USL Even Closer to Expanding to the DMV
Steven Goff of the Washington Post posted an article in May 2017 about the USL expanding into the Baltimore and D.C. areas. In the article Goff asked Jake Edwards, USL President, if expanding to Baltimore seemed almost certain. Edwards simply responded “Yes.” Since then there had not been much else reported.
Baltimore and D.C. have a rich soccer history. The Baltimore Blast is probably the most successful indoor soccer franchise of all time, the University of Maryland has one of the best soccer programs in the country, and D.C. United was a founding member of the MLS and has been one of the most successful clubs. Also, on a national level, both D.C. and Baltimore have hosted a number of U.S. national games. The American Outlaws chapters in both Baltimore and D.C. are some of the most passionate chapters I have come in contact with.
Even with the success of soccer in the area, until recentely, there has not been too much growth with the soccer scene in the DMV. Baltimore and D.C. has always been a hotbed for soccer. These areas are always on the top of the list when it comes to World Cup and English Premier League ratings. Despite this, not too many improvements being made. D.C United and the Blast were both playing in outdated stadiums, and Baltimore lost their only outdoor team.
At the start of 2017 it seemed like the DMV soccer scene took another hit after disappointing news came in January that the Baltimore Bohemians, an amateur team comprised of mainly college players playing in the PDL, were going on indefinite hiatus. However not long after that, the tides began to change. A new soccer specific stadium for D.C. United broke ground in Febuary. The stadium, Audi Field, is scheduled to open in the summer of 2018.
More good news graced Baltimore soccer fans when the Baltimore Blast announced their move to Towson’s SECU Arena in August of 2017. With the move came better concessions, better parking, and just a better overall experience. If you are like me, you absolutely despise going to the Baltimore Arena. It is old and outdated and deserves to be turned into a parking lot, but that is another article.
The Baltimore soccer scene took another step in the right direction last December when FC Baltimore announced they would be Joining the NPSL. FC Baltimore effectively serves as a replacement to the Bohs, as the NPSL is also an amateur league comprised mostly of college students.
The good news continued a few weeks ago when Goff provided the first updates on the USL expansion to the area since the initial reports surfaced last summer. In the article Goff reported that D.C. United “would own and operate a team in Loudoun County, Va., with a likely debut in spring 2019.” An agreement has already been reached for a 5,000 seat stadium in Loudon County.
As for Baltimore, “Edwards is bullish on Baltimore,” according to Goff, but also mentions that “the stadium remains the primary hurdle.” It has been previously reported that the stadium could be in the Canton or Fells point area. The only info Edwards gave about the new stadium in the new report was that it “is a fairly substantial — not a small, pop-up stadium.” If the USL does expand into Baltimore, they are expected to begin play in 2020. As someone who lives minutes from Canton, I would love to see a soccer team move into the area.