United Soccer Leagues president Tim Holt has a clear, comprehensive vision for the growth of minor league soccer in the USA, despite the fact that USL's flagship professional league, the USL First Division, nearly became extinct. In January, U.S. Soccer Federation forced USL-1 and NASL to join forces for one season after several teams left USL for NASL.
In the next decade, Holt hopes to build a national soccer league that will stretch from South Carolina to California and points in between. Holt envisions a 24-to-32 team league made up of five or six different divisions. A league that has a solid regional foundation, but with a national footprint. Teams would play against their regional rivals throughout the regular season and only travel on a national scale during the playoffs.
With Portland and Vancouver headed to MLS in 2011 and Montreal in 2012, Holt said he hopes to have at least eight teams and as many as 10 franchises in USL-1 next summer. FC New York has already announced plans to join USL-1 in 2011.