The United Soccer League will be kicking off this coming weekend (the local team — Pittsburgh Riverhounds will begin its season the following weekend at home vs defending league champs, Rochester on Saturday, April 2) — and today the league announced its official competitions rules for the 2016 Season, with the most significant change coming in the league’s standings tiebreakers.
For the new season, total wins will be used the first tiebreaker in the Eastern and Western Conference standings, replacing head-to-head competition. Goal differential will be employed as the second tiebreaker, and goals scored as the third.
Other key areas of the 2016 USL Competition Rules are as follows:
The Master Roster consists of up to 30 players and is the official player roster of the team as set by the USL. A maximum of seven players on the Master Roster may be Foreign Players. Canadian citizens are considered domestic on the roster of American teams and American citizens are considered domestic on of the roster of Canadian teams
In addition to the 30 players allowed on the Master Roster, a team may register up to five Academy Players which do not count against the 30 players on the Master Roster and are allowed to participate in all competitions. After the first five Academy Players rostered, Academy Players will count against the Master Roster. To be considered an Academy Player, all of the following must be in place: a) player is under the age of 21 as of the official start date of the current season, b) player cannot compete (or have ever previously have competed) in any NCAA or NAIA university or college soccer program, and c) player has never been signed or registered as a professional soccer player as recognized by FIFA.
The Academy Player must play for a club which conducts its activities (home games and/or training) within the team’s franchise territory or play for a club which has a documented affiliation with the team. In the latter scenario, the affiliated club outside the territory of the team must not be in the territory of another USL team and the team must register all documented affiliate clubs with the League Office prior to the season or upon completion of the affiliation agreement. Additionally, teams with MLS affiliations they use the Academy Players of their MLS affiliate.
2016 USL Roster Freeze
The 2016 USL Roster freeze will take place at 5 p.m. ET on September 6, 2016
-Any player on loan must play a minimum of five games during the regular season to be eligible to play in the playoffs. One of these games must occur prior to the roster freeze date.
USL Season Preview
I will have more detailed, team-by-team preview of the Eastern Conference and the upcoming USL season later this week — and a three-part Riverhounds preview next week here on Pittsburgh Soccer Report.