29/12/2017 - As we all reflect on this past year, we quickly realize what an amazing year 2017 has been. The United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) has grown exponentially in size and scope, and we have all of you to thank.
At this time last year (2016), the California-born UPSL was a 48-team USASA regional elite league in four states, having just made an agreement with a new group of Colorado team members as new entrants to the league.
Today, the UPSL is home to 125-plus teams across 26 states coast to coast, ready to kick off the Spring 2018 Season in USASA's newly proposed National Tier 1 league with a Promotion/Relegation system connected to the UPSL's league conference structure.
That is a nearly threefold increase across all metrics from the year before, and that is amazing!
UPSL Commissioner Yan Skwara stated, "2017 was certainly a special year for the UPSL both on and off the field. Our team membership growth exceeded our projections with an increase of well over 260% in both new team membership and corporate sponsorship from the year prior. Having teams with a geographical proximity to one another has been a winning strategy for the league and its teams, as divisional play has been kept on a local level which in turn keeps travel budgets way down. Creating local rivalries while providing the adequate and respectful space to do business has been the focus when building our team conferences. The energy and momentum that the soccer community has kicked into the UPSL has truly created a momentum that is unique and something that can have a lasting effect on the game in America. The UPSL has always had a vision for the sport in America, and many folks in the soccer community are aligned with that same vision. That is what is making this league grow at the rate it's growing. Promotion/Relegation is the backbone of that vision and I am comfortable to say that Pro/Rel is what the American soccer community wants to see implemented in the game today.
Skwara continued, "Our team members, investors, sponsors, owners, players and fans want the upside that Promotion/Relegation offers. It's a model that will continue to take time to shape however we have activated a Pro/Rel system and are already live in several regions across the U.S., with our Western and Colorado Conferences now featuring two divisions: the UPSL Pro Premier Division and the UPSL Championship Division. We also must see our players active in a more competitive environment week-in and week-out so we can complete with the rest of the world. The UPSL is unique in American soccer as the only national Pro Development league to offer a year-round playing schedule. The UPSL is truly building the game. With the continued hard work and effort into the New Year from our entire UPSL staff, management, member teams and sponsors, we look forward to a successful 2018 campaign."
American Soccer is inspired by the UPSL's Promotion/Relegation Model, the only national merit-based advancement system currently in American Soccer with success stories being created right now as teams that originated in the Championship Division, like Bell Gardens FC and Lionside FC in Southern California, and GAM United in Colorado, forge histories for their clubs with promotion to the UPSL Pro Premier Division.
League-wide sponsorship has increased significantly as the UPSL expanded its in-house sponsorship and marketing team with several quality contributions from key individuals, and in 2017 the UPSL's corporate sponsors and partners included Admiral Sports, Molten USA, Wilson Trophy, Datasource, Rebound, DBS Sports, Greenglobe Pathway, OT Sports, Copa Cabana, Impact Canopies, XPO2, Liquid Nitro and Goalnation.com.
LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP
The UPSL also had a significant impact upon the number of teams participating in the qualifying rounds of the storied Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament. In qualifying for the 2018 U.S Open Cup, there were a record 130 entries with more than 40 UPSL clubs among those entered. The UPSL recognizes both the U.S. Open Cup and U.S. National Amateur Cup as sanctioned tournaments that have become part UPSL playing calendar.
On the media side, the UPSL Media Department launched a popular UPSL-only podcast to achieve additional exposure for the league on top of its already dynamic social media and PR capabilities. Additional media projects are planned for 2018 including broadcasting live games via streaming and cable.
MANAGEMENT & STAFF EXPANSION
The UPSL has morphed into a national Pro Development soccer league that is playing games across four time zones. This will have its challenges, but with an increased staff - the league has added eight new conference managers in Boston, Miami, Winston-Salem, N.C., Milwaukee, Dallas, Arizona, Salt Lake City, Boise and San Jose - and continued support from our corporate sponsors and partners, we will rise to meet the needs of our members and build the game.
The UPSL is Connecting American Soccer. This is what we do, and we thank you for being a part of it.
We wish you a prosperous New Year.
About the Author
The United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) was formed in 2011 and currently includes more than 125 teams in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. UPSL is the fastest growing Pro Development League in the USA, with 125-plus teams targeted for 2018 Spring Season.
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