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Minor Leagues in New England - USL/NPSL
Minor league soccer is a tough business, and its evolution in the US and New England continues. Until recently, the United Soccer Leagues (USL) was the second, third and fourth tiers of US soccer. New England teams have been in the league (then the USISL) since 1993. But the North American Soccer League altered the division II landscape, and the National Premier Soccer League expanded the fourth division.
New England has no NASL (DII) or USL Pro (DIII) teams, but many at the division four level. MPS Portland Phoenix (Maine), the NH Phantoms, the Vermont Voltage, and the Western Mass Pioneers played in the USL's Premier Development League (PDL) in 2011. Two played in the NPSL: Mass United FC and Seacoast United (NH). CFC Azul (CT), Boston Victory SC and Worcester Hydra are entering the PDL in 2012.
Gone but not forgotten are USL/NPSL teams like the Conn. Wolves, Boston Storm, Cape Cod Crusaders (two-time PDL national champ), Boston Bulldogs, Rhode Island Rays, Boston Aztec, Maine Sting, Boston Tea Men and NH Mountaineers.
Scroll down for coverage of players, coaches and teams making up this ever-changing part of the New England soccer scene.
Latest USL Soccer Stories
1/8/12 - CFC Azul Names First Head Coach. HAMDEN, Conn. - Connecticut FC AZUL have announced David Kelly as the first Head Coach in CFC AZUL franchise history. Kelly is currently the assistant coach of the Southern Connecticut State mens program but has left his mark on different programs in Connecticut. He's had coaching stints at Trinity College, Quinnipiac University and the Univeristy of Hartford.
7/25/11 - Aztecs, Phoenix, Phantoms fighting for national titles. It is the business end of the season for New England's entries in the Women's Premier Soccer League and Premier Development League, and three New England-based teams have chances at national titles.
5/24/11 - Minor league soccer seasons heating up. As we approach Memorial Day weekend, New England minor league soccer teams in the NPSL, WPSL, and USL Premier Development League are all off and running on their 2011 campaigns.
5/12/11 - Seacoast Phantoms Set For 2011 Home Opener. The Seacoast United Phantoms are set to begin competing for national championships as both their men's and women's teams begin their home schedule this weekend on Saturday at Portsmouth High School.
5/12/11 - Mass United FC Set to Begin 2011 NPSL campaign. Mass United FC will make its National Premier Soccer League debut this weekend with home games against New Hampshire's Seacoast United Phantoms on Saturday, May 14th at 3pm and the Brooklyn Italians on Sunday, May 15th at 5pm at Manning Field in Lynn, MA.
5/3/11 - Phantoms, Seacoast Team Up. On any other day, just the fact that the New Hampshire Phantoms men are welcoming new coach Iain Scott into the fold would be news enough. But today came news of an entirely different degree. The Phantoms as we've known them are changing dramatically. From now on, the team will be known as the Seacoast United Phantoms.
4/25/11 - Preseason friendly on tap for Mass United FC. The time is almost here for Mass United FC of the Northeast Conference of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) to kickoff their inaugural season in the league, and the team is preparing with a friendly on Wednesday, April 27th at 8:00 pm at Veteran's Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, MA.
3/28/11 - Mass United FC Announces 2011 Schedule. The 2011 NPSL season is fast approaching, and Mass United FC is preparing for its first-ever NPSL match on May 14th when Seacoast United visits Lynn's Manning Stadium.
3/11/11 - Mass United FC Schedules Tryouts. We first reported on Mass United FC joining the National Premier Soccer League for the 2011 season back on February 23. Now the new team has announced plans for its first official open tryouts.
2/23/11 - Mass United FC joins NPSL, calls Lynn's Manning Field home. Joining the Bay State's rich tradition of minor league soccer teams in 2011 is Mass United FC.
8/19/09 - Two Pioneers on Team of the Week.
Two members of the Western Mass. Pioneers were among the 11 players named to this weekï¿½s USL Division 2 Team of the Week.
7/20/09 - Phantoms End Season Strong.
The PDLï¿½s New Hampshire Phantoms came into the weekend with a three-game unbeaten streak and on Saturday at SNHU extended that streak with a 2-2 tie against the Newark IronBound Express.
7/18/09 - WPSL, NPSL Playoff Preview.
