With the return of soccer across all the divisions upon us, be it preseason or regular season, here are the rankings of all the leagues (Division 3 minimum) in North America (Canada, Mexico, USA).
North American League Rankings
11. Liga de Balompie Mexico (8 Clubs) - This is the Mexican independent league, and is the only league in the world sanctioned as a Division 1 league by CONIFA. A collection of former Mexican D4 to D2 clubs, and the league most likely to collapse.
10. Liga Premier MX Serie B (8 Clubs) - A sort of Mexican D3.5, whose membership has been gutted by Covid (many clubs going on hiatus), and by some of its clubs being moved to Serie A.
9. National Independent Soccer Association (10 or 12 clubs) - The first of 3, USA Division 3 leagues. The loss of one of its 2 flagship clubs, Detroit City FC (USL Championship), is a huge loss. It's basically Chattanooga FC and the 9 Dwarfs. This is the league most likely to splinter into 2 separate D3 leagues, thanks to the owners of on hiatus (suspended?) Chicago House AC & New Amsterdam FC taking the league to court.
8. Liga Premier MX Serie A (27 Clubs) - The Mexican Division 3 league. Covid hurt its membership to the point that it bolstered itself with clubs from LPMX Serie B and D2 reserve teams. Thus greatly watering down the quality of the league.
7. MLS Next Pro (21 Clubs) - The second of 3, USA Division 3 leagues. Former USL League One clubs took a step backwards, while former USL Championship clubs took several steps backwards. With that said more than half the league is made of clubs taking a big step forward. With 21 clubs this season, and 8 clubs guaranteed to join next season, with a couple more guaranteed to join after that, this league has a ton of growth in its future. How many independent clubs it can recruit, will determine how fast and how high up the rankings it can climb. The growth potential is Division 2, but I suspect MLS has a D3 Regionaliga style league that is closer to D2.5 in the future.
6. USL League One (11 Clubs) - The third of 3, USA Division 3 leagues. A league that has taken a step forward by shedding itself of the MLS Reserve teams. It is concerning that league membership hasn't actually grown much since its creation. It also hurts the league that the priority for USL, is strengthening USL Championship, and USL may do so by taking the strongest USL-L1 teams in the future. Growth potential is limited, but should be stronger than MLSNP for a couple of years and possibly more.
5. Canadian Premier League (8 Clubs) - The Division 1 league for Canada. I think the top 3 clubs are USL Championship level, but the rest are USL League One level. There is a ton of growth potential, and I could see this league becoming similar to the Scottish Premiere League in the future, with 1 to 2 really strong dominant clubs.
4. USL Championship (27 Clubs) - The Division 2 league in the USA. I like everything that the USL Championship is doing, and shedding itself of all the MLS Reserve teams by next year, will only strengthen this league further. I know some people hope it will someday challenge MLS for the top. The truth is that this league will one day become a sort of D1.5, and it has the potential to be the 3rd strongest league in CONCACAF (North America, Caribbean, and Central America), some day.
3. Liga de Expansion MX (17 Clubs) - The Mexican Division 2 league. I hate that Mexico has done away with Promotion & Relegation, and reduced arguably the 3rd strongest league in CONCACAF, to a reserve league (U25). They have watered it down significantly, and while it is still the 3rd strongest league in CONCACAF, it's growth has been capped. In it's current form, it will someday be surpassed by the USL Championship and possibly the CanPL.
2. Major League Soccer (28 Clubs) - The USA Division 1 league. To be the best in CONCACAF, you have to beat the best. MLS continues to grow steadily each year, but they are not the best until they begin to defeat Liga MX clubs in the CONCACAF Champions League final on a regular basis. At this point, they'd settle for just winning once.
1. Liga MX (18 Clubs) - The Mexico Division 1 league. The best until proven otherwise. The fact that Liga MX is actually considering a merger with Major League Soccer, should tell you that they absolutely hear the footsteps of a league trying to overtake them as the top league in CONCACAF.