Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
January 16, 2023 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Atlantic League: The independent Atlantic League's 2023 expansion team in Frederick (MD) announced a name-the-team contest that will run through this month with fans to then vote on the top selections.
Pecos League: The independent Pecos League reported funding has been approved for improvements to Sam Lynn Ballpark, which is home to the league's Bakersfield (CA) Train Robbers and also served as the 2022 home for the league's Wasco (CA) Reserve team. The league confirmed the Wasco Reserve has now folded. The Wasco team started as the Wasco Reserves in the 2019 season and changed to the Wasco Reserve the following year. The team had trouble getting organized in Wasco for the 2022 season, so its home was moved about 30 miles south to Bakersfield. The team had hoped to return to Wasco for the 2023 season, but it was not included on 2023 schedule and replaced by the new Lancaster (CA) Sound Breakers.
Mavericks Independent Baseball League: The Mavericks League announced its 2023 season schedule will feature the same four teams as last season and each playing a 48-game schedule from May 10 through August 27, 2023. Teams again include the Salem-Keizer (OR) Volcanoes, Campesinos de Salem-Keizer, Salem Senators and Portland Mavericks. All games will again be played at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer (OR). The league was organized for the 2021 season by the Salem-Keizer (OR) Volcanoes, a former short-season Class-A Northwest League that was not awarded a Major League affiliate after the restructuring of Minor League Baseball for the 2021 season.
American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA recently announced a team called the Alabama Smoke (Tuscaloosa) has been added for the 2023-24 season.
National Basketball League of Canada: The minor professional NBL-Canada started its 2023 season last weekend and features the same four Ontario-based teams (Sudbury Five, London Lightning, Kitchener-Waterloo Titans and Windsor Express) as last season. As it did in the 2022 season, each NBL-Canada team's regular-season schedule includes games against teams from The Basketball League (TBL) with those games counting in the standings. The league's season runs through May 3, 2023.
Women's America Basketball Association: The semi-pro WABA recently announced four teams called the Maryland Sparks (Baltimore), Tallahassee Vipers, Raleigh (NC) Red Storm and Syracuse Nationals have been added as 2023 expansion teams.
American West Football Conference: The indoor AWFC announced the Las Vegas Kings, Mississippi Raiders (Jackson), Capital City Cyclones (Tallahassee) and Texas Pride (Garland) from the American Indoor Football Alliance will play crossover games with the three AWFC teams for the 2023 season. The AWFC also stated a team called the Cali Gold (San Francisco Bay area), which is reported to be part of the American Arena League, will play one game at each of the AWFC venues during the 2023 season. With the Tri-Cities Rush (Pasco/Richland/Kennewick, WA) dropping out of the AWFC and leaving only three teams, the AWFC has had to look to other leagues to fill out its 2023 schedule.
Fan Controlled Football: The indoor 7-on-7 professional fan-interactive FCF is currently holding tryouts for its third season starting in May 2023. The FCF will feature the same eight teams as last season with all games held at a state-of-the-art studio in Atlanta.
Major League Football: The springtime developmental MLFB has announced plans to sell its common stock to pay off creditors from a cancelled 2022 season and continue planning for a return in 2023. The MLFB failed to start a four-team condensed inaugural season in August 2022 due to funding issues.
Eastern Hockey League: The independent Tier-III junior-level EHL recently announced three organizations with successful youth programs will add teams to the league for the 2023-24 season. The three new teams are the Boston Junior Terriers, Boston Junior Eagles and the Providence (RI) Hockey Club. The EHL also announced its lower-level EHL-Premier team called the Pennsylvania Huntsmen will add a higher-level EHL team for the 2023-24 season.
Greater Metro Hockey League: A 2022-23 expansion team called the Timber Ridge Steel Kings (British Columbia) of the Canadian junior-level GMHL has dropped out of the league due to a lack of players. The team played only four games this season. The GMHL is reported to be looking at the Alberta towns of Crowsnest Pass and Pincher Creek for 2023-24 West Division expansion teams.
Premiere Ligue de Soccer du Quebec: Major League Soccer's CF Montreal announced its reserve team will return to Canada's Division-3 PLSQ (Premier Soccer League of Quebec) for the 2023 season. The team was known as the CF Montreal U-23 in its inaugural 2022 season, but has been changed to the CF Montreal Reserve for 2023. Most MLS teams have moved their reserve/developmental teams to the MLS NEXT Pro League.
USL Super League (United Soccer League): The proposed women's Division-II USL Super League announced the start of the league's inaugural season has been pushed back from August 2023 to August 2024. The league needed more time to develop team locations and the women's pathway from youth to the professional level with a planned USL Academy for girls and current pre-professional USL W-League.
USL Championship (United Soccer League): The Division-II professional USL Championship announced its 2023 season schedule will feature 24 teams aligned in 12-team Eastern and Western conferences with each team playing a 34-game schedule from March 11 through October 14, 2023. The league had 28 teams last season, but the Oklahoma City Energy FC will not return due to home stadium issues and Major League Soccer affiliates called the Atlanta United 2, Los Angeles Galaxy II and New York Red Bulls II have moved to the MLS NEXT Pro league for the 2023 season.
USL League One (United Soccer League): The Division-III professional USL League One announced its 2023 season schedule will feature 12 teams each playing a 32-game schedule from March 17 through October 14, 2023. The league operated with 11 teams in 2022, but the FC Tucson has dropped down a level to the pre-professional USL League Two. The league added expansion teams called the Lexington Sporting Club (Lexington SC) and One Knoxville Sporting Club (One Knox SC) for the 2023 season.
Premier Ultimate League: The 12-team women's professional ultimate frisbee PUL announced a new team called the Philadelphia Surge will replace the league's only international team called the Medellín (Colombia) Revolution in the East Division for the 2023 season. The Medellin Revolution won the league championship the past two season and stated high travel costs as one of the reasons for leaving the PUL.
Major League Pickleball: The professional co-ed MLP recently announced a merger with the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) Tour's VIBE Pickleball League as a way to unify the sport of pickleball as a global co-ed team-based league. The new VIBE Pickleball League was created in conjunction with the PPA Tour and announced in early November the six-team league would start play in 2023. After the merger announcement, the MLP later announced major expansion for the 2023 season from 12 to 24 teams with the creation of a top 12-team Premier Level and a second-level 12-team Challenger Level. Each team will consist of two men and two women with the Premier Level consisting of the top 48 drafted players and the Challenger Level consisting of the next 48 drafted players.. The 2023 season will consists of two "seasons". The first three weekend events in January, March and June will feature the Premier Level teams followed by a championship night, while the second three weekend events in September, November and December will feature the Challenger Level teams followed by a championship night.
Dan Krieger is the creator of the Weekly Sports League & Franchise Report, which has been tracking changes in the sports world's leagues, teams and nicknames since April 2007.
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