Last Week around the Leagues

by Fran Stuchbury
November 7, 2023 - United Soccer League One (USL1) - USL Texoma

This past week North Carolina FC won the United Soccer League One championship, the Indoor Football League's Arizona Rattlers moved to Glendale where they will play games in the Desert Diamond Arena, Angel City FC of the National Women's Soccer League promoted Becki Tweed from interim to permanent head coach, and the Pro Volleyball Federation revealed its inaugural season schedule. Highlights from this week come from United Soccer League One, the National Women's Soccer League, Major League Soccer, Canadian Premier League, Indoor Football League, Canadian Football League, Arena Football League, Pro Volleyball Federation, American Ultimate Disc League, Women's National Basketball Association, Big3, American Hockey League, Southern Professional Hockey League, Western Hockey League, North American Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, United States Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Carolina League.


United Soccer League One

North Carolina FC rallied to a 1-1 draw in extra time before taking a 5-4 victory in a penalty shootout against its Dogwood Derby rival Charlotte Independence to claim the USL League One Final after a hotly-contested clash at WakeMed Soccer Park. After going down a goal in the ninth minute of extra time, North Carolina scored a late equalizer to force penalty kicks. Thanks to heroics from goalkeeper Brooks Thompson, the home side edged out its in-state rival, claiming NCFC's first USL League One title in its final season before returning to the USL Championship in 2024.

Here are the highlights.

Central Valley Fuego FC is thrilled to announce the appointment of Jermaine Jones as the new Head Coach for the Club. Jones, a renowned figure in the world of soccer, brings a wealth of coaching acumen, following his distinguished career as a player. This will mark his first appointment as a Head Coach of a senior team. Jones was most recently the Assistant Coach for the USA Boys U19 program. Jones is a holder of the prestigious UEFA Pro coaching license. Upon his appointment as Head Coach, Jones expressed his enthusiasm for the role: "I am thrilled to join CV Fuego FC and to immediately begin building a team that the community will be proud of."

National Women's Soccer League

After a pair of sellout matches that saw both road teams emerge victorious, the finalists for the 2023 NWSL Championship, presented by Bud Light, have been determined. In its third Championship appearance, No. 4 OL Reign will square off against first-time finalist No. 6 Gotham FC in primetime at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, November 11 at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, California. The match will air live on the CBS Television Network and Paramount+ while fans tuning in internationally can stream the match on

Angel City Football Club (ACFC) announced that it has named Becki Tweed as its head coach. Tweed began the 2023 NWSL campaign as assistant coach before being named interim head coach on June 14, exactly midway through the season. She led the club to a 8-2-5 record in all competitions (NWSL Regular Season, UKG Challenge Cup, and NWSL Playoffs), including an 11-game unbeaten streak and the first playoff appearance in club history. "From the day she assumed the role of Interim Head Coach, Becki never looked back. She proved that she could not only lead this team, but gain the trust and buy-in of all the players in a short period of time," said ACFC General Manager Angela Hucles Mangano. "Following a thorough five-month search process, Becki emerged as the absolute right choice not only due to her record, which exceeded expectations by anyone's measure, but also her ability to instill the belief in the players that they could turn the season around and make playoffs. We are thrilled to drop that interim tag off her title, and officially call her Head Coach. We look forward to seeing all she can bring to the club next year and beyond."

ESPN FC's Herc Gomez and Sebastian Salazar are joined by Angel City FC's manager Becki Tweed on Futbol Americas. Recently appointed the role on a permanent basis, Tweed discusses her role at the club, future goals and when we may see a return for Christen Press after injury.

A champion on and off the field, Ali Krieger has strived to leave the game better than she found it. In her Game Changers story, presented by Ally, Ali reflects on her legendary career with the NWSL and USWNT and the lifelong friendships she's built along the way.

Major League Soccer

Major League Soccer announced Atlanta United forward Giorgos Giakoumakis as the 2023 MLS Newcomer of the Year. The award recognized the year's most impactful player who had prior professional experience and made their MLS debut during the 2023 regular season. Giakoumakis becomes the second consecutive player from Atlanta United to claim the award, following Thiago Almada last season, and the third player in club history joining Miguel Almirón in 2017. Giakoumakis recorded a team-high 17 goals in just 1,792 regular-season minutes. His 17 goals tied for the second-most in the league, while his 0.85 goals per 90 minutes average was the best mark among all players (minimum 1,500 minutes played) in regular season play.

Giorgos Giakoumakis was awarded 2023 MLS Newcomer of the Year and we called in a few of his friends to give him the big news

Goal Fest: October's Finest in MLS

United Soccer League Championship

The Charleston Battery will play host to Phoenix Rising FC in the 2023 USL Championship on Sunday night as both teams claimed their respective conference titles tonight. Kickoff at Patriots Point will be at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and SiriusXM FC. The Battery earned their first trip to the USL Championship Final since the 2012 season with a 2-1 victory against Louisville City FC as Arturo Rodriguez and Augustine Williams both found the net to continue the club's remarkable turnaround season. Phoenix, meanwhile, rallied to claim their third Western Conference title in six seasons with a 2-1 victory against Sacramento Republic FC as Emil Cuello scored the winner in second-half stoppage time at Heart Health Park.