Four teams from New England qualified for the WPSL and NPSL playoffs that begin this weekend.
7/16/09 - Roundup: Mutiny, Phantoms Win.
A week ago, the New England Mutiny needed to win its last two games - and get help from other teams - to qualify for the WPSL playoffs.
7/2/09 - Rays Stung by Phantoms.
In a battle of New England Premier Development League teams, the New Hampshire Phantoms downed the Rhode Island Stingrays, 3-1, on Wednesday night.
6/30/09 - Four Locals Shine in Respective Leagues.
Four players with local ties have been recognized in the latest ï¿½Team of the Weekï¿½ awards for the Womenï¿½s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) and the United Soccer League (USL).
6/29/09 - Knights Upend Phantoms.
The New Hampshire Phantoms overcame a 1-0 deficit, but surrendered a late goal to fall, 2-1, to the Brooklyn Knights in PDL action on Saturday
6/25/09 - Voltage Draw with Phantoms.
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- The rival Vermont Voltage and New Hampshire Phantoms played to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday night.
6/23/09 - Thorpe Honored by USL Again.
For the third straight week, Western Mass. Pioneers goalkeeper James Thorpe was honored as the top goalkeeper on the USL Second Divisionï¿½s Team of the Week.
6/21/09 - Voltage Down NH Phantoms.
The Vermont Voltage moved to 3-2 on the season with a 4-2 home victory over the New Hampshire Phantoms Saturday.
6/18/09 - Phantoms Fall to Fury.
Florian DeCamps two goals led the Ottawa Fury past the New Hampshire Phantoms, 2-0, in a PDL matchup on Tuesday night.
6/18/09 - New England Rivals Face Off.
Two New England based PDL clubs will hook up this Saturday when then the Vermont Voltage host rival New Hampshire Phantoms at 7:00 p.m. at Burlington High School.
6/17/09 - Harrisburg Upends Western Mass..
TAMPA, FL ï¿½ The Harrisburg City islanders earned the right to face the New England Revolution after beating the Western Mass Pioneers in the second round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Tuesday night.
6/17/09 - Two Pioneers Nab Honors.
Two Western Mass. Pioneers were named to the USL Second Division Team of the Week for their efforts in winning effort against Charlotte.
6/16/09 - Phantoms Draw Rangers Again.
For the second time this season the New Hampshire Phantoms and the New Jersey Rangers played to a 1-1 draw.
6/11/09 - Pioneers Hang On to Beat Brockton Team.
LUDLOW, MA ï¿½ The Western Mass. Pioneers barely avoided a major upset, hanging on to beat a tough and spirited Emigrantes Da Ilhas side out of Brockton, Mass. in the first-round US Open Cup matchup at Lusitano Stadium Wednesday night.
6/10/09 - Local Keeper Wins Weekly Award.
Western Mass. Pioneer goalkeeper James Thorpe was honored as the USL Second Division Player of the Week.
6/9/09 - Phantoms Pick Up First Win.
The New Hampshire Phantoms came out determined to earn its first win of the season Saturday against the Westchester Flames.
6/3/09 - Locals Earn League Awards.
Western Mass. Pioneer defender Federico Molinari was named to the USL Second Division Team of the Week.
6/1/09 - Pioneer Wins PLayer of the Week.
Western Mass. Pioneer forward Yan Klukowski was honored as the USL Second Division Player of the Week.
5/28/09 - June Open Cup Date for Pioneers.
The Western Mass. Pioneers will open the 2009 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup with a June 9 match against Emigrantes Das Ilhas at Luistano Stadium in Ludlow, Mass., at 7 p.m.
5/28/09 - Pioneers Tie CP Baltimore.
LUDLOW, MA ï¿½ The Western Mass. Pioneers battled to a 0-0 draw Tuesday night against Crystal Palace Baltimore.
5/26/09 - New England Soccer Weekend Roundup.
The Western Mass Pioneers picked up their first win of the season in what was an otherwise grim weekend for New England clubs.
5/22/09 - Voltage to Open with Ottawa.
The Vermont Voltage opens its season at home Saturday against Premier Development League (PDL) rival, the Ottawa Fury.
5/20/09 - Stingrays Ink PC Standout.
