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 United Soccer League Championship

Last Week around the Leagues

by Fran Stuchbury
September 6, 2022 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)


This past week Jacksonville was awarded a United Soccer League Championship franchise with Tim Tebow as a supporting owner, Las Vegas Aces forward A'ja Wilson was named the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, and the expansion Premier Hockey Federation team in Montreal announced it will be known as the Montreal Force. Highlights from this week come from the United Soccer League Championship, Major League Soccer, United Soccer League Championship, Women's National Basketball Association, BIG3, Premier Hockey Federation, Canadian Football League, XFL, International League and the Premier Lacrosse League.

SOCCER

United Soccer League Championship

The United Soccer League (USL) today announced that JAXUSL, a Jacksonville-based group of investors and executives, has acquired the rights to a USL Championship expansion franchise with the intent of beginning play in 2025. The new club will be the first in Northeast Florida to feature both men's and women's professional soccer. JAXUSL's lead investor is Ricky Caplin, one of Northeast Florida's leading entrepreneurs and principal of the Caplin Ventures. Florida sports legend Tim Tebow is a supporting owner of the club, bringing experience as a professional athlete, investor and philanthropist.

Tim Tebow, United Soccer League bringing men's and women's expansion teams to Jacksonville. Tim Tebow is a supporting owner of the franchise, which is looking to build a 15,000-capacity stadium on the First Coast. The team plans to begin play in 2025.

A new man will be at the helm for FC Tulsa in 2023. Current Columbus Crew and former Phoenix Rising FC assistant coach Blair Gavin has been named the next head coach of FC Tulsa, following the conclusion of the 2022 campaign. Gavin joins FC Tulsa from MLS' Columbus Crew where he currently operates as an assistant coach for the club. Gavin was initially hired as Columbus' First Team Video Coach Analyst in December of 2021 before being promoted to an assistant position after just his first season with The Crew.

The USL Championship announced the Team of the Week for Week 25 of the 2022 regular season with Oakland Roots SC goalkeeper Paul Blanchette voted the Championship Player of the Week presented by Konami eFootball after posting 13 saves across two contests during the week, including an outstanding nine-save outing in Roots SC's midweek victory against San Diego Loyal SC.

Major League Soccer

A stunner from Riqui Puig as he nets his first MLS goal against Toronto!

National Women's Soccer League

The Washington Spirit has named Albertin Montoya as its interim head coach. Montoya's experience in women's soccer spans across the professional, college and youth national team ranks in the United States. "We are thrilled that Albertin has agreed to join us as interim coach for the remainder of the season," said Mark Krikorian, President of Soccer Operations. "He is a wonderful teacher of the game and our players will benefit from his development and leadership. We look forward to having Albertin lead this group through the final five regular season matches and are optimistic about what he will be able to add to our club."

San Diego Wave Fútbol Club is thrilled to announce a sell-out for Saturday, Sept. 17, against Angel City FC at the new Snapdragon Stadium. After surpassing the NWSL attendance record last week, San Diego Wave FC has now successfully sold every seat in Snapdragon Stadium that was made available to the club based on the optimal set-up to view soccer.

Budweiser Player of the Week - Megan Rapinoe, OL Reign - Week 16

United Soccer League One

Two More for the League's Assist Leader: Richmond Kickers midfielder Jonathan Bolanos: USL League One Player of the Week

BASKETBALL

Women's National Basketball Association

Las Vegas Aces forward A'ja Wilson has been named the 2022 Kia WNBA Defensive Player of the Year. This is the first WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award for Wilson, who becomes the first player in Aces franchise history to earn the honor. In her fifth WNBA season, Wilson led the league in blocks (1.9 bpg), ranked second in defensive rebounds per game (career-high 7.6) and was 12th in steals (1.4 spg). Wilson grabbed at least 10 defensive rebounds in a game nine times. She also recorded seven games with at least four blocks and six games with at least three steals.

