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Will New York Red Bulls II Leave USL for New MLS Lower Division?

photo by Matt Kremkau

New York Red Bulls II have been a major part of the revival of the USL after joining the league in 2015. The team has been one of the more consistent clubs on the field and the only MLS 2 club to win a USL Cup. All of this may come to an end after the announcement that MLS will be starting a lower division league in 2022, potentially poaching teams like New York Red Bulls II from the USL.

The new league, announced today, will feature 20 teams to start and will kick off in March of 2022. The formate will be similar to the USL will a schedule structure that will have a playoff at the end of the campaign. While, it may seem redundant given the fact that USL already provides such opportunity, New York will be placed in a position to chose between a relationship that has been quite fruitful, or fall into alignment with MLS.

"The new league will develop a diverse talent pool of coaches, referees and front office executives," said MLS commissioner Don Garber during the announcement. "We are excited to launch a new league to complete the pathway between our academies and the MLS first teams."

New York has benefited greatly from that pathway in the USL. Players like Aaron Long, Tyler Adams, Sean Davis, Alex Muyl, Derrick Etienne Jr., Brian White and Tom Barlow have all earned their positions on the MLS roster with solid play in the lower division. The same may continue in the new MLS lower league, however it does call into question what the team's relationship will be with the USL moving forward.

Thus far the team has not commented on their participation and MLS has not announced which teams will be joining. It could be expected that New York will join, especially after their difficulties in recent years with a far more independent and veteran league in the USL Championship, and finding it harder to compete.


  1. Hope it won't lower red bulls 2 standards to be playing in a "development" league instead of a professional league.


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