Following their trip through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina this week, USL Division III executives will next week head back to the Midwest to meet with potential ownership in Lansing, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio.
League officials will arrive in the state’s capital city on Monday. They will then head south toward Toledo on Tuesday before returning to Tampa, Florida, on Wednesday.
“We are looking forward to making a return trip to both Lansing and Toledo, which we were greatly impressed with when we first visited earlier this year,” said USL Division III Senior Vice President Steven Short. “The enthusiasm we felt for the idea of professional soccer’s arrival in both cities was palpable, and we look forward to engaging more with local officials as we look for the right markets to lead the launch of the league.”
The Lansing-East Lansing metropolitan area boasts approximately 475,000 people and is the home of Michigan State University, as well as the successful Minor League Baseball team Lansing Lugnuts – which has won numerous division and league titles. Lansing United, which competes in the Premier Development League – the top pre-professional league in North America – has already expressed its interest in the possibility of joining the new professional league.
The Toledo metropolitan area has more than 600,000 people, the University of Toledo and successful sports franchises, including Minor League Baseball team the Toledo Mud Hens and ECHL hockey side the Toledo Walleye.
USL Division III has revealed three teams – South Georgia Tormenta FC, FC Tucson and Greenville Pro Soccer – as founding members of the league ahead of its inaugural 2019 season. More team announcements, as well as the official brand launch and league structure, are expected in the upcoming weeks and months.