A'ja Wilson held it down on defense for the Las Vegas Aces all season long, and now she's the Kia Defensive Player of the Year!

Connecticut Sun forward Brionna Jones has been named the 2022 Kia WNBA Sixth Player of the Year. She has earned the honor as the league's top reserve for the first time. A six-year WNBA veteran, Jones played all 36 of Connecticut's regular-season games, coming off the bench in 29 games and starting the remaining seven games. Overall, she averaged 13.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.22 steals in 25.1 minutes per game. Jones ranked 20th in the WNBA in scoring, fourth in field goal percentage (56.9) and second in offensive rebounds (2.6 per game).

In the overtime thriller between the Las Vegas Aces and the Seattle Storm in Game 3, A'ja Wilson led the Aces in scoring with 34 PTS.

BIG3

BIG3 co-founder and rap legend Ice Cube has taken over as CEO of the 3-on-3 pro league. Cube replaces Chris Hannan, who was tapped as CEO in February 2021. BIG3's other co-founder, Jeff Kwatinetz, will assume the role of league president as part of the front office shakeup.

Gronk makes history as he scores the FIRST-EVER Celebrity Game points!

"Some talk it. Some walk it. I ran it" Damian Gillard took over down the stretch to get that W.

NBA G League

The NBA G League released its complete 2022-23 game schedule, which tips off on Friday, Nov. 4. For the second consecutive season, the schedule will be split into two parts: the 18-game Showcase Cup followed by a 32-game regular season. Beginning in 2022-23, games that advance to overtime will be determined by a Final Target Score. The winner of an overtime game during the season will be the first team to reach or surpass the Final Target Score, which will be the tied score after four quarters plus seven. For example, if the teams are tied at 100-100, the Final Target Score would be 107. Overtime will be untimed and games will end when a team makes a basket or free throw to reach or surpass the Final Target Score. Additionally, all 31 games at the 2022 AT&T NBA G League Winter Showcase in Las Vegas will utilize a 25-point Final Target Score during an untimed fourth quarter. Under this model, the Final Target Score will be the leading team's score after three quarters plus 25.

HOCKEY

Premier Hockey Federation

The Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) in association with its new Montreal expansion franchise, has unveiled the team's name, logo, and jerseys for their historic 2022-23 season. The Montreal Force, a name symbolic of the team's energy and commitment to strength of character, community impact, and on ice ferocity, is officially the new identity of the league's seventh team. The Force brand is maroon, black, and white, with a primary logo shaped letter 'F' that features a fleur-de-lis embedded in the crest and is emblematic of the province of Quebec.

Introducing the Montreal Force

Southern Professional Hockey League

Macon Mayhem Ownership is excited to announce Nick Niedert as the team's new head coach. Niedert comes to Macon after being named interim head coach of the Vermilion County Bobcats of the SPHL last November. He started his professional goaltending career in 2004 with the Macon Trax. A path that took him through 817 games in the FPHL, SPHL, ECHL, and AHL over a 17-year span.

FOOTBALL

Canadian Football League

The BC Lions football club announced it has acquired American quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. from the Montreal Alouettes. In exchange, Montreal will receive our first-round selection in the 2023 CFL Draft. "Getting a player of Vernon's calibre provides a big boost to our offense as we continue pushing for a return to the playoffs," said Lions co-general manager/director of football operations Neil McEvoy. The 29-year-old Adams has suited up in 67 games over the past six seasons, 56 of those with the Alouettes from 2016-17 and 2018-22, and the remaining 11 with Saskatchewan to end 2017.

Vernon Adams Jr. goes one-on-one with Matt Baker following the quarterback's first full practice as a member of the Lions. VA talks about learning the offense, making a quick return to Montreal and more.

XFL

The XFL is pleased to announce that Brian Westbrook, Sr., has joined the League as Director of Player Engagement. Westbrook, Sr. will oversee team matters related to player experience, player and coach relations, off-field player development, and player marketing. He will report to Marc Ross, Executive Vice President, Football Operations.

