United Soccer League

United Soccer League

United Soccer League

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The United Soccer League was a professional soccer league in the United States in the mid-1980s.

After the demise of the second incarnation of the American Soccer League in 1983, four ASL teams (Dallas Americans, Jacksonville Tea Men, Oklahoma City Slickers renamed Stampede and Rochester Flash) founded the USL. Fiscal responsibility, regional rivalries and measured expansion were a few of the cornerstones on which the organization was to be structured. A league rule allowed only four of eighteen roster spots be taken by foreign players. In addition a salary cap was imposed on member clubs. Initially, the league was to have both indoor and outdoor seasons so that clubs could play year round.

In addition to the ASL holdovers were new teams Buffalo Storm, Charlotte Gold, Ft. Lauderdale Sun, Houston Dynamos, and New York Nationals. Two North American Soccer League teams, the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Tulsa Roughnecks, also expressed interest in joining the new league.

The USL played its first season in 1984 with nine teams in three divisions. The Fort Lauderdale Sun, whose roster featured former NASL Fort Lauderdale Strikers players Teofilo Cubillas, Keith Weller, Jim Tietjens and Ernst Jean-Baptiste, won the league title in a three-game series against the Oklahoma City Stampede.

Despite its conservative fiscal plan, the league found itself in crisis heading into its second season. While attendance was on par with the ASL in its last season, revenues did not keep up with expenses and...
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