On FM Scout you can chat about Football Manager in real time since 2011. Here are 10 reasons to join!

United Soccer League Century

Started on 7 May 2022 by MJK46
Latest Reply on 17 May 2022 by J_ames
  • POSTS23
  • VIEWS3589
MJK46's avatar Group MJK46
2 yearsEdited


Over the last few years, I have been absent from FM Scout for personal reasons and FM Burnout. Those who remember I would play too much ha-ha. Well recently I have gotten the itch to play once again. So here is what we are going to focus on for my save and why I am doing it.
The story based in the United States obviously and due to the explosion of teams in the country I was in the mood to go ahead and do a US save. when setting up a save in MLS I was disappointed that it's still the same old boring and overcomplicated crap as it's been in the last couple of football managers.

I was browsing them any different football manager fan sites for a good database. I saw a couple but none of them really tickled my fancy. I was like let's go ahead and create a new one. First, I was doing some extremely overcomplicated database with like 8 tiers and several teams in each division, but it was starting to become too complicated and a pain in the ass on the editor.

What I decided to start again from scratch and simplify everything. Now I will get into the structure and all more as we go through the story but I made this less complicated less teams and the reason for that is it just felt that there are a lot of clubs in the US that really don't deserve for any sort of professional or high above status so I went and cut that down and also I want to use COVID-19 as a basis as one of the reasons that this all occurred as well as MLS over saturating the market with so many new expansion teams and finally I want to have this whole rebuild as a basis for the 2026 World Cup.

A few features of this database include classic teams from the North American Soccer League promotion and relegation that mirrors Scotland’s league system and less teams per league in a 12-10-10-10 set up to allow for more matches that matter. we will still have a few things that mirror real life, but I want to keep this as exciting and challenging as possible.

I hope you all really enjoy this save and participate in it. It would be great to get some interaction with my readers here so we can be able to make some fun decisions and see where things go.

(Full disclosure I know calling it soccer is not the popular term but with this story in a country that calls it soccer it has to be the lingua franca used.)

Story Hub

Trophy Case


Welcome back mate, good to see you writing again.
Welcome back to the story forum mate, I look forward to seeing the road this story goes down :D Best of luck with it!
Jack and J_ames Thank you both for the support. I hope you will enjoy the read.

Chapter 1: The Soccer Wars 1995-2000

The following is an excerpt from America's Beautiful Game a Quarter-Century of the A-League by British Football Historian Alistair Hodge, published in 2014 celebrating the A-Leagues 25th anniversary.

It is the year 2022 of the Common Era. A quarter-century has passed since The United States began to seriously take the sport of association football or as they call in America soccer seriously. A new home for professional men’s soccer, where players are scouted and become role models. And retire. Twenty-six years ago, a startup league, thanks to a promise in 1988, proclaimed Major League Soccer and launched a battle for top status against the United Soccer Leagues and the current top dog the A-League. The USL ended up taking the USSF and MLS to court. Initial fighting lasted over one two years and saw both sides lose a good sum of money in Legal Fees. People were horrified by the indescribable atrocities that had been committed in the name of tier one status. Three Years had passed since the rebellion began. They were at a stalemate.

Do it to the infighting over the last few years at this point many in the football community I thought The United States did not take this sport the beautiful game seriously at all. Two years at this point had passed it is 1998. The United States we're running two top football leagues Major League Soccer who at the time was a de facto number one and The United States Soccer Leagues A-League. At this point with the lawsuits still going on it had reached all way up to the Supreme Court in the court of sport arbitration.

A year later in February of 1999, a decision was made and reached by the High Court staying that even though the USSF and Major League Soccer had an agreement in place that created Major League Soccer after the 1994 World Cup it's still violated antitrust rules as at the time The A-League was at the top and were never included in the conversation. That same year in the US open cup Rochester did what many thought was impossible they won that year's U.S. Open cup against MLS side Colorado Rapids by score of two to nothing. with the merger being announced this harking back to Super Bowl 3 when the New York Jets of the American Football League upset the National Football league's Baltimore Colts.