Hartford Athletic announced that they have parted ways with Head Coach Omid Namazi. "On behalf of Hartford Athletic, I want to thank Omid for his hard work and commitment to the Club," said CEO Nick Sakiewicz. "We all wish him the best in his future endeavors."

Orange County Soccer Club has agreed to a multi-year coaching deal with Head Coach Morten Karlsen. Karlsen who joined the club in February as an assistant to Richard Chaplow took over as Interim Head Coach on May 1st 2023, and lead the club to a 13-3-2 record (17-11-6 overall) and a 2nd place finish in the Western Conference. "I am happy, proud and excited to sign a new contract as Head Coach of Orange County," Said Karlsen. "To get the opportunity to continue working with a fantastic group of players as well as a great organization." Karlsen was named USL Championship Coach of the Month for July and August, becoming the first coach to win the award in back-to-back months.

Canadian Premier League

The 2023 CPL Playoffs were full of drama, intensity, and of course, incredible goals


Jacksonville Armada FC proudly announces two groundbreaking developments, the Armada will break ground on the stadium in January 2024 with all hopes of final permitting and stadium construction to allow for the club's first MLS NEXT Pro season to be in 2025. Jacksonville Armada FC is thrilled to announce their expansion into MLS NEXT Pro. This move represents a pivotal moment in their journey and a testament to the team's dedication. "Growing the sport of soccer is a foundational pillar for MLS NEXT Pro and the addition of strong independent clubs is critically important to that," said Charles Altchek, President of MLS NEXT Pro. "It was clear from the beginning of our conversations with Robert Palmer and the Armada that their priorities are aligned with ours, most importantly their commitment to the passionate fan base in Jacksonville. We're thrilled to welcome the Armada to the League and look forward to seeing the impact they will have both on and off the field, particularly in their local community."


Indoor Football League

The Arizona Rattlers announced they will be moving operations to Glendale, Arizona. The new home of the Rattlers will be headquartered in Desert Diamond Arena, adjacent to the Westgate Entertainment District. Desert Diamond Arena is a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose facility located at Loop 101 and Glendale Avenue. The arena anchors the 223-acre, $1 billion development Westgate Entertainment District, deemed as the "crown jewel" of sports and entertainment complexes. Rattlers' Owner Ron Shurts stated: "We're thrilled to build this new relationship and for the move to Glendale. It's going to be a great venue for us, and our fans love it out there. The Westgate district is incredible and the west side of town is officially the Football Capital of Arizona. We're proud to be front and center of Desert Diamond Arena and look forward to growing that relationship. Their staff has been tremendous to work with and we are excited for this new opportunity."

Arizona Rattlers owner Ron Shurts has an important announcement to share with Rattler Nation. For the first time since their inception in 1992, the Arizona Rattlers will play all of their home games in Glendale. The franchise announced that they are moving their home from Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix to Desert Diamond Arena. The 2024 season starts in March.

Canadian Football League

The Ottawa REDBLACKS announced that the team has parted ways with Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator Khari Jones. "On behalf of the Ottawa REDBLACKS, I'd like to thank Khari Jones for his contributions to our organization and his professionalism over the last year," said Head Coach Bob Dyce. "Coach Jones gives everything he has to his role as a coach in the CFL, and we wish him all the best in the next chapter of his career."

Coming up clutch when it matters most - the Grey Cup Playoffs! Check out our top plays from the Eastern and Western Semi-Finals.


The Arlington Renegades announced that former Renegades defensive lineman Bruce Hector has been signed to the New York Jets practice squad. Hector, 28, originally signed with New York before the team's training camp this past August. He appeared in all 12 games during the Renegades' run to the 2023 XFL Championship, totaling 16 tackles and one forced fumble during the 10-game regular season. He logged nine tackles over two postseason games, including a season-high seven stops and 0.5 sacks in the XFL South Division Championship Game at Houston.

Arena Football League

A big announcement from the Arena Football League - the revival of the Voodoo franchise will be happening right here in Lake Charles. The Voodoo franchise began in New Orleans and competed from 2004 to 2008, then again from 2010 to 2015. The message shared at the press conference - this team is here to stay, and here to win.


Pro Volleyball Federation

Pro Volleyball Federation has announced the match schedule for its inaugural season, with a total of 84 exciting regular season matches on tap for the first campaign. League competition will begin on Wednesday, January 24 as the Omaha Supernovas host the Atlanta Vibe in the first match in League history at 7 p.m. CT. "There was no question as to where we wanted to place our historic first match," said Dave Whinham, co-founder of Pro Volleyball Federation. "The state of Nebraska's support of women's volleyball speaks for itself. We were in attendance when more than 92,000 people packed Memorial Stadium in Lincoln to set a world record for attendance at a women's sporting event, and we look forward to Omaha setting a record for attendance at a professional women's volleyball match in North America, if not the world."

Pro Volleyball Federation releases the schedule for their inaugural season.

The first ever major league volleyball match - happening here in Nebraska!

