Whitecaps will have a league to play in as squabble ends - Metro US

Whitecaps will have a league to play in as squabble ends

North America’s two sparring soccer leagues were told by their parent organization to get along and play together as two conferences of a single league.

In 2010 the United States Soccer Federation will have an umbrella league named USSF Division Two. It will consist of two conferences — the United Soccer League conference and the North American Soccer League conference.

For the Vancouver Whitecaps, fielding a team this year was crucial to continue building momentum toward making the jump to Major League Soccer in the 2011 season.

Bob Lenarduzzi, the Whitecaps’ president, told Metro on Thursday that there was no doubt from within the organization that it would play this season.

After the USL was sold last year, some teams disagreed with the new owners on various issues and resurrected the NASL as a breakaway league. The USSF refused to sanction either league and told the parties involved to resolve their differences.

USSF president Sunil Gulati said that all owners (including the Vancouver ownership group, and representatives from both leagues worked around the clock, staying in constant communication to get the dispute resolved.

“What we were absolutely desperate to do, and we got done, was make sure that we had a Division Two in place for the start of the season,” said Gulati.

“In a World Cup year, in a situation where the sport is building, it would be crazy not to get that done.”

Lenarduzzi said he was thrilled, if not surprised, to hear the news. He called the move important not just for the Whitecaps, but also for the growth of soccer in North America.

He also said that the Whitecaps are considering maintaining a Division Two team following the jump to MLS.

More from our Sister Sites