TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League today announced the alignment, regular season and playoff format for the 2016 USL Season, with 29 teams set to compete in the league’s sixth season in pursuit of the USL Cup.
Six new teams will join the USL in 2016, as Bethlehem Steel FC, FC Cincinnati, Orlando City B, Rio Grande Valley FC, the Swope Park Rangers and San Antonio are all set to compete in the new season.
The USL will continue in a two-conference format, with 14 teams making up the Eastern Conference and 15 teams making up the Western Conference. The 30-game regular season will be conducted over 27 weeks, which will kick off on March 25 and conclude on September 25.
|Eastern Conference||Western Conference|
|Bethlehem Steel FC||Arizona United SC|
|Charleston Battery||Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC|
|Charlotte Independence||LA Galaxy II|
|FC Cincinnati||OKC Energy FC|
|Harrisburg City Islanders||Orange County Blues FC|
|Louisville City FC||Portland Timbers 2|
|FC Montreal||Real Monarchs SLC|
|New York Red Bulls II||Rio Grande Valley FC|
|Orlando City B||Sacramento Republic FC|
|Pittsburgh Riverhounds||Saint Louis FC|
|Richmond Kickers||San Antonio|
|Rochester Rhinos||Seattle Sounders FC 2|
|Toronto FC II||Swope Park Rangers|
|Wilmington Hammerheads FC||Tulsa Roughnecks FC|
|Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2|
The team with the best record across both conferences will earn the 2016 USL Regular Season Title. The top eight teams in each conference will then advance to the 2016 USL Playoffs, which will see a single-elimination bracket crown two conference champions. The two conference champions will advance to the 2016 USL Championship.
The USL is the strongest U.S. men’s professional soccer league below Major League Soccer (MLS). The USL featured 24 teams in 2015 across the United States and Canada, with six new clubs already announced for 2016. Through aggressive and strategic growth, the USL has built a stable, national professional soccer league. In addition to league play, USL teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various domestic and international exhibitions. The USL is the longest-standing professional affiliate member of U.S. Soccer.