What seems to be a daily merry-go-round of press releases and speculation, the United Soccer Leagues (USL) and North American Soccer League (NASL) continue on towards 2010. The latest news came from the Wilmington Hammerheads, who played in the USL-2. It was announced that the Hammerheads could not find a new ownership group and will not compete in 2010.
The news about Wilmington was preceded by the recent announcement that Crystal Palace Baltimore and Tampa Bay Rowdies would both leave the USL for the newly formed NASL. The latest word, although it has not been announced, is that the Rochester Rhinos will also follow these teams to the NASL. This would give the NASL 10 teams for 2010. The USL, a league with two divisions and 20 professional teams in 2009, are now looking at potentially having just 13 total teams for next season.
Here is a look at what 2010 Tier II could look like:
Crystal Palace Baltimore
St. Louis United (Expansion team)
Tampa Bay Rowdies (Expansion team)
Vancouver Whitecaps (Will move to MLS in 2011; Plan to have U23 team in NASL)
Cleveland City Stars
FC New York (Expansion team)
Portland Timbers (Will move to MLS in 2011)
Puerto Rico Islanders
USL-2 (Eight teams)
Harrisburg City Islanders
Real Maryland Monarchs
Western Mass Pioneers