The Rhode Island Stingrays have signed Bristol, R.I., native, Ryan Maduro for the 2009 season.
5/18/09 - Mixed Results for Stingrays.
The Rhode Island Stingrays tasted opposite ends of 5-1 decisions this weekend.
5/17/09 - Pioneers Drop Two More.
The Western Mass. Pioneers fell to 0-4 after dropping a set of weekend games against Crystal Palace Baltimore at the Real Maryland Monarchs.
5/11/09 - Rough Beginning for Phantoms.
The New Hampshire Phantomsï¿½ first road trip proved to be unkind as the team came home from losses against the Long Island Rough Riders (1-0) Saturday night and a 5-2 thumping against the Newark IronBound Express on Sunday afternoon.
5/8/09 - NH Phantoms Face Grueling Stretch.
After a tough home opener against the New Jersey Rangers, the New Hampshire Phantoms hit the road to face a grueling task of four road games in a row before returning home May 22 to face Ocean City.
4/29/09 - Phantoms Start on Saturday.
The New Hampshire Phantoms kick off their season this Saturday when they hose the New Jersey Rangers.
4/26/09 - Pioneers Fall in Season Opener.
The Western Mass Pioneers had a tough start to its season Saturday night, falling to the Harrisburg City Islanders, 3-1, before 2,133 fans at Skyline Sports Complex in Harrisburg, Penn.
4/24/09 - Mix of Old and New for Phantoms.
On Saturday, May 2, the New Hampshire Phantoms of the USL PDL Division will officially kick off the 2009 season when they host the New Jersey Rangers on the campus of Southern New Hampshire University.
4/23/09 - Pioneers Gear Up for New Season.
With only one USL Division 2 playoff appearance (2005) in the past six seasons, the Western Mass Pioneers will be looking to return to the postseason with a solid group of newcomers joining a core of experienced talent.
3/30/09 - Phantoms Prepare for New Season.
The New Hampshire Phantoms are busy preparing for their 14th season in the United Soccer Leagues.
2/21/09 - Pioneers Announce Home Dates.
The Western Mass Pioneers and Lady Pioneers of the USL have announced their home schedule for the 2009 season.
2/11/09 - Pioneers Schedule Finalized.
The Western Mass. Pioneers will kick of their season April 25 at the Harrisburg City Islanders.
1/28/09 - Pioneers Kick Off Tryout Season.
The Western Mass. Pioneers of the USL's Second Division held its first open tryout Friday, as Soccer City in Wilbraham hosted 20 local and international players in a strong technical workout conducted by coach Lezcek Wrona, who is back at the helm for another season.
12/10/08 - Eleven Locals in USL Showcase.
TAMPA, FL ï¿½ Eleven players with local ties will participate in next weekï¿½s USL Menï¿½s Player Showcase, giving them the opportunity to show their skills in front of top professional coaches.
8/7/08 - Voltage Upset Pioneers.
The Vermont Voltage behind two goals from Darko Kolic, upset the Western Mass. Pioneers, 2-0, Wednesday night at Vermontï¿½s Collins-Perley Stadium.
7/26/08 - Crusaders Fall in Penalties.
Arthur Kulkovï¿½s penalty kick strike sealed the deal, earning the Brooklyn Knights a 5-3 edge in penalties and ultimately advancing them in the PDL playoffs after a scoreless (0-0) game with the Cape Cod Crusaders Friday night.
7/24/08 - Munro Makes PDL Weekly Team.
Cape Cod defender Graham Munro was named to the Premier Development Leagueï¿½s Team of the Week for his efforts during last weekendï¿½s games.
7/22/08 - Crusaders, Renegades Ready for Playoffs.
The Boston Renegades and Cape Cod Crusaders begin their quest for a championship this week as their W-League and Premier Development League playoff games kick off Wednesday and Friday, respectively.
7/20/08 - Pioneers Battle to Earn Tie.
Down 2-0 in the second half on the road, the Western Mass. Pioneers fought hard and battled back with two second-half tallies, including the tying score with just three minutes of regular time left in a 2-2 draw with the Harrisburg City Islanders on Saturday.
7/20/08 - Voltage Win Fourth Straight.
The Vermont Voltage men won their fourth straight game at home with a 3-0 triumph over the Ottawa Fury in front of the home fans on Saturday.
