As the Southeast Atlanta Caribbean Division begins it’s 2nd season in the United Premier Soccer League (or UPSL), we thought it might be a good idea and pause to explain in more detail how the league works and what it means for independent clubs.
The UPSL is a full season, American adult amateur soccer league that was founded in Santa Ana in Southern California, with teams in regionalized conferences throughout the United States. The league began as a regional league for teams in Greater Los Angeles, but expanded to include teams from 32 states as of the 2018 UPSL season.
Two seasons are played each year, with regional play culminating in a playoff system that crowns a single national champion each season. The league features internal promotion and relegation with up to three levels in some regions; only clubs in the top tier Pro Premier are eligible to compete for the national championship.
The league is a National Affiliate of the United States Adult Soccer Association, within the larger United States soccer league system. –source material Wikipedia
The Atlanta Caribbean Division is currently the only division of the UPSL and represents the Tier 1 UPSL Pro Premier Division in the region, so for the moment, there is no promotion or relegation. Plans are for the addition of others divisions at the Tier 2, Championship and Tier 3, League One level, which will allow for advancement up by promotion for top clubs in Tier 3 and demotion From Tier 2 by relegation for clubs ending a season at the bottom of that table.
In addition, once minimum standards are met, the Tier 2 Championship level will be able to promote to the Tier 1 Pro Premier level which will allow qualification to participate in the nationwide playoffs for a national champion. This means that like in many parts of the world, there will not be any limit on the number of clubs or their ability to advance and grow as independent clubs. There is no other soccer league in United States with this growth potential and no other league as inclusive.
The feature of these arrangements produces many benefits for all involved at any level of the UPSL. For example, new investors and team officials can start a club from scratch with minimal start-up capital and build and advance by merit on the field. Amateur players have the same abilities to advance by starting with a new club and advance either with their team up the pyramid or by attracting attention from other teams possibly in divisions at a higher level. Supporters (and supporter’s clubs) have the same open ended growth possible in association with their clubs.
This type of system is similar to what you may have seen in leagues all over the world which gives more opportunities to more people associated in the game. This is a set up that has never really been available in the United States although the game has it’s origins as early as the late 1800s in the country, which may surprise many who only know MLS and the older NASL, both closed off leagues of the present and “recent” past.