The United States soccer pyramid is a collection of US professional and amateur soccer leagues. The US soccer pyramid appears complicated, and for good reason. Additionally, since there isn’t currently promotion or relegation in US soccer, it might be challenging to gauge the actual quality of play.
A team’s ability to advance up the league after a season based on its performance is known as promotion or relegation. In American words, it would be similar to having a Division 2 NFL league. After a good season, the best teams move to the top division. This guide explains the United States soccer pyramid in detail.
Major League Soccer is the premier professional league in the United States. The USL is a league of minor leagues as well. The only authorized USSF Division I men’s outdoor soccer league in the country is Major League Soccer (MLS). MLS now has 29 clubs as of the 2023 season, up from 10 teams in 1996.
Here is the list of top professional soccer leagues in the USA:
- MLS: Professional
- Professional USL Championship
- USL League 1, MLS Next Pro – Professional, National Independent Soccer Association (NISA)
- NISA Nation – Semi-Pro/Elite Amateur, USL League 2, United Premier Soccer League (UPSL), National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), and
- Eastern Premier Soccer League (EPSL) – Elite Amateur at the regional level. These are regional leagues as opposed to the national leagues in the tiers above.
- State level – State Association Leagues of the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) operate at the state level. The United Soccer League of Pennsylvania (USL PA) is an Elite Amateur league that is a part of the Eastern Pennsylvania Soccer Association (EPSA) in Pennsylvania.
- City Level – Amateur in the Philadelphia House League at the city level is CASA. However, this is an unofficial seventh-division designation; here is to illustrate that USL PA would govern the CASA Soccer League.
- Recreation – Players can also participate in officially organized games through recreational and intramural leagues like Heyday. It is an unofficial 8 but illustrates how CASA would apply to recreational leagues.
Best Route For American Youth Soccer Pyramid
Determining which route is best for an athlete may be challenging when there are numerous governing bodies. Every company prioritizes the player’s growth and offers fantastic chances through its leagues. But it’s not always obvious which is the best course of action. It is a synopsis and breakdown of every youth soccer club level.
Youth academy soccer is something that most soccer teams in your area will provide. These teams, who travel from U8 to U10, are more competitive than town teams and usually offer more advanced coaching. Although it’s not always the case, becoming a paid coach usually follows from volunteering.
At this level, clubs are constantly searching for a larger pool of young players to help spot talent at an earlier age.
U.S. Club Soccer has authorized the NPL, and clubs may play if they field teams in each age division. The NPL provides playoffs for the top clubs in each member league and showcases tournaments.
National League Conferences: The top NLC conference, Premier I, is divided into regions. There is typically a second tier known as Premier II.
The ECRL was created to enhance communication and cooperation across teams operating at various levels within the same ECNL club. While ECNL teams play nationwide, restrict the ECRL teams to playing teams in their local area.
Within the NPL hierarchy, ENPL is the highest level. Regional teams from each state compete against other teams in the same region.
ECNL was initially created with females in mind, but it has since grown to include a boys-only program. You can expect each club member to uphold a reasonably high standard regarding facilities and instruction.
Most major soccer organizations participate in the ECNL, one of the most inventive youth soccer leagues in the United States.
The DPL is a nationwide league for all girls that offers the best youth soccer teams in the United States a competitive environment. To develop the player and empower the person in a purposeful and memorable environment is their catchphrase.
The USYS-sanctioned Girls DA was replaced by the GA, established to train female players for collegiate teams and maybe the women’s national team.
MLS Next, formerly the Development Academy (DA), is the top division for boys’ soccer teams. Major League Soccer (MLS) is associated with MLS Next, which begins at U13 and can serve as a feeder program for the professional teams in each league.
It is critical to comprehend the hierarchy and levels of competition within the expansive and dynamic American soccer pyramid. The U.S. Soccer Pyramid is a complex structure with multiple stages, each of which contributes to the expansion and advancement of the sport in the country. Let’s see the various tiers of this pyramid:
- Major League Soccer (MLS)
- United Soccer League Championship
- USL League One
- USL League Two
The Professional Division of the United States Soccer Federation has sanctioned five professional leagues for men’s soccer teams. Major League Soccer (MLS) is the highest-level men’s league; the USL Championship is the second-level men’s league.
Nevertheless, the league’s perspective on the matter has evolved significantly. Courtemanche said MLS would not have given it a chance ten years ago. It says there are no plans today, but you should never say never.
Every year, US Youth Soccer registers close to 2.5 million players. US Youth Soccer is improving the game for its 10,000 clubs and leagues, 54 Member State Associations, and around 1 million administrators, coaches, and volunteers through its programming, resources, and leadership.