From its earliest days, the United Soccer League has been the home to influential Black players and coaches that continue to make an impact in the North American soccer landscape to this day. From Tim Howard’s debut in the professional ranks for the North Jersey Imperials in 1997 to his current position as a co-owner of the USL Championship’s Memphis 901 FC, to top current Championship and League One players from the United States and overseas with African and Caribbean heritage, the history of the A League, USL First and Second Divisions and now the USL Championship and League One is filled with remarkable names and stories.
Overall, nine of the Championship’s 11 Most Valuable Player honors have been claimed by Black players, including reigning MVP Hadji Barry of Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. This past year saw 36 Black players from the Championship and League One called up to represent 18 countries, including Orange County SC youngster Kobi Henry for the United States Men’s National Team.
To commemorate this year’s Black History Month, we’ve selected 12 notable moments from the past 25 years of the USL’s history, paying tribute to the players and coaches who have made their mark during their time in then league.
Click each card to see each historical moment