Here are the winners during the Soccer Wars:

As the Millennium approached a deal was struck between Major League Soccer and the USL. for the 2000 season a merger would take place. This would allow both the come together as a tier one Football League. Twelve teams coming from Major League Soccer Along with 8 clubs that stayed in the A-League a 20 team First Division had truly been formed. From 2000 on there will be several changes to the landscape of the sport.

The Teams of the 2000 A-League season:

(The following season the league would continue expanding which would lead to creation of a second division and promotion and relegation at the end of the decade).
Some of those clubs are such a throwback!

I've always had a bit of a soft spot for the Rowdies, purely due to liking their kits with the Hard Rock logo on them. I remember in early editions of FM [FM08/09] I used to sign Nik Besagno, who always seemed to end up at Rochester Rhinos for some reason.
J_ames You will love seeing the how good the Rowdies got!!
MJK46's avatar Group MJK46
2 yearsEdited

Chapter 2: The First Decade Part One

The following is an excerpt from America's Beautiful Game a Quarter-Century of the A-League by British Football Historian Alistair Hodge, published in 2014 celebrating the A-Leagues 25th anniversary.

The first five years of the A-League after the merger with Major League Soccer Was extremely successful. You saw growth in the league which included classic North American Soccer League club the Portland Timbers, Charlotte Eagles, Pittsburgh Riverhounds and the San Diego Sockers. With the addition of the four clubs joining within the first five years the league expanded bigtime.
At one point many were worried that the A league would follow the same fate as the North American Soccer League did back in 1984. Luckily there were a couple changes to the system that allowed stability: a temporary salary cap which would last until 2010 and the creation of a second division The USL First Division.

The creation of the First Division would split the league in half. Due to this promotion and relegation would eventually start five years later in 2010. This helped the league grow big time and cause a lot more excitement for everyone. Some were worried that this would cause things to be closed off and that was a very valid criticism, but it was the most important step then sure that second division football would survive.

During these first ten years of the league the clubs originally came from Major League Soccer were the most dominant. Including the San Jose Earthquakes who in the beginning of the decade had the most titles during this time but after their relocation to Houston and a reborn version of the club replacing them they fell off a little bit, but it was another California club that really made the biggest impact to what we see today. In July of 2004 during all-star weekend commissioner Don Garber announced legacy NASL club Los Angeles Aztecs would join the league a year later.

Since joining the league in 2005 the Aztecs have won five league titles and two Soccer Bowls. they would become the envy of the league a few years later when David Beckham would join from Real Madrid. This would be a major turning point where many superstars of Europe would come too playing the league turn the twilight years of their career. Luckily for the A-league things turned out better than the NASL.

(A poster of the Los Angeles Aztecs celebrating their 40th Anniversary as a club. That same season they would win their fifth title in the A-League)

Chapter 3: The First Decade Part Two: Beckham Mania

In part two of this story, we finished up with the dominance of the Los Angeles Aztecs as part three will cover the biggest reason for their dominance.

The Aztecs have around since 1974 has a strong following and with that a very deep organization whether it be from the professionals down to the academies. With names like George Best, Johann Cruyff, Landon Donovan and David Beckham you can see why this club is something special.

Welcome to Beckham Mania.......

Now many do you know the story but a lot of people who are not fans of the Aztecs or David Beckham like to give an alternate take of the whole situation. Many say it was his wife Victoria Beckham forcing the move to Los Angeles San Jose was the premier team of the league during this time period. The real story it's around 2003 or 2004 well Beckham was still playing for Real Madrid and fellow Manchester United legend George Best had reached out to Beckham about the Aztecs joining the league. Now David still in the prime of his career was not so interested in that but he thought he would give it a thought one day. Well unfortunately in 2005 George Best had passed away due to complications. With the passing of a legend as George Best, David Beckham decided at the end of his contract in the summer 2007 that he would make the move to America.

For Beckham’s arrival in the summer of 2007, it was massive fanfare. During this time soccer the United States outside was hard to catch on TV it was on ESPN but was not a feature it was mostly full games here and there at odd times surprisingly a lot of them were tape delayed. this all changed when Beckham made his debut in a summer friendly against Chelsea FC, this both broke records in television and attendance for domestic league play.