7/17/08 - Shorthanded Phantoms Get Blown Out.
Due to a variety of Visa and travel issues, the New Hampshire Phantoms traveled to Canada to face the Ottawa Fury missing seven players on Wednesday. Despite playing a solid first half, the Phantoms tired in the second and dropped a 7-0 decision to the Fury.
7/13/08 - Voltage Exorcise Phantoms.
The Vermont Voltage men scored in the 72nd minute to break a scoreless deadlock and capture a hard-fought 1-0 victory in a competitive match with the rival New Hampshire Phantoms.
7/9/08 - Cape Cod Ousts Phantoms.
The Cape Cod Crusaders scored twice in the second half to defeat the New Hampshire Phantoms, 2-0, in a Premier Development League showdown Tuesday.
7/6/08 - Good Weekend for Voltage.
The Vermont Voltage men celebrated Independence Day weekend by winning back-to-back matches ï¿½ an exhibition Friday and a real PDL game on Saturday.
7/3/08 - Rays' Ritter Gets Props.
Rhode Island Stingrays forward Tim Ritter was named to the Premier Development Leagueï¿½s Team of the Week for his play in the ï¿½Rays first four-point week.
6/30/08 - Stingrays Draw Fury.
The Rhode Island Stingrays and Ottawa Fury exchanged goals within a minute in the second half, eventually finishing deadlocked in a 1-1 draw.
6/29/08 - Vermont Makes it Two Straight.
The Vermont Voltage men won back-to-back games for the first time this season, beating the Rhode Island Stingrays, 3-0, Saturday in PDL play.
6/25/08 - Kickers Earn Date With Revs.
RICHMOND, VA -- The Richmond Kickers earned the right to face the Revolution in the third round of the US Open Cup with a 2-1 win over the Western Mass. Pioneers in second-round action Tuesday night.
6/24/08 - Crusaders Pounce on Fury.
The Cape Cod Crusaders continued to stretch their lead at the top of the New England Division of the PDL Eastern Conference with an emphatic 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Fury Sunday.
6/22/08 - Vermont Wins Border War.
After a hotly contested 1-1 draw earlier in the season, the rival New Hampshire Phantoms and Vermont Voltage engaged in another close contest, this one decided by the Voltage, who walked off with a 1-0 victory.
6/20/08 - Crusaders Beat Phantoms.
A goal in each half was enough to lead the MPS Cape Cod Crusaders to a 2-0 victory over the New Hampshire Phantoms in a clash of the top two in the PDL Eastern Conference New England Division.
6/15/08 - Eagles Soar Past Pioneers.
After surrendering two goals within the first 16 minutes of the match, the Western Mass. Pioneers could must just a Jeff Deren penalty kick the rest of the way in a 2-1 loss to the Charlotte Eagles on Saturday.
6/15/08 - Voltage, Phantoms Tied Up.
The New Hampshire-Vermont border war kicked off Saturday with a hard-fought 1-1 battle between the Phantoms and Voltage in Premier Development League action.
6/11/08 - Pioneers Win Open Cup Game.
The Western Mass. Pioneers were triumphant in the first round of the Lamer Hunt US Open Cup, downing Boston Olympiakos, 2-0, on Tuesday.
6/9/08 - Stingrays Can't Hang On.
The Rhode Island Stingrays ï¿½ no strangers to late-game collapses at home after a 5-4 last-second loss to the Vermont Voltage earlier this year ï¿½ fell victim again to a late letdown and poor timing, surrendering a 90th-minute goal to Cape Cod and allowing the Crusaders to draw, 2-2, on Saturday.
6/9/08 - Phantoms Have Mixed Results.
The New Hampshire Phantoms started their road trip with a disappointing loss 2-1 to the Reading Rage Friday, but rebounded the next day with a 3-1 victory over the Northern Virginia Royals.
6/8/08 - Aztecs Shutout Stoners.
The Boston Aztec NPSL men took a 2-0 decision over the Pennsylvania Stoners Saturday.
6/7/08 - Crusaders Cruise Past Voltage.
Yan Klukowski and Michael Dickinson scored a goal apiece to lead the Cape Cod Crusaders past the Vermont Voltage, 2-0, in Premier Development League action Friday.
