Photo courtesy Darren Abate / San Antonio FC
CHICAGO – The United Soccer League, one of the most prominent Division II leagues in the world, announced on Thursday the league’s regular season will expand to 34 games per team in the 2018 season, and the regular season will be extended to 31 weeks.
The decision was approved by the USL Board of Governors on Wednesday at the league’s Mid-Season Meetings in Chicago. The move will see the USL regular season surpass 500 total games for the first time in its history.
“We are very pleased the Board of Governors has approved the decision to expand the USL regular season to 34 games per club,” said USL President Jake Edwards. “The league’s commitment to club services, broadcast and various strategic initiatives combined with the continued investment of our owners into the clubs have produced record attendance this season. An additional home match now provides a significant revenue opportunity as attendance continues to grow.
“Next year’s expanded season, highlighted by three new clubs that will join the USL in 2018, will deliver even more first-class soccer excitement to even more fans across North America.”
The USL also announced it would retain the current two-conference format for the 2018 season, and the 16-team playoff structure across the two conferences. The league’s alignment for the new season will be announced at a future date.
The 2018 USL regular season is expected to kick off on the weekend of March 16-18, with the 31-week regular season set to conclude on the weekend of October 12-14. The 2018 USL Cup Playoffs would then kick off between October 19-21, with the 2018 USL Cup Final set for the weekend of November 9-11.