With Beckham’s arrival and Landon Donovan’s stellar play the team was unstoppable. Winning several titles in awards a shift in soccer in America had started. Due to Beckham’s arrival, you would see the A-league as a premier destination for many Europeans who want to finish their career in the United States get paid and have some and some quiet and private. having these players come gave the league a boost but at the same time a lot of criticism. Some said that this was a retirement league other were concerned that the massive number of foreign stars coming in it's going to affect the development of younger national players. at this point it's still to be seen but it's been working out so far for the best.

Next up in part four of the five-part series on the history of the A-League we will be covering the third decade of the A-League overall (second since the merger) which would be extremely turbulent with many topics including promotion and relegation, a reborn NASL, a fourth division a few years of calm, Let's start of the second soccer wars and a global pandemic's effect on the sport itself.
That Aztecs logo is absolutely awesome. Really intrigued to see where you go with this, and I'm loving the altered histories of the clubs, and the hidden stories behind certain moves too :D
J_ames It really feels fresh all these years with the logo. Thank you for the comment about the alternate history. It took a lot of reding to come up with something that sounds realistic. I had several different ideas over the last few Football Managers but this one feels more realistic knowing the countries turbulent history of top level leagues and the current impact of Covid.

Chapter 4: A turbulent start of the 2010's the Rise and Fall of the NASL

It was the summer of 2008 and The United soccer leagues we're starting to gain a lot of momentum with an increase of viewers both on television and at games.

During the All-Star weekend it was announced the starting in the spring of 2010 promotion and relegation what officially began between the three active leagues under the USL umbrella now this was both a blessing and a curse. It allowed everyone to be more competitive and every match mattered. dude to this we were able to see some rivalries that have not occurred in a few years after the split between the A-League and First Division. despite this success in the first few seasons trouble was on the horizon. Enter the second coming of the North American Soccer League.

In the summer of 2009, a year after the promotion and relegation announcement several teams who voted no to the idea of promotion and relegation ended up leaving the United Soccer Leagues to form a new North American Soccer League which had no ties to the original one that lasted from 1968 to 1985. Several teams who were long term USL Clubs including the Minnesota Thunder who changed their name to NSC Minnesota Stars who would eventually become Minnesota United, the Atlanta Silverbacks, Montreal Impact, Carolina RailHawks (Rebranded as North Carolina FC) and Major League Soccer founding club and former original NASL side Tampa Bay Rowdies. Joining the six clubs would be three new teams: FC Edmonton, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and finally the Puerto Rico Islanders.

Due to the breakaway of these clubs the USSF barred them from competing in the US Open Cup. The aim of the NASL was to become the new First Division in the United States. The league would end up folding in 2017 never being able to realize that goal. The highest up they were able to get was the second division but many in the USL never recognized it. The best thing that came out of it was when the league did dissolve many of the teams that broke off came back and the USL was able to expand to the current structure we have today.

The club who made the biggest impact in the league was the New York Cosmos. This was the same club who in the 70s and 80s what's comparable to modern day European superclubs. You would have players such as Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Giorgio Chinaglia. this club will continue there's success and the league winning three overall championships one spring championship and two fall championships.

Things would be great for the league up until 2017 when the league show stores after the 2017 championship. The league just like its predecessor spent more money than they really had and between 2015 and 2017 there would be movement where some clubs will already be making a return or even their first time ever back into the USL. The exception what's the New York Cosmos who at the time felt they were bigger than any league. That is a different story of their escapades between 2018 in 2021.

The following clubs would integrate into the USL: Indy Eleven, Montreal Impact, Minnesota United, the Atlanta Silverbacks but rebranded as Atlanta United, North Carolina FC, and the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Stay tuned the final part of the history of the league as we cover 2019 to present day.
Would absolutely love for a team from Puerto Rico to (one day) be in the MLS irl, but I'm unsure if that's a feasible idea or not. Would be pretty awesome to see though! Iirc, didn't Ronaldo (the real one) purchase Fort Lauderdale, but they've since gone out of business?
J_ames Absolutely that would be awesome but sadly I don't think it will ever happen as each time a team starts it fails so fast.

You are reading "United Soccer League Century".

FMS Chat

hey, just wanted to let you know that we have a fb style chat for our members. login or sign up to start chatting.