NYCFC and Chicago name USL affiliates

MLS expansion club New York City FC signed a one-year affiliate agreement with USL PRO's Wilmington Hammerheads, while the Chicago Fire will team up with USL PRO expansion team Saint Louis FC for the 2015 season.

Wilmington was founded in 1996 and has since qualified for the USL playoffs in 13 of the 18 seasons as a club, including in 2014. The Hammerheads have had success on a national level in the past, winning the USL Pro Select League in 2003 and defeating MLS franchises in the U.S. Open Cup in 2003 and 2009. They worked with Toronto FC in 2014. Toronto will operate its own USL PRO club in 2015 in Vaughan, Ontario.
 
“We’re excited to partner with Saint Louis FC as our USL PRO affiliate,” said Chicago Fire technical director Brian Bliss. “This is a great opportunity for our players to gain valuable playing time and continue their development in a competitive environment. St. Louis is a city with a rich soccer history and a tradition of producing talented players, and this partnership will allow our organization to broaden our reach in the Midwest.”
 
Saint Louis FC will play at the 6,000-seat Soccer Park in Fenton, Mo. Its coach will be Dale Schilly.

2015 MLS and USL PRO affiliates:
Chicago Fire: Saint Louis FC
Colorado Rapids: Charlotte Independence
Columbus Crew: Austin Aztex
D.C. United: Richmond Kickers
FC Dallas: *Arizona United
Houston Dynamo: Charleston Battery
New England Revolution: Rochester Rhinos
New York City FC: Wilmington Hammerheads
Orlando City: Louisville City FC
Philadelphia Union: *Harrisburg City Islanders
San Jose Earthquakes: *Sacramento Republic
Sporting KC: OKC Energy FC
Note: MLS's other eight clubs will operate their own second teams.
*Unconfirmed.
4 comments about "NYCFC and Chicago name USL affiliates".
  1. Mike Jacome, January 20, 2015 at 4:38 p.m.

    I still don't understand why the Galaxy and the Sounders operate their own GalaxyII and Sounders 2 teams. I mean as popular as the Sounders are here in Seattle I don't see much market for a USL PRO team when we already have a MLS franchise. Wouldn't have been a better idea to find a supporter base for a USL PRO franchise in Spokane or Yakima or even as far as Boise, ID. The team could have been branded with a name representing the city identity but still operated by the SSFC. Just an idea.

  2. Adam Tondowsky, January 20, 2015 at 6:06 p.m.

    I tend to agree with you Mike. It's not only Los Angeles and Seattle though. Vancouver, Portland, Toronto and Montreal are also putting USL minor league teams in the same city. At least Montreal will give away tickets to the USL team for free.

    That said, while it probably would have been better for the Whitecaps to locate their affiliate in Victoria, I plan to get season tickets for the USL team.

    Only, the Colorado Rapids have affiliated their USL minor league team in Colorado Springs and I forget which MLS team has located their minor league affiliate in Louisville, Kentucky.

  3. Glenn Maddock, January 21, 2015 at 4:48 p.m.

    The reason is expense. Why have to fly players in & out of your MLS city, when they can already be in the same locker room. That's how it works for the Galaxy. Players bounce up and down very easily because they are in the same facility. Its not about fans, its about development and saving money.

  4. Mike Jacome, January 22, 2015 at 11:16 a.m.

    "Its not about fans, its about development and saving money."
    For development we have the Reserves tournament. For true development MLS should invest in under 20 or under 16 tournaments. USL PRO is a professional soccer tournament, inthe ideal world they should be the second division of soccer with the capability of promotion relegation to the first divisiona and third division, like any other country. I don't mind having afilliation while you belong to diffrent tier, but having the chance of promotion relegation, the affiliation should end when the teams (eventualy) end up playing in the same division.

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