"Brian is an incredibly important hire for the XFL as he will be a key driver behind the League's commitment to holistic player development," said Russ Brandon, President. "Following his impressive career in the NFL, Brian has done a phenomenal job building his brand while also committing himself to help other athletes reach their maximum potential on and off the field. We're excited to have him on our team to create a new, unmatched opportunity for player success."

Our six summer XFL Showcases took us all over the country where we were met by passionate players with incredible stories. Thanks to all who showed up and balled out. There are new chapters to be written.

BASEBALL

Minor League Baseball Plays of the Week

International League

Matt Wallner has hit the first cycle in St. Paul Saints history.

Eastern League

The New York Yankees have announced that No. 1 prospect, INF Anthony Volpe, has been promoted from the Double-A Somerset Patriots to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. The Somerset County native ends his time with the Patriots as the team leader in home runs (18), RBIs (60), SLG (.472), hits (106), doubles (31), triples (4, T-1st), extra base hits (53), total bases (199), runs (71), multi-hit games (26) and stolen bases (44). He also ranked second on the team in batting average (.251), OPS (.820) and walks (57) and third in OBP (.348), making it so that he ranked top three on the team in 16 different offensive categories.

Atlantic League

Eduardo Rivera turned in another scintillating effort as the York Revolution edged the Staten Island FerryHawks, 3-2. The win was the 600th for Mark Mason as Revolution manager, as he becomes the fourth in Atlantic League history to 600 wins and the second to win 600 games with one club. The victory snaps a three-game slide and is the Revs' third consecutive victory at home.

Coastal Plain League

Capitol Broadcasting Company (CBC) announced they are under contract to acquire and operate the Coastal Plain League (CPL), one of the premier summer collegiate wood bat leagues in the country, from the Petitt Family, who have owned and operated the league since 1997. CBC has owned and operated the circuit's Holly Springs Salamanders since 2017.

LACROSSE

Premier Lacrosse League

BRODIE MERRILL'S RECORD BREAKING 200TH GAME

National Lacrosse League

The National Lacrosse League announced the broadcast coverage plan for the 2022 NLL Entry Draft, which will be held on Saturday, September 10 beginning at 2 p.m. ET at the historic The Carlu in downtown Toronto. This year's first round will be available for the first time on TSN.ca and the TSN app in Canada and ESPN+ in the United States, with additional rounds covered in real time on NLL social channels. It marks the most extensive live coverage of the NLL Draft in the league's history.

The Halifax Thunderbirds announced they have acquired right-handed forward Randy Staats via trade with Panther City Lacrosse Club. In return, the Thunderbirds have traded rookie forward Jackson Reid, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2022 NLL Entry Draft, and the Thunderbirds' second-round selection in the 2025 Entry Draft. "Randy is a gamer," Thunderbirds Assistant General Manager Scott Campbell said. "He is at his best in the big games and the big moments. He is big and athletic. Good outside shot, can play inside, draw the double, and find the open man. We are really excited. He is the type of player that makes everyone on the offence better."

OTHER SPORTS

Major League Rugby

Dallas Jackals Rugby is excited to name Agustin Cavalieri as Head Coach. Cavalieri brings a wealth of playing and coaching experience from Argentina and Italy, respectively. His experiences across many levels of the game in Italy combined with a desire to develop players sees Cavalieri well-equipped to lead the Jackals in the upcoming 2023 MLR season. Cavalieri joins the Jackals with experience as the U20 Italian National team Forwards' Coach. Earlier this year, the side competed in the U20 Six Nations displaying their best efforts historically earning wins against three top tier nations (England, Scotland, and Wales), a feat never done before by another nation.

American Ultimate Disc League

The Top 10 plays from 2022 AUDL Championship Weekend!

Did we miss anything newsworthy or downright fun? Have a nomination for next week's column? Contact us today and let us know.


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United Soccer League Championship Stories from September 6, 2022


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