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Luis Ortega (@luisger94)

First level soccer environment. That is the United Soccer League (USL). The USL can be seen as the 3rd division of soccer in the United States. Currently in playoffs, the games are attractive and well supported, extremely well compared to any other 3rd division in the whole continent. Economic sustainability, enviable public attendance statistics and good soccer are the characteristics of this tournament, some of them not even seen at many 1st divisions in Latin America.

Louisville City – Charleston Battery

A spot in the Eastern Conference Finals was in stake. The city responded to its team, 8517 people paid for a ticket to be present at the stadium. 52 ˚F in a windy night, but that did not stop the people from supporting their team for 90 minutes and then 30 minutes more of extra time. Great organization and staff, baseball field converted into a soccer pitch for the night and an incredible group of fans that cheered for the entire 120 minutes in a peaceful behavior as expected.

Louisville ended up winning 2-0 in the extra time with 2 goals scored by the former MLS player Matthew Fondy, who also set a new single season goal scoring record in the USL this same season.

Louisville City FC is the example of success for a recently established soccer club.

Compared to Latin America

If we go over the 3rd division soccer leagues in Latin America, only the Brasileirao Serie C can be compared in terms of attendance. If we talk about monetary sustainability, USL can be in the top 10 in the whole continent, including 1st divisions, taking in consideration that even in some  1st divisions there are teams constantly going broke or that have huge  debts.

All the accomplishments of this league are just the result of great organization that can be seen in every sport in the United States. If we go even further, we could be able to realize that college soccer in North America is better handled and moves more money than many professional leagues in Central and South America.

There is no doubt that corruption and lack of organization are the main factors that make some Latin American soccer leagues to stand below the level (not of the game) of a 3rd division tournament. United States is becoming a leader in the sport in the whole continent. With all the success that the MLS is having, it is easy to say that the leagues beneath it are following the right path. Soccer in North America could soon evolve to be the best soccer league in the continent in the matters of achievement and success.

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