Charlotte Eagles News Release -- www.charlotteeagles.com
Monday, October 4, 2010
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte Eagles, a veteran USL team, will join the newly established USL PRO for the club’s 19th year of competition. Created through a merger of the United Soccer Leagues First and Second Divisions, USL PRO will represent the highest level of competition in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean outside of Major League Soccer (MLS).
By joining USL PRO the Eagles will be part of a national league that features a regional competition model to build natural rivalries. USL PRO is expected to have as many as four geographic regions in 2011. Seven teams, including former USL-2 rivals the Charleston Battery and Richmond Kickers, have already announced their participation in USL PRO with additional announcements planned in the coming weeks.
“USL is going in a real good direction with the restructuring of the professional divisions into the USL Pro League,” Eagles General Manager Tom Engstrom said. “The idea of a national league divided into regional competition makes a lot of sense. We have been impressed by initiatives the USL office has taken to make this a high quality league and are excited to be a part of it.”
USL PRO will feature a Board of Governors responsible for making all major decisions for the league including expansion, competition format and commercial strategy. The U.S. Soccer Federation-affiliated league will benefit from the leadership of the dedicated and experienced professional staff at USL’s Tampa headquarters as well as the developmental support of USL’s proven and integrated system of leagues.
“The Charlotte Eagles have been a valuable partner for USL for nearly two decades, so we’re obviously pleased they will be a part of USL PRO,” USL President Tim Holt said. “The Eagles have gone to great lengths to help grow the sport in the Charlotte Metro area, and their presence will undoubtedly enhance USL PRO as it kicks off its inaugural season in 2011.”
The Charlotte Eagles play at Charlotte Christian Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina. With over 200 wins, eight National Final appearances and two USL-2 Championships since 1993, the Eagles are one of USL’s most storied and respected franchises. Lead by Hall of Fame Executive GM Tom Engstrom and Hall of Fame Head Coach Mark Steffens, the Eagles are also Charlotte’s most successful professional franchise. Success on the field, though, is not the most important mark to the Eagles. The team remains most of all dedicated to providing role models to inspire and give hope to those in their local, and global, communities who have none. Owned by Missionary Athletes International, the Charlotte Eagles continue to strive for excellence on and off the field.
Founded in 1986, United Soccer Leagues has become the largest organization of elite-level soccer leagues in North America by building on the vision, commitment, and passion of players, fans and investors. Now in its third decade of operation, USL continues to be a driving force in the growth of soccer in the United States, Canada and Caribbean. USL provides a clearly defined path for the progression of male and female soccer players beginning at the youth level (USL Super Y-League/USL Super-20 League), continuing through the amateur level (USL Premier Development League/USL W-League) and up to the professional level, both outdoor and indoor (USL PRO, I-League). A platform for countless players to reach for their dreams each year, USL is devoted to developing the sport at the grassroots level in every community across the region.