As Major League Soccer is expected to open up their new reserve league in 2022, the question for many of us was whether or not FC Dallas’ USL League One side North Texas SC would make the jump to the new league.
According to a report on Wednesday morning at The Striker Texas, North Texas SC is expected to be one of the many MLS clubs that will move from either USL-1 or USL Championship in 2022.
In Texas, FC Dallas reserve team North Texas SC will vacate USL League One. Rio Grande Valley FC went independent from the Houston Dynamo prior to the 2021 season and will remain in USL Championship.
Meanwhile, all three Texas MLS franchises — including Austin FC — have expressed interest in the new MLS reserve model that will provide a gateway from the MLS Next academies to the first team.
The report also states that all but four MLS teams will move their affiliate squads into the new league. The teams that will stay are LA Galaxy II, New York Red Bulls II, Atlanta United 2, and Loudoun United, the affiliate for D.C. United. All four franchises currently play in USL-C.
The new development league is expected to file a third-division sanctioning request that would put the new league on par with USL League One in terms of requirements, including the need for a minimum of 1,000 stadium capacity. Currently, North Texas SC plays in the old Texas Rangers ballpark in Arlington, TX that seats nearly 49,000 fans.
The move may come to surprise some fans that have grown to enjoy the USL-1 side over the last couple of years. That team has helped produce several MLS-level talents including Ricardo Pepi, Bryan Reynolds and Tanner Tessmann. The team has served as a nice bridge between the academy teams and the first team, something that FC Dallas was lacking for several years when the USL-C was seeing MLS teams begin their own second teams in that division thanks to a partnership between the two leagues.
In a way, it is a risky move as the four clubs not leaving are likely going to site level of play in the USL-C being higher (which technically it will be given the division sanctioning) but also due to the atmosphere for the clubs that are growing in the USL-C. New stadiums that are popping up in places like Lousiville or Colorado Springs that are selling out creates a vastly better experience for young players than playing in front of an empty training ground or an empty MLS stadium.
What do you make of North Texas SC moving into the MLS development league next year? Are you disappointed that there won’t be any trips to Omaha or Madison going forward? Do you see this as the right step for FC Dallas and North Texas SC? Let us know your thoughts below.