United Soccer Leagues Announces I-League; Rochester Lancers Founding Team
As expected, the United Soccer Leagues announced today a new indoor league called I-League which will begin play in November of 2011 and conclude with its inaugural championship in February/March, 2012.
The USL made the announcement from Rochester, New York where a new Rochester franchise was also announced. The name of the NY franchise will be the Rochester Lancers and the team will be owned and operated by Saving Soccer, LLC, which is comprised of several local business leaders, including Chris Wilmot and Salvatore “Soccer Sam” Fantauzzo.
The USL expects to make additional announcements soon regarding franchises in Syracuse, New York and Hampton Roads, Virginia. The press release also states that the league has “other markets currently participating in advanced discussions with USL.” They also claim that short-term plans for the league include regional divisions in the Northeast, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Mid-South and Southeast.
The press release also states that the USL intends to affiliate the I-League directly with the U.S. Soccer Federation, which is currently without a sanctioned professional indoor soccer league.
Tim Holt, President of the USL, was quoted in the press release as saying: “Additionally, the teams would have the opportunity to retain many of their established players for the entire year.” While this has always been true of indoor teams that contracted with players, it was interesting that it was noted almost as a selling point of owning a team. If a team owns a player they can then loan that player to an outdoor team. Of course the opposite is true as well.