Nike Sells USL to NuRock Soccer
On August 27, the United Soccer Leagues (USL) announced that NuRock Soccer Holdings LLC had purchased the leagues from Nike for an undisclosed amount.
Based in Atlanta, NuRock Soccer Holdings LLC is led by Rob Hoskins and former NASL player Alec Papadakis. They currently own the Atlanta Blackhawks of the Premier Development League (PDL), an U23 amateur league that is part of the USL. NuRock also own the rights to aquire a USL-1 (the top USL league) franchise in Atlanta and Birmingham marketplaces.
Hoskins is a well-known real estate developer with NuRock Companies, which NuRock Soccer is part of.
Nike had purchased the USL in 2007 as part of their acquisition of Umbro. As part of the sale agreement, Nike/Umbro agreed to a long-term deal to stay on as a sponsor and exclusive ball supplier of the USL.
Founded in 1986, the USL is made up of two professional leagues (USL First Division and USL Second Division), and four amateur leagues (Premier Development League, Super-20 League, Super-Y League and W-League). Its structure is more in line with the relegation systems of most other football/soccer associations around the world.
Major League Soccer (MLS) , the top tier league in North America, currently has 15 teams divided into two separate conferences similar to other major sports leagues in the United States. MLS has planned expansion for franchises in Philadelphia (2010), Portland and Vancouver (2011).
Portland and Vancouver currently have teams competing in the USL First Division.