established in 1921 by the merger of teams from the National Association Football League and the Southern New England Soccer League. For...

 would form and grow in the latter half of the 1980s, eventually to merge into the American Professional Soccer League
American Professional Soccer League
The American Professional Soccer League is a former professional men's soccer league which featured teams from both the United States and Canada. It was the first outdoor soccer league to feature teams from throughout the United States since the demise of the original North American Soccer League...

, precursor to the USL First Division
USL First Division
The United Soccer Leagues First Division was a professional men's soccer league in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico....

.

Teams

  • Buffalo Storm
    Buffalo Storm
    Buffalo Storm were an American professional soccer team. They played for one season in the USL-1984 Roster: Dennis Mepham Randy Pikuzinski Rudy Pikuzinski Carlos Salguero Däniel Johansson...

     (1984)
  • Charlotte Gold
    Carolina Lightnin'
    The Carolina Lightnin was an American soccer club based in Charlotte, North Carolina that was a member of the American Soccer League. The Lightnin' played home matches at American Legion Memorial Stadium. Attendance at home games averaged 6,000 spectators...

     (1984)
  • Dallas Americans
    Dallas Americans
    Dallas Americans was an American soccer club based in Dallas, Texas that was a member of the American Soccer League. It is also the name of a Indoor American Football team.After the ASL folded, the club joined the newly formed United Soccer League....

     (1984–85)
  • El Paso/Juarez Gamecocks
    El Paso/Juarez Gamecocks
    The El Paso/Juarez Gamecocks were a professional soccer team from America. They played the 6 game, 1985 season in the USL before folding.-1985 Roster: Josue Portillo 6 Apps 8 Goals Miguel Carcamo 5 App 0 Goals Arnaldo Correa 6 Apps 2 Goals Willy Villalobos 5 Apps...

     (1985)
  • Fort Lauderdale Sun
    Fort Lauderdale Sun
    Fort Lauderdale Sun was a U.S. soccer team which played two seasons in the United Soccer League. In 1983, the team was known as the Fort Lauderdale Sun, but in 1985, changed its name to the South Florida Sun.-Origins:...

     (1984); South Florida Sun (1985)
  • Houston Dynamos (1984)
  • Jacksonville Tea Men
    Jacksonville Tea Men
    The Jacksonville Tea Men were an American soccer team based in Jacksonville, Florida, U.S. Overall, the Tea Men played a total of four seasons in Jacksonville, first in the major league-level North American Soccer League from 1980–1982, then in the lower level American Soccer League and United...

     (1984)
  • New York Nationals
    New York Nationals (USL)
    New York Nationals were a New York soccer team which played a single season in 1984 with the United Soccer League. An earlier team also called the New York Nationals played in the American Soccer League during the 1920s.-History:...

     (1984)
  • Oklahoma City Stampede
    Oklahoma City Slickers
    The Oklahoma City Slickers was an American soccer club based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma that played in three lower division U.S. leagues, the American Soccer League, United Soccer League and USISL.-American Soccer League:...

     (1984)
  • Rochester Flash
    Rochester Flash
    The Rochester Flash was an American soccer club based in Rochester, New York that was a member of the American Soccer League.After the ASL folded, the club joined the newly formed United Soccer League....

     (1984)
  • Tulsa Tornados
    Tulsa Tornados
    The Tulsa Tornados were a professional soccer team from Tulsa, Oklahoma. They played for one season in the USL. The 1985 season only lasted six games as the league folded halfway through....

    (1985)
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