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 United Soccer League Championship

Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
December 4, 2023 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)


BASEBALL

Pioneer Baseball League: The independent Pioneer League, which is a partner league with Major League Baseball, announced a new team called the Oakland Ballers, or Oakland B's, will be added for the 2024 season and part of the league's proposed new Pacific West Division. A second team based in Northern California is expected to be added to the new division in January. The owners of the Oakland Ballers wanted to add a team to the city since Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics are planning a move to Las Vegas. The owners plan to renovate the stadium on the campus of Laney College as the Ballers' home. The Pioneer League operated with ten teams throughout Montana, Utah, Colorado, and Idaho in 2023.

Liga Mexicana del Pacifico: Mexico's professional fall-winter season LMP, or Mexican Pacific League, is currently playing its 2023-24 season, which features the same ten teams as last season and again aligned in a single-table format. Each team will play 24 games through December 30, 2023, followed by playoffs.

The Western League: The independent Pecos League's affiliated pay-to-play winter showcase and prospect exposure league known as The Western League started its short 2023 schedule this week with all games played at the Coastal Baseball Park in Houston. The current schedule lists only two teams called the Weimar Hormingas and Colorado Snow Sox playing games through this weekend.

BASKETBALL

CIBACOPA (Circuito de Baloncesto de la Costa del Pacifico): The Mexican spring-season men's professional CIBACOPA, or Pacific Coast Basketball League, recently announced its 2024 schedule that will feature ten teams each playing 35 or 36 games from March 1 through May 18, 2024. All eight teams will return from last season and the league added the new Angeles de Ciudad de Mexico (Angels of Mexico City) and the returning Guasave Frayles team, which last played in the league's 2018 season.

FOOTBALL

Canadian Football League: As part of the CFL's "Touchdown Series", which is about promoting the CFL game to new communities, the league will hold a 2024 regular-season neutral-site game in Victoria (British Columbia) as part of the new "Touchdown Pacific". The CFL has used "Touchdown Atlantic" to hold regular-season games in the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as it tries to add an expansion team in Atlantic Canada. The CFL is making one last push for an expansion team in Halifax (Nova Scotia) and stated "Touchdown Pacific" is not about bringing a permanent team to Victoria.

International Football Alliance: The new minor professional IFA, which plans to start play in June 2024 with three teams in Mexico and three teams in the United States, announced the Las Vegas Kings as the second team in the United States along with the Dallas Pioneros (Pioneers). El Paso (TX) is no longer listed as a potential IFA team location and San Diego is reported to be under consideration for the third team in the United States. The Mexican teams will include the Tequileros de Jalisco (Guadalajara), Tiburones de Cancun (Quintana Roo), and Raramuris de Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua). An indoor football team called the Las Vegas Kings was a member of the 2023 American Indoor Football Alliance but played mostly non-league games against teams from the indoor American West Football Conference in 2023.

XFL: The springtime XFL and United States Football League have successfully completed the antitrust review for its proposed merger and the new combined league plans to start play on March 30, 2024. An official announcement on the participating teams and the new league's name is still to come.

HOCKEY

ECHL: The ECHL's new expansion team near Lake Tahoe be called the Tahoe Knight Monsters when it starts play at the new 4,200-seat Tahoe Blue Event Center in Stateline (NV) for the 2024-25 season. The name comes from a fictional dragon-like creature that is said to reside in Lake Tahoe.

Junior Women's Hockey League: The developmental JWHL's top Under-19 Division is currently playing its 2023-24 season with eight teams. All seven teams from last season have returned and the league added the Rothesay (New Brunswick) Netherwood School for 2023-24. Three teams are based in the United States (New York, Massachusetts and Washington, DC) and the other four are based in Canada (British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba, and Prince Edward Island). The season consists of all teams participating in six regional weekend events through early March 2024.

Professional Women's Hockey League: The new six-team PWHL announced its inaugural 2024 season schedule will feature each team playing 24 games from January 1 through May 5, 2024. Although none of the teams have been assigned nicknames, the league did announce the home venues for each team. The Boston team will play at the Tsongas Center in Lowell (MA). Minnesota will play at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The Ottawa team will use The Arena at TD Place in Ottawa. Toronto will use the Mattamy Athletic Centre in downtown Toronto. Montreal will split games between the Place Bell in Laval (Quebec) and the Verdun Auditorium in Montreal. The New York team will use both the Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport (CT) and the UBS Arena in Elmont (NY) for home games.

SOCCER

USL Championship (United Soccer League): The men's Division-II professional USL Championship league announced its Milwaukee expansion team will push back its start from 2025 to the 2026 season. Site development is underway and construction on a new 8,000-seat soccer stadium will start in the spring of 2024. The Milwaukee Pro Soccer group recently announced ten finalists for fans to vote on a team name. These names include the Milwaukee Tall Boys, Milwaukee Barons, Goodland, Milwaukee Brigade, Lake Effect, Fresh Coast, Milwaukee Iron, Cream City, 1846 Milwaukee, and Milwaukee Industrial.

USL W-League (United Soccer League): The women's pre-professional W-League announced the Orlando-based Brooke House FC will add a team in the W-League and a men's team in the pre-professional USL League for the 2024 season. The teams will be affiliated with England's Brooke House College Football Academy, which also operates an academy in Orlando.

OTHER

National Lacrosse League: The indoor professional NLL started its 2023-24 season this week with the same 15 teams as last season and each playing 18 games through April 21, 2024. The league eliminated the eight-team East Conference and seven-team West Conference and has aligned all teams in one 15-team single-table format referred to as the "Unified Standings". As part of the NLL's UnBOXed initiative to market the NLL to various other cities in the United States and Canada, the league will host a regular-season game in Laval (Quebec), just outside of Montreal. The NLL recently announced the Castors de Montreal brand for marketing the league to Montreal under the UnBOXed initiative.

Major League Rugby: The professional rugby union MLR announced the league's Toronto Arrows team has ceased operations and will not be part of the league's 2024 season. The Arrows team joined the MLR for the 2019 season and was the league's only Canadian team. The MLR had 12 teams in 2023 and is expected to remain at 12 teams in 2024 with the previous addition of the Miami Sharks expansion team.

Pro Volleyball Federation: The new indoor PVF indoor women's professional volleyball league announced its Las Vegas team will be called the Vegas Thrill, based in suburban Henderson (NV), when the inaugural season starts in January 2024 with seven teams. The other 2024 teams include the Atlanta Vibe, Columbus (OH) Fury, Grand Rapids (MI) Rise, Omaha Supernovas, Orlando Valkyries, and San Diego Mojo. Expansion teams for Dallas and Kansas City (MO) have been announced for the 2025 season.

Dan Krieger is the creator of the Weekly Sports League & Franchise Report, which has been tracking the changes in the sports world's leagues, teams, and nicknames since April 2007.


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