TAMPA, Fla. – The USL Championship looks set to arrive in Monterey, Calif. soon, with USL President Jake Edwards confirming that discussions to bring professional soccer to the central coast of California were close to concluding.
“We’re actually looking to finalize a deal to bring a Championship team to Monterey, California,” Edwards told ESPN’s Taylor Twellman in the latest edition of Banter on Wednesday afternoon. “There really are passionate soccer fans in and around that region of California that don’t have access to their own team – they also have a fantastic golf course, I know you like to swing the golf clubs and want to get out there.”
Monterey is among a handful of cities with ownership groups that are currently in discussion with the USL about joining the Championship. Edwards confirmed to Twellman that active conversations were ongoing with groups in Baltimore, Cleveland and Milwaukee, with the belief that not only would those be very popular additions to the USL, but also that the new clubs would find the success clubs like El Paso Locomotive FC, Birmingham Legion FC, New Mexico United and others have found in the most recent waves of expansion.
With the league’s plans for growth in League One – where up to five new markets could be announced by the end of this year with another 10 cities in active conversations with the league - expansion in the Championship may soon be closing as the USL looks to solidify its model and take the next step in its evolution, potentially toward a system featuring promotion and relegation between the two professional divisions.
“We’ve got some more expansion to come into the Championship before it closes off – and it will close off soon – so we’re trying get those communities to get their business plans or stadium plans together to join,” said Edwards.