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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
November 12, 2018 - Major League Soccer (MLS)


Carolina League: The new Fayetteville (NC) team in the high Class-A Carolina League announced it will be called the Fayetteville Woodpeckers when it starts play at a new downtown ballpark in 2019. The team has been playing as the Buies Creek Astros at nearby Campbell University for the past two seasons as it waited for completion of the new ballpark. Other nicknames under consideration were the Fatbacks, Fly Traps, Jumpers and Wood Dogs.

International League: With the planned relocation of the Triple-A International League's Pawtucket (RI) Red Sox to Worcester (MA) for the 2021 season, the team has been referred to as the Worcester Red Sox or the WooSox. Ownership is seeking suggestions this month for a possible name change to coincide with the team's move. The team will play the 2019 and 2020 seasons in Pawtucket and move to a new Worcester stadium that is expected to be completed in time for the 2021 season.

Texas League: The Double-A Texas League's new Amarillo team, which will be the relocated San Antonio Missions for the 2019 season, plans to announce its new name next week.

The Western League: The independent Pecos League is starting a new winter showcase and prospect exposure league called The Western League that will run through the month of February 2019. All games will be played at Sam Lynn Ballpark in Bakersfield (CA). Currently, four teams called the Bakersfield Blues, Great Bend Boom, Hollywood Stars and Salina Stockade are listed on the proposed schedule.


American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA started its 2018-19 season last weekend with over 100 teams aligned in 6 regional divisions. Currently, the league has 26 teams in the Far West Region, 17 in the South Central, 25 in the Southeast, 21 in the Northeast, 14 in the North Central and 16 in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

American Professional Basketball League: The semi-pro APBL announced it will play a seventh season for 2018-19 and lists 15 teams aligned in a nine-team Metropolitan Conference and a six-team Regional Conference.

Midwest Basketball League: The spring/summer semi-pro MBL recently announced a team called the Fort Wayne Bubba Ballers has joined for the league's 2019 season. The league had 18 teams in its 2018 season that included a team called the Fort Wayne Vision.

Minor League Basketball Association: Over the past few months, the MLBA announced several teams have been added for the league's 2019 season. These included two former North American Basketball League teams called the Savannah Cavaliers and the Atlanta Show, new teams called the Wichita Wizards and North Alabama (Florence) Falcons, and the Buffalo Blue Hawks team that most recently played in the 2016-17 American Basketball Association.

MidSouth Basketball Association: The new MSBA plans to start play in February 2019 and currently lists five teams: the Bluegrass Bulls (London, KY), Music City Kings (Nashville), Kentucky Flash (Louisville), Smoky Mountain Blackbears (Gatlinburg, TN) and SouthEast Kentucky Soldiers (Corbin).


National Arena League: Although it has not yet been confirmed, the owner of a potential new NAL team in Orlando stated a team called the Orlando Terminators would start play in April 2019.

American Arena League: After playing in the 2018 AAL, the Trenton-based Jersey Flight recently announced the team will return to the AAL for the 2019 season. A team called the Pittsburgh Defenders has verbally committed to playing in the AAL for the 2019 season.

National Gridiron League: The proposed new indoor NGL recently announced this week that its St. Louis Stampede team will play home games at the Family Arena in suburban St. Charles (MO).

International Arena Football League: The proposed new IAFL announced a team called the Houston Wolverines will be the league's sixth team when it starts play in 2019. Houston joins three other Texas-based teams called the San Antonio Knights, Austin Wild and Temple Demons, along with two Mexican teams call the Tampico Lagartos and Football Mexicah (Mexico City).


Western States Hockey League: The junior-level WSHL, which considers itself as a Tier-II league under the Amateur Athletic Union's United Hockey Union, started its 2018-19 season last month with 23 teams aligned in five-team Western, Mountain and Mid-Western divisions and four-team Northwest and Provincial divisions. The WSHL expanded into Canada with the addition of a new Provincial Division that has one team in Saskatchewan and three teams in Alberta. The other WSHL team are in the western half of the United States with teams in California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.


Major League Soccer: Voters in Miami approved a referendum for the sale of a city-owned site that could be home to a proposed 25,000-seat soccer stadium for the MLS expansion team called the Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, or Inter Miami. The expansion team ownership will now have to negotiate a final agreement with the city over the transfer of the site and the stadium construction details.

Major Arena Soccer League 2: The MASL2, also known as M2, announced its 2018-19 schedule that will feature 15 teams aligned in five-team Mountain, Pacific and Eastern divisions. The league had ten teams in two five-team conferences last season and all ten teams have returned, although the Colorado Blizzard (Denver) was renamed the Colorado Rumble. The MASL2 added five new teams called the Cuervos de Juarez (Mexico), New Mexico Elite (Santa Fe), New Mexico Runners (Albuquerque), Rochester (NY) Lancers and a yet-to-be-named Stockton (CA) team. The MASL2 season will have each team playing a 12-game schedule from December 2018 to mid-March 2019. The MASL2 is the official developmental league of the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL). The Rochester Lancers indoor team has been idle since it last played the 2014-15 season as part of the MASL.

United Soccer League Division-III League (USL League One): The Madison (WI) team in the USL's new Division-III league, now known as USL League One, will reveal the team's name next weekend.

Major League Futsal: The MLF, which has been trying to organize a league-based system of men's and women's competitions, recently announced it will now move to a showcase competition model with various events held throughout the year. The MLF will develop a player pool that will be divided into teams for the MLF Showcase events. The first of these events will include a Phoenix-based U23 competition in December 2018 and Phoenix-based men's and women's competitions held in January 2019.


Major League Rugby: The professional rugby-union MLR announced the schedule for its second season in 2019 that will feature nine teams. The seven teams from last season called the Austin Elite Rugby, Glendale (CO) Raptors, Houston SaberCats, NOLA Gold (New Orleans), San Diego Legion, Seattle Seawolves and Utah Warriors will be joined by two expansion teams called Rugby United New York (New York City) and the Toronto Arrows. The 19-week 2019 season runs from late January to early June. The MLR plans to add three additional teams in Washington (DC), Atlanta and Boston for the 2020 season.

Arena Lacrosse League: The Canadian Ontario-based men's ALL will have all seven teams return from last season when it starts its 2019 season late next month. Teams will again include the Oshawa Outlaws, Paris RiverWolves, Peterborough Timbermen, St. Catharines ShockWave, Six Nations Snipers (Hagersville), Toronto Monarchs and the Whitby Steelhawks. Oshawa, Whitby and Peterborough will play home games at Children's Arena in Oshawa, while Six Nations and St. Catharines will play home games at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena in Hagersville. Paris and Toronto have their own home arenas. The 2019 ALL season runs from December 29, 2018 to March 31, 2019 with each team playing 14 games.

Dan Krieger is the creator of the Leagues, Teams & Nicknames, which tracks the changes in league alignments, franchise movements and team nicknames in today's sports world. The publication is available for sale at

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Major League Soccer Stories from November 12, 2018

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