US Youth Soccer unveils new National Leagues Program structure
FRISCO, Texas (Via US Youth Soccer) — US Youth Soccer has unveiled its new US Youth Soccer National Leagues Program for high-level competitive leagues that will kick-off in the 2018-19 soccer season. The US Youth Soccer National Leagues Program will feature a network of Conferences (formerly known as Regional Leagues) that are more geographically focused, under one leadership and management structure, and linked into the National League and National Championship Series.
The current system of US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues (Eastern Regional League, Midwest Regional League, Southern Regional Premier League and the Far West Regional League) will cease to exist at the conclusion of the 2017-18 soccer season.
The new US Youth Soccer National Leagues Program structure for 2018-19 will commence in the Fall of 2018 and will feature two tiers of competition:
- The National Tier called the US Youth Soccer National League that will feature a total of 176 teams in the 13U through 19U age groups in each gender. [National League qualified teams for 2018-19]
- The Multi-State Tier comprised of leagues each individually called a US Youth Soccer National League (Geographic Area) Conference [in the previous system these were known as the Regional Leagues]
The Conferences are now under the management umbrella of the US Youth Soccer National League. League Managers will oversee the day-to-day activities of the Conferences in accordance with National Leagues Policy and the National Leagues Rules and Regulations.
For teams participating in the Conferences (during the 2018-19 soccer season), the long-time linkage with the National Championship Series Regionals and the National League will continue. In addition to the traditional team vs team model of play within each Conference, newly formed club vs club brackets may be offered and would serve as additional pathways to the National League and Regional Championships.
Specifically, teams playing in the top tier of the 13U through 19U age groups within the Conferences will continue to have an opportunity to play for a spot in the 2019 US Youth Soccer Regional Championships. 13U through 18U teams playing in the top tiers of each Conference can also earn qualification into the following season’s National League (2019-20 NL Season). Premier I level slots earned during the current (2017-18 soccer season) Regional Leagues system will be honored at the Premier I tier within a team’s respective Conference in 2018-19. The Leagues Program will also be developing a series of US Youth Soccer National Showcase events involving both National League and Conference teams.
“US Youth Soccer is committed to supporting and serving our members, delivering best-in-class regional and national level competitions and establishing well-organized and clearly defined pathways that represent the best fit for players and teams,” said Chris Moore, US Youth Soccer CEO. “We are on the cutting edge of delivering a consistent playing experience across the country, and this completely revamped league structure will enable us to meet the needs of our teams and clubs into the future.”
FIRST EIGHT CONFERENCES ANNOUNCED
The US Youth Soccer National Leagues also announced its first eight Conferences based primarily in all of US Youth Soccer’s South Region and part of the East Region. Additional Conferences covering the remainder of the country will be announced soon.
Within part of the East Region, US Youth Soccer has entered into a long-term agreement with EDP as the League Manager for the four Conferences starting in the 2018-19 season. The four Conferences to be managed by EDP are:
- US Youth Soccer National League New England EDP Conference
- US Youth Soccer National League North Atlantic EDP Conference
- US Youth Soccer National League Mid Atlantic EDP Conference
- US Youth Soccer National League South Atlantic EDP Conference
“As we launch our new National Leagues program in the East, there is no better partner than EDP in order to guide and manage our competitive teams,” US Youth Soccer National League Commissioner Paul Luchowski said. “EDP has almost 20 years of successful experience in developing and managing tournaments and leagues along the Eastern seaboard. EDP is known for building relationships and providing quality programming for teams and clubs.”
“US Youth Soccer’s commitment to reimagining their family of leagues programming while establishing clear alignment with the prestigious National League and National Championship Series made this a very attractive opportunity for EDP,” EDP CEO Alan Shilling said. “This newly established structure will provide teams with a fully integrated games program that combines league play, cup play and college showcase play, which is exactly what teams and clubs want.”
Within the South Region, the US Youth Soccer National Leagues announced the formation of the following Conferences:
- US Youth Soccer National League Piedmont Conference
- US Youth Soccer National League Sunshine Conference
- US Youth Soccer National League Mid-South Conference
- US Youth Soccer National League Frontier Conference
The US Youth Soccer Leagues program recently hired Mike Leland to manage the four Conferences based in the South Region. Leland has more than ten years of youth soccer management experience and most recently served as the Director Competitions for the South Texas Youth Soccer Association (STYSA). While with STYSA, Leland was heavily involved in all league and cup competitions within the state, as well as with the regional league.
“We are pleased to have Mike spearhead all of our Conferences in the South,” said Luchowski. “Without a doubt having Mike’s leadership and understanding of the highly competitive leagues and cups programming at the state, regional and national levels will be a huge benefit in his dealings with state associations, but more importantly with the participating teams and clubs in our National Leagues program.”
“The new US Youth Soccer National League structure has immense potential and I look forward to working with clubs and state associations to build Conferences that best serve both the regional and national markets,” said Leland. “I am honored to lead the Conferences in the South to achieve both a high level of competition and professional management. “