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 United Soccer League One

Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
April 22, 2024 - United Soccer League One (USL1)


BASEBALL

Liga Mexicana de Beisbol: Mexico's top-level professional LMB, or Mexican Baseball League, recently started its 2024 season with 20 teams aligned in a ten-team Zona Norte (North Division) and a Zona Sur (South Division). The league expanded to 20 teams this season with the addition of the new Dorados de Chihuahua (Chihuahua City) to the Zona Norte and the Conspiradores de Querétaro (Huimilpan) to the Zona Sur. The LMB had a previous team called the Dorados de Chihuahua that relocated to become the Rieleros de Aquascalientes for the 2012 season. Each LMB team will play 93 games through August 1.

Pacific Coast League: The Las Vegas Aviators of the Triple-A PCL played a game this weekend as the Las Vegas Gamblers as part of a “What If” promotion with alternative uniforms and logos.

Texas League: The Corpus Christi Hooks of the Double-A Texas League played the first of several games this season as the Corpus Christi Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits. This name started back in 2021 and will be used to promote every Wednesday home game as a Whataburger Family Day.

Prospect League: After the Clinton (IA) LumberKings of the summer-collegiate Prospect League announced a name change to the Clinton Shadflies as part of an April Fool's prank, fans responded and persuaded the team to take on this alternate identity, also called mayflies. The team will become the Clinton Shadflies for every Friday home game this season as part of the Shadfly Night promotion.

South Atlantic League: The Bowling Green (KY) Hot Rods of the Low-A SAL will play a game in July of the 2024 season as the Bowling Green Hot Dogs as the team hosts Joey Chestnut, the 16-time Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest winner.

BASKETBALL

American Basketball Association: The men's semi-pro ABA announced teams called the New York Lights (Poughkeepsie) and Naperville (IL) Wiseguys have been added for the 2024-25 season.

Women's National Basketball Association: Speaking about future expansion prior to the 2024 player draft, the WNBA commissioner stated the league is looking to add a 14th team by the 2026 season with the markets of Toronto, Portland (OR), Denver, Philadelphia, Nashville and South Florida under consideration. A San Francisco Bay Area team was previously announced as the league's 13th team that is expected to start play in 2025. The commissioner also stated the league could then grow to 16 teams with another two expansion teams possibly added by the 2028 season.

FOOTBALL

Arena Football League: Just ahead of the AFL's reboot next week for a 2024 season, the league's Louisiana Voodoo announced the team will be moving its home venue from Lake Charles to Lafayette. The Georgia Force has just two home games scheduled, both the final two weeks of the regular season. The AFL's Philadelphia Soul will play its three 2024 home games at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton (NJ). The league's Nashville Kats will play one of its home games at F&M Bank Arena in Clarksville (TN), about 50 miles northwest of Nashville, with the remainder of home games to be played in Nashville.

Women's National Football Conference: The semi-pro WNFC recently started its 2024 season with the same 15 teams as last season and again aligned in five-team Atlantic, Central and Pacific divisions. Each team will play a six-game schedule through May 18, 2024.

American Women's Football League: The new semi-pro AWFL recently started its inaugural 2024 season with eight teams aligned in four-team Northern and Southern conferences. Each team will play a five-game schedule through June 18, 2024.

HOCKEY

National Hockey League: The NHL announced the Arizona Coyotes franchise will become inactive and the owner of the National Basketball Association's Utah Jazz (Salt Lake City) will purchase the team's players and other assets and establish a yet-to-be-named “Utah” franchise in Salt Lake City starting with the 2024-25 season. The NHL was not satisfied with the prospect of the Coyotes playing the next several seasons at the 4,500-seat Mullett Arena in Tempe. The owner of the Arizona Coyotes will retain the team name and can reestablish a future NHL expansion team if a new NHL-style hockey arena is built in the Phoenix market within the next five years. The Coyotes' owner also owns the Tucson Roadrunners of the American Hockey League (AHL) and a possible move of the AHL team to Mullett Arena is being considered. The Arizona Coyotes started as the Winnipeg Jets team that played eight seasons (1971-79) in the former World Hockey Association before joining the NHL for the 1979-80 season. The team relocated to become the Phoenix Coyotes for the 1996-97 season and was renamed the Arizona Coyotes in 2014.

Ontario Hockey League: The owner of the major-junior OHL's Brantford Bulldogs team, which is the renamed Hamilton Bulldogs team temporarily playing three seasons (2023-26) in Brantford during major renovations to Hamilton's FirstOntario Centre, stated the team will remain in Brantford if the city moves forward on construction of a new hockey arena. The city of Brantford has agreed to seek private sector investors for the project and a decision whether to proceed is expected in late 2024. If approved, the new arena could break ground as early as 2025 and open in 2027.

SOCCER

National Independent Soccer Association: The men's Division-III professional NISA recently started its 2024 season with nine teams aligned in a five-team East Conference and a four-team West Conference. Last season, the league had nine teams aligned in a single-table format but the Flower City/ Salt City Union (Rochester/Auburn, NY), Albion San Diego, Gold Star FC Detroit and Chattanooga FC did not return. Gold Star FC will rebrand under new ownership for a return in 2025, while the Chattanooga FC moved to the MLS Next Pro league for 2024. The league added four new teams called the Capistrano FC, or Capo FC (San Juan Capistrano, CA), Irvine (CA) Zeta FC, the Phoenix-based Arizona Monsoon and the league-assisted Georgia FC (Conyers), which was originally supposed to be the Georgia Lions SC. Teams will play 22-24 games through September 22, 2024.

National Indoor Soccer League: The NISL, which was playing its current 2024 season with five active clubs each operating a men's and a women's team in doubleheader events, has not played a scheduled game since March 3. This was about the time the six-team men's league known as Major League Indoor Soccer (MLIS) announced it had purchased the NISL with plans to start its own women's indoor league next season. NISL teams were originally scheduled to play 12-games schedules through June 5 but they had only played two to four scheduled games when the NISL was purchased. The MLIS purchase is also to include a sixth NISL club-the dormant Foundry FC based in Columbus (GA).

United Women's Soccer: The pro-am UWS recently announced teams called the Rockford (IL) Raptors SC and the Firebirds SC (Lombard, IL) have been added for the upcoming 2024 season. The UWS developmental/reserve league known as the UWS League Two (UWS2) has also added the Ole FC Mutiny (Monroe, CT) and MSI (Rockville, MD) for the 2024 season.

USL League One (United Soccer League): A group called USL Eugene (OR) announced plans to bring a men's professional soccer team to the city's rebuilt 3,500-seat Civic Park Stadium, possibly for the 2025 season, as part of the Division-III USL League One. The founders of USL Eugene are involved with the city's amateur club called the Lane County United, which operates pre-professional teams in the women's USL W-League and the men's USL League Two. The USL Eugene group also wants to launch a women's professional soccer team in the future.

OTHER

Northwoods League Softball: The new women's summer-collegiate Northwoods League Softball, which will be operated by the men's summer-collegiate baseball league known as the Northwoods League and start play in June 2024 with four teams, announced the Madison (WI) softball team to be operated by the Madison Mallards baseball team will be called the Madison Night Mares. The league's three other teams are the La Crosse (WI) Steam, Mankato (MN) Habaneros and Minot (ND) Honeybees.

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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