Columbus switches USL PRO affiliations

The Columbus Crew will team up with the Austin Aztex to send players from its first team to the new USL PRO club for the 2015 season. The Crew, who had affiliated with the Dayton Dutch Lions in 2014, will work with Austin Aztex head coach Paul Dalglish, who was named the Aztex head coach for its first season after playing in the PDL.

If all the other MLS clubs renew their affiliation agreements, the four MLS clubs without agreements -- Colorado, FC Dallas, New York and NYCFC -- will have eight USL PRO clubs to choose from for their mandatory USL arrangement.

“We are very excited about starting a relationship with Austin Aztex to assist our player development efforts,” said Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter. “After a series of meetings with the club, we were impressed with the energy, resources and commitment of their ownership group and new technical staff and feel the club will provide a good environment to continue the development of some of our younger professionals.”

The Aztex won the PDL title in 2013, its third season in the amateur league. It will be one of 12 new teams for the USL PRO in 2015. It will have 24 teams, up from 13 in 2014. (Orlando City will join MLS.)

“It was important for our organization when choosing our affiliate to make our decision based on the people involved,” said Dalglish, who has worked with Houston and Real Salt Lake, in a statement. “After a number of meetings and conversations between the ownership groups, management, and technical staff we felt the Austin Aztex and Columbus Crew SC were the ideal match in terms of philosophy on and off the field. We are excited and privileged to partner with Crew SC in our inaugural year.”

2015 USL PRO:
Arizona United
*Austin Aztex (Columbus Crew '15)
Charleston Battery
Charlotte Independence (Colorado Rapids '15)
*Colorado Springs Switchbacks
Dayton Dutch Lions
Harrisburg City Islanders (Philadelphia Union '14)
*FC Montreal (Montreal Impact '15)
LA Galaxy II (LA Galaxy '15)
*Louisville City (Orlando City '15)
OC Blues
OKC Energy FC (Sporting KC '14)
Pittsburgh Riverhounds (Houston Dynamo '14)
*Real Monarchs SLC (Real Salt Lake '15)
Richmond Kickers (D.C. United '15)
Rochester Rhinos (New England Revolution '14)
Sac Republic FC (San Jose Earthquakes '14)
*Saint Louis FC
*Sounders 2 (Seattle Sounders '15)
*Timbers 2 (Portland Timbers 15)
*Toronto (name TBA '15)
*Tulsa Roughnecks
*Whitecaps FC 2 (Vancouver Whitecaps '15)
Wilmington Hammerheads

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