Monday, January 17, 2011
TAMPA, Fla. – On the heels of Friday’s release of the 2011 USL PRO schedule, the league’s Senior Director, Chris Economides, sat down with USLsoccer.com to talk about the crafting of the league’s regular season format.
The schedule for the teams in the American and National Divisions sees each of the 10 teams play a home-and-home series with the other. In addition, each team also makes one trip to either the Caribbean or to Los Angeles for a pair of games and hosts two games against competition from the International Division.
The final two games that complete the schedule will match traditional rivals, such as the series between the Charleston Battery and Wilmington Hammerheads or the series between the Rochester Rhinos and Orlando City that blossomed in the USSF Division 2-Pro League a season ago.
"When we sat down with our teams to form this season's schedule, a few things were key," Economides said. "Most importantly we needed to find a healthy blend which would give our teams a competitively balanced schedule, reasonable overall travel costs and the ability to continue old rivalries while also allowing new rivalries to grow."
For the five teams in the International Division, each team will play each other four times, twice home and twice away, with four games apiece at home and away against competition from the American and National Divisions.
“We are very excited to have the Caribbean teams be a part of the league,” Economides said. “We think there will be some very strong competition, and with the three teams from the Puerto Rico Soccer League in the division there are some good in-built rivalries already in place.”
The format for the eight-team USL PRO playoffs, which in addition to the regular season schedule was approved by the USL PRO Board of Governors, is also set to be unveiled by the end of this week.
“We are very excited to get the season underway on April 2 with the Richmond Kickers hosting Orlando City and Sevilla facing River Plate,” Economides said. “The new season promises to be full of a lot of great soccer for our fans.”