Major League Rugby

Nola Gold Rugby proudly introduces Cory Brown as their new head coach. Brown has an extensive rugby background in both playing and coaching. With a successful playing career that included stints with Otago, the Highlanders Development Team, and various clubs in France and Italy, Brown transitioned seamlessly into coaching following his retirement from professional rugby. Brown's esteemed coaching career began with a pivotal role as the Head Coach for Otago Rugby in the NPC, where he was also responsible for growth of rugby at the grassroots level. His vision and leadership significantly contributed to the advancement and development of rugby within the region.

American Ultimate Disc League

Jacob Fairfax's Best Highlights from the 2023 Season. Jacob Fairfax could not be stopped downfield for the Carolina Flyers attack!


Women's National Basketball Association

The WNBA Draft Lottery 2024 presented by State Farm will be broadcast on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 4:30 p.m. ET. ESPN will air the 30-minute, WNBA Draft Lottery presented by State Farm special between the final two games of the Basketball Hall of Fame Women's Showcase tripleheader featuring Utah vs. South Carolina and North Carolina vs. UConn. WNBA Head of League Operations Bethany Donaphin will reveal the results of the Lottery during ESPN's coverage. This marks the 12th consecutive year that ESPN networks will present the WNBA Draft Lottery presented by State Farm.

In a letter, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert cited upcoming renovations at the Moda Center as the reason the league decided to end talks with Portland.


The DOJ has launched a formal investigation after rapper/actor/entrepreneur Ice Cube accused the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver of working to squash the influence of his Big3 Basketball league.


American Hockey League

The American Hockey League announced the four people selected for induction into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame as the Class of 2024. Honored by the AHL Hall of Fame Selection Committee as the latest group of enshrinees are Dennis Bonvie, Gordie Clark, Gerry Ehman and Roy Sommer. The induction of the Class of 2024 will take place as part of the festivities at the 2024 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Tech CU, to be hosted by the San Jose Barracuda. The American Hockey League Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony is scheduled for February 5.

Local hockey leagues consider neck guards after hockey player dies

Lehigh Valley Phantoms Samu Tuomaala's overtime winner.

Southern Professional Hockey League

Week 2 SPHL goals

Western Hockey League

The Western Hockey League announced today the adoption of mandatory neck guard protection for all players All WHL players will be required to wear protective neck guard equipment at all times while participating in on-ice activities, including WHL games and practices.

The WHL anticipates challenges in delivery of protective neck guard equipment from licensed suppliers due to increased demand following the tragic passing of Adam Johnson.

WHL Top 10

North American Hockey League

NAHL Top Plays - October 23-29, 2023

Ontario Hockey League

OHL Plays of the Week

United States Hockey League

Ethan Dahlmeir backstops Des Moines to 3-2 shootout win.

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

QMJHL Plays of the Week


Premier Lacrosse League

The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) powered by Ticketmaster announced the 2024 PLL Championship Series will take place February 14-19, 2024 and return to The St. James in Springfield, Va. The Olympic style, six-on-six, round-robin tournament will feature the league's top four teams from the 2023 season: Cannons Lacrosse Club, Redwoods Lacrosse Club, Waterdogs Lacrosse Club, and the 2023 PLL Cash App Champion Archers Lacrosse Club. "Our second annual Championship Series will host our top four PLL teams in a tournament played within the new Olympic format rules," said Paul Rabil, co-founder and President of the Premier Lacrosse League. "With the best players in the world and a fast-paced, high octane format, we're even more excited about these games. With renewed Olympic inspiration, this February's games will be sure to provide motivation for the next generation player hoping to compete for a roster spot in LA28."

National Lacrosse League

The Buffalo Bandits announced the team has signed forward Dhane Smith to a five-year deal, pending league approval. Smith (6'2", 207 lbs., 9/23/1992) returns to the Bandits for his 11th season with the team after posting a team-high 132 points (36+96) in the 2022-23 season. The Bandits forward led the league in assists and ranked second among all NLL players in points last season. Smith's 96 assists during the regular season broke his own NLL record for most assists in a single season (94) that he had previously set during the 2021-22 season. Smith (6'2", 207 lbs., 9/23/1992) returns to the Bandits for his 11th season with the team after posting a team-high 132 points (36+96) in the 2022-23 season. The Bandits forward led the league in assists and ranked second among all NLL players in points last season. Smith's 96 assists during the regular season broke his own NLL record for most assists in a single season (94) that he had previously set during the 2021-22 season.


American Association

The Winnipeg Goldeyes named former Chicago Cubs infielder Logan Watkins as the fifth field manager in club history. The 34-year-old spent the past two-plus seasons in the same role with the Cleburne Railroaders, where he piloted a team that qualified for the post-season three times. Originally hired as the Railroaders' hitting coach in 2021, Watkins assumed the title of interim manager in June of that year. "Logan knows what it takes to play this game at the highest level, and he has the experience recruiting players and building a roster that is so important in our league," said Goldeyes President Sam Katz. "He's someone I believe players will want to play for and will wear the Goldeyes uniform proudly".

Carolina League

Spartanburg Baseball Stadium breaks ground

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

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United Soccer League One Stories from November 7, 2023

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