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USL Championship Unveils 2021 League Alignment

By Staff, 03/02/21, 1:45PM EST

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

TAMPA, Fla. – 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. 

2021 USL Championship Conference Alignment

Eastern Conference                                         Western Conference
Atlantic Division                                               Mountain Division

Charleston Battery                                           Austin Bold FC
Charlotte Independence                                   Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Hartford Athletic                                              El Paso Locomotive FC
Loudoun United FC                                           New Mexico United
Miami FC                                                          Real Monarchs SLC
New York Red Bulls II                                        Rio Grande Valley FC
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC                                San Antonio FC
Tampa Bay Rowdies

Central Division                                                Pacific Division
Atlanta United 2                                               LA Galaxy II
Birmingham Legion FC                                      Las Vegas Lights FC
FC Tulsa                                                            Oakland Roots SC
Indy Eleven                                                      Orange County SC
Louisville City FC                                              Phoenix Rising FC
Memphis 901 FC                                               Sacramento Republic FC
OKC Energy FC                                                  San Diego Loyal SC
Sporting Kansas City II                                       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.