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USL Championship Unveils 2021 League Alignment

By Staff, 03/02/21, 2:00PM EST


31 teams to compete across four divisions in 32-game regular season

The USL Championship today announced its league alignment for the 2021 regular season. The league will feature 31 teams across four divisions and two conferences in the upcoming season, with the clubs set to embark on a 32-game regular-season schedule that will be conducted over 27 weeks. 

As previously announced, the Championship’s regular season will begin on or about May 1st, while employing a flexible start date that allows clubs to begin play anywhere between April 24th and May 15th.

The four divisions are aligned across the country producing the Atlantic, Central, Mountain and Pacific Divisions. The Atlantic and Central Division will make up the Eastern Conference, while the Mountain and Pacific Divisions will make up the Western Conference.

The defending Eastern Conference Title-holder Tampa Bay Rowdies will enter the new season in the Atlantic Division, where they are joined by in-state rival Miami FC, 2020 Championship Playoffs clubs the Charleston Battery, Charlotte Independence, Hartford Athletic and Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, and Loudoun United FC and the New York Red Bulls II.

Six-time Eastern Conference Finalist Louisville City FC leads the Central Division, where it is joined by local rival Indy Eleven and the trio of Atlanta United 2, Birmingham Legion FC, and Memphis 901 FC. Oklahoma rivals FC Tulsa and OKC Energy FC also join the Central Division, which is completed by Sporting Kansas City II.

Back-to-back Western Conference Finalist El Paso Locomotive FC leads the quartet of Texas clubs in the Mountain Division, with Austin Bold FC, Rio Grande Valley FC and San Antonio FC set to compete for the Copa Tejas throughout the campaign. The lone seven-team division is completed by Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, New Mexico United and Real Monarchs SLC.

Defending Western Conference Title-holder Phoenix Rising FC enters the campaign as part of the Pacific Division, where it will square off with the Championship’s five California-based clubs – the LA Galaxy II, newcomer Oakland Roots SC, Orange County SC, Sacramento Republic FC and San Diego Loyal SC. Las Vegas Lights FC and Tacoma Defiance complete the Pacific Division lineup. 

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division
Charleston Battery
Charlotte Independence
Hartford Athletic
Loudoun United FC
Miami FC
New York Red Bulls II
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Tampa Bay Rowdies

Central Division
Atlanta United 2
Birmingham Legion FC
FC Tulsa
Indy Eleven
Louisville City FC
Memphis 901 FC
OKC Energy FC
Sporting KC II

Western Conference

Mountain Division
Austin Bold FC
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
El Paso Locomotive FC
New Mexico United
Real Monarchs SLC
Rio Grande Valley FC
San Antonio FC

Pacific Division
LA Galaxy II
Las Vegas Lights FC
Oakland Roots SC
Orange County SC
Phoenix Rising FC
Sacramento Republic FC
San Diego Loyal SC
Tacoma Defiance

During the regular season, each team will play its division opponents four times – twice home, twice away. In the Atlantic, Central and Pacific Divisions, the four remaining games will be played against regional or cross-conference opponents. In the Mountain Division, the remaining eight games will be played against regional or cross-conference opponents. 

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for competition-related announcements on home openers for the 2021 USL Championship season, the 2021 ESPN national broadcast schedule, and the full 2021 regular season schedule.

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