Michael Farrow's sports blog

A collection of new and old writings

…with a long list of lower division franchises

with 20 comments

The Sacramento Geckos played one season in the A-League in 1999 and are best remembered for their dreadful shirt

On and off, for what seems like ages, I’ve been working on a project to map the existence and progress of every team in lower division outdoor soccer since the formation of SISL’s outdoor league in 1989.  Since the USL/TOA blowup, many people have pointed out the turnover rate in division 2.  To be honest, it is not as scary as the turnover rate in Division 3, which has seen 106 franchises over 15 years and have just 6 this year. Not a success story by any means.

Anyway, after a lot of fiddling around, I have managed to put something together and have put it up on Google Docs.  It can be viewed here.

The D-2 leagues – the APSL, the USISL Select League, the A-League, USL-1 and the USSF D2 League – are all signified as D-2.  USL’s D-3 league, in its various guises, is signified as D-3.  The USL’s amateur outdoor league, going back to 1989, is signified as PDL.  The NPSL, the PDL’s rival amateur league, set up by disgruntled USL teams, is signified seperately.

I can’t guarantee it is 100% right and it probably has some glaring errors but it is, at the very least, a very good starting point to mapping the movement of franchises between divisions and when teams departed.

If there are any corrections/glaring omissions, leave me a comment and I shall give it a tweak.


Written by Michael Farrow

August 21, 2010 at 12:13 am

Posted in Football

Tagged with , ,

20 Responses

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  1. Big Nige, great list. I think the Charm City NPSL team were known as Maryland United in 2008. That’s the kind of list I’d put way too much time and effort into myself. Thanks for doing it for me.


    August 26, 2010 at 12:58 pm

  2. Pretty cool.

    A few more NPSL items

    * The Madison 56ers were known as the Princeton-56ers in 2005, ’06, ’07 and ’08.

    * Minnesota Blast played in 2005, then were replaced by NSC United. Not sure if they were the same franchise.

    * I’m pretty sure that FC Sonic Lehigh Valley is the same franchise as the Pennsylvania Stoners, just changed name


    August 30, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    • The Blast was a team owned by the National Sports Center and played in 2005 and ’06 in the NPSL. Coached by the legendary NASL man Alan Merick.


      January 19, 2011 at 12:35 pm

      • Brian, the Blast were a separate franchise though, right?

        Big Nige

        January 27, 2011 at 5:09 pm

  3. Thanks for the feedback. The NPSL list was the first one I compiled and thus isn’t quite as concise.

    Sean: Charm City FC are now Maryland United/Charm City FC.

    Eric: Thanks for the info. I have added Princeton-56ers as the original name for Madison and, yes, Minnesota Blast were renamed as NSC United. However, whilst spiritually the same team, FC Sonic are a separate franchise from the PA Stoners. It is a similar situation to the one in Buffalo with Queen City, Buffalo City and FC Buffalo, though one of those guys could put me straight on that one.

    Big Nige

    August 31, 2010 at 1:03 pm

  4. Impressive list! One omission (at least I don’t think I saw them on there) is the San Diego Flash, who played in the A-League from 1998 to 2001.


    September 2, 2010 at 2:14 pm

  5. Hi, not sure if you going back to the start of ASL v3, but most of east coast from the APSL started in ’88. These are Orlando Lions, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, Miami Sharks, Washington Diplomats, Washington Stars, Maryland Bays, New Jersey Eagles, Albany Capitals and Boston Bolts. I’m pretty sure all of these teams returned in ’89 and ’90. But I will double check.


    September 2, 2010 at 2:40 pm

  6. Nate: San Diego Flash were originally the Colorado Foxes and are listed as Colorado Foxes/San Diego Flash.

    Rob: I have absolutely no idea what to do with the Western Soccer Alliance/League or the ASL III. Problem is, once you open that can of worms, you’re then looking at the USL, the ASL II and the NASL. Is that a can of worms we really want to open?

    Big Nige

    September 2, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    • If you want I could give you all of the teams for each. And you already have a bunch of them listed for ’90. It doesn’t really matter to me. You’ve down a great job with this. If you want I can provide those team names.


      September 2, 2010 at 7:24 pm

      • Well, if you have them, send them over or put them on Google Docs and share the link. Thanks for your help.

        Big Nige

        September 2, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    • Cool, I figured I had probably just missed them. I did know that they were the Foxes first, not sure why I didn’t think to look there. I looked at it too early in the morning. =)


      September 2, 2010 at 8:08 pm

      • Don’t beat yourself up. I don’t know why but I knew the Foxes were the Flash before even looking it up. Strange the information I retain.

        Big Nige

        September 2, 2010 at 9:20 pm

  7. Portland Timbers played in 1989, but under the name FC Portland. Same club, just a name change to reflect what the fans were already calling the club.


    September 6, 2010 at 8:21 pm

  8. In fact, that name change happened in 1989. So they were the Timbers in 1989. That particular version of the Timbers went back to 1985.


    September 6, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    • In the context of the current list, i.e. 1989-2010, they are the Timbers. If I add the WSA/WSL and ASL III, I will reflect the changes.

      Big Nige

      September 8, 2010 at 9:14 pm

  9. A quick PDL correction – the SFV Quakes did not play in the PDL in 2009, they were replaced by Hollywood United that year. SFV only had three seasons = 06, 07 and 08 – and Hollywood have played in 09 and 2010.

    Jon B

    September 6, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    • Many thanks. I think it was a confusion over when the franchise rights were transferred. I think I originally had it as one entry.

      Big Nige

      September 8, 2010 at 9:48 pm

  10. Interesting project – I think I can help you with a few NYC area clubs;

    1. North Jersey Imperials – You have them in the PDL (amateur) in 1994. Their division was not yet part of the USL/A-League, but I think they were a pro team (D3)? If so, that designation would apply to many other teams in that division.

    2. New York Fever – In 1996, they did play in the A-League, the year before the A-League/USISL merger.

    3. Staten Island Vipers – This club played in the A-League (D2) both both 1998 and 1999.

    I try to take another look and see if I can update other clubs.


    September 7, 2010 at 3:40 am

    • According to the info I can find:
      1. North Jersey: The USISL Outdoor league pre-1995 is the forerunner of the PDL. North Jersey played in it in ’94 and then joined the Pro League in ’95.
      2. New York Fever: There were actually two teams named the New York Fever. The New York Centaurs played in the A-League in 1995 and then absorbed the original New York Fever, who played in the USISL Outdoor League and then the USISL Pro League in 1994/95, and renamed themselves the Fever. They’re actually two separate teams.
      3. Staten Island Vipers – Thanks for that. Keep finding I’ve missed the odd season here and there.

      Big Nige

      September 8, 2010 at 9:43 pm

  11. I had to investigate because I know my memory might have been wrong, but the Arizona Sahuaros date back to the Phoenix Hearts/Arizona Cotton/Arizona Phoenix. They are one franchise.


    September 22, 2010 at 8:15 pm

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