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Crowd Count: Ranking the Division 2 teams
by Paul Kennedy, January 8th, 2017 7:56PM
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TAGS:  nasl, usl


The NASL and USL will both play with provisional Division 2 status in 2017. That puts the number of Division 2 teams at 38 -- 30 in the USL and eight in the NASL.

Minor-league soccer remains a tough business as just nine of the returning D2 teams averaged more than 5,000 fans a game in 2016, and almost half -- including every MLS second team -- averaged less than 3,000 a game.

Neither the NASL nor USL published contemporaneous league-wide attendance figures during the 2016 season. Attendance figures were compiled at, which has tracked soccer attendance in U.S. leagues going back 40 years.

In only three seasons -- the USL First Division in 2008 and NASL in 2014 and 2015 -- has a Division 2 league averaged more than 5,000 fans a game. The NASL and USL averaged 4,736 (down 20 percent) and 3,439 (up 3 percent), respectively, in 2015.

Attendance Leaders (Division 2 teams):
2016 AVG. (RANK) TEAM (2017 LEAGUE)
17,296 (1) FC Cincinnati (USL)
11,514 (2) Sac Republic FC (USL)
8,396 (3) Indy Eleven (NASL)
7,218 (4) Louisville City (USL)
6,170 (5) San Antonio FC (USL)
5,676 (6) *Tampa Bay Rowdies (USL)
5,484 (7) *Ottawa Fury (USL)
5,427 (8) Miami FC (NASL)
5,058 (9) **North Carolina FC (NASL)
4,950 (10) OKC Energy FC  (USL)
4,923 (11) Saint Louis FC (USL)
3,996 (12) Richmond Kickers USL)
3,950 (13) Tulsa Roughnecks (USL)
3,801 (14) Puerto Rico FC (NASL)
3,775 (15) New York Cosmos (NASL)
3,655 (16) Rochester Rhinos (USL)
3,571 (17) Charleston Battery (USL)
3,499 (18) Jacksonville Armada (NASL)
3,152 (19) Colo. Springs Switchbacks USL)
2,573 (20) Bethlehem Steel (USL)
2,528 (21) Real Monarchs (USL)
2,494 (22) Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL)
2,323 (23) Portland Timbers 2
2,060 (24) FC Edmonton (NASL)
1,994 (25) Rio Grande Valley FC
1,779 (26) Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
1,753 (27) Swope Park Rangers
1,547 (28) Harrisburg City Islanders
1,470 (29) Arizona United
1,401 (30) Seattle Sounders FC 2
1,375 (31) Charlotte Independence
1,211 (32) LA Galaxy II
1,026 (33) Toronto FC II
1,010 (34) Orange County Blues
925 (35) Orlando City B
589 (36) NY Red Bulls II
*Played in the NASL in 2016.
**Played as Carolina RailHawks in 2016.
2017 Expansion Teams: San Francisco Deltas (NASL), Reno 1868 (USL).

  1. Jen Russ
    commented on: January 9, 2017 at 12:31 p.m.
    Like anything else soccer related in Usa, just change the name to something better and hope people will eat it up. I mean common on now. Why should any of the 2 leagues be seen as D2? If anything Usl has a conflict of interests with being Mls affiliate league that has no hope of ever being named a D1 league. Thats only becayse they kissed the ring and are mediicre in their ambitions and somehow thats now a good thing because its "busniess". Nasl has to invest strongly and much more aggressively in American youth to attract the fans away from Mls. Thats their only shot.
  1. don Lamb
    commented on: January 10, 2017 at 11:09 a.m.
    We need a solid D2 that is set up to develop players. We don't need a D2 that has ambitions of buying big name players and overthrowing the current D1 which is doing swimmingly. Your suggested strategy of NASL spending aggressively has proven to be suicide. What you are calling for is horribly unstable for the game in the US. Their is a huge wave of success that you are completely ignoring in favor of some pipe dream that has been proven to be a horrible idea.
  1. Jen Russ
    commented on: January 9, 2017 at 12:32 p.m.
    If neither league met D2 requirements why not call them both D3s then? Not as sexy?
  1. Anthony Pignataro
    commented on: January 9, 2017 at 3:02 p.m.
    They should divvy the teams up based on attendance.. top 15 or so D2, Next 15 or so D3, with all the MLS affiliates D3. MLS should have an ownership intetrest in all 3 leagues (MLS,NASL,USL).
  1. Stephan Fatschel
    commented on: January 10, 2017 at 8:58 a.m.
    Anthony that makes good sense. In addition let NASL fold. MLS or USL should run D2, D3 and D4. NASL teams added to USL.

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