6/5/08 - Vermont's Stevens Player of the Week.
TAMPA, FL ï¿½ The Vermont Voltageï¿½s Dan Stevens was named the Premier Development Leagueï¿½s Player of the Week after he helped lead his club to an improbable comeback over the Rhode Island Stingrays last week.
6/4/08 - Two Pioneers Recognized by USL.
Two Western Mass. Pioneers made the USL Second Division Team of the Week Tuesday for their efforts in a win over Bermuda and a draw with Cleveland.
6/2/08 - Pioneer Men on Right Track.
Neil Krause scored a goal and assisted on another in the Western Mass. Pioneersï¿½ 2-2 tie with the Cleveland City Stars Sunday afternoon at Lusitano Stadium.
6/1/08 - Voltage Zap Back with Win.
Some major halftime lineup changes and a change of formation fueled the Vermont Voltage to an improbable 5-4 comeback victory over the Rhode Island Stingrays Saturday night.
6/1/08 - Ocean City Upends Crusaders.
A second-half tally from Yan Klukowski wasnï¿½t enough to prevent a loss for the Cape Cod Crusaders, who dropped a 2-1 decision to the Ocean City Barons Saturday.
5/29/08 - Pioneers to Host Open Cup Game.
CHICAGO ï¿½ The first-round pairings for the 2008 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup have been released with the Western Mass. Pioneers scheduled to host the Boston Olympiakos in the first round of the tournament June 10.
5/27/08 - So-so Weekend for Maine Teams.
BANGOR, Maine ï¿½ The new PSL teams in Maine had a so-so showing this Memorial Day weekend with the menï¿½s Sting team drawing, 1-1, with the AC Diablos and the womenï¿½s Tide falling 3-1 to the Diablos womenï¿½s team.
5/27/08 - Shorthanded Phantoms Salvage Draw.
Leaving Rhode Island last week the New Hampshire Phantoms had an idea they were going to be shorthanded this weekend, but they had no idea just how undermanned they would be.
5/23/08 - Pioneers Lose Seesaw Battle.
The Western Mass. Pioneers squandered a 2-1 lead, falling, 3-2, to Crystal Palace Baltimore in USL Second Division action Saturday.
5/23/08 - Voltage Zapped by Cape Cod.
Graham Munro scored twice and Yan Klukowski added a goal and an assist as the Cape Cod Crusaders pounced on the Vermont Voltage, 5-2, Friday night in PDL play.
5/23/08 - Crusaders Slam Stingrays.
After falling behind, 1-0, in the first 10 minutes of Wednesdayï¿½s game with the Rhode Island Stingrays, the Cape Cod Crusaders struck for four goals within 18 minutes to capture a 4-1 victory and stay in contention for a US Open Cup berth.
5/20/08 - Crusaders Take Out Rage.
The Cape Cod Crusaders evened their record at 1-1 after downing the Reading Rage, 1-0, last weekend behind a goal from Yan Klukowski.
5/19/08 - Phantoms Outlast Stingrays.
It was a Jekyll and Hyde performance from the New Hampshire Phantoms this weekend.
5/15/08 - Phantom Nets Player of the Week.
New Hampshire Phantoms forward Adrian Schippers was named the USL Premier Development League Player of the Week after scoring both goals in the Phantomsï¿½ 2-1 win over the Cape Cod Crusaders Saturday.
5/12/08 - Phantoms Nip Crusaders.
Springfield College standout Adrian Schippers scored twice to lead the New Hampshire Phantoms to a 2-1 victory over the Cape Cod Crusaders Saturday at Mass Maritime.
5/7/08 - Phantoms Open Season With Draw.
The New Hampshire Phantoms opened up the 2008 season with a 1-1 draw against the Long Island Rough Riders last Saturday night.
5/7/08 - Crusaders, Renegades Open Season Saturday.
The Boston Renegades and Cape Cod Crusaders open their respective seasons this Saturday, the former at Framingham's Bowditch Stadium and the latter at Mass Maritime Academy.
5/2/08 - Phantoms Kick Off Saturday.
The New Hampshire Phantoms kick off their 13th season in United Soccer Leagues (USL) and first in the Premier Development Division (PDL) this Saturday when they take on the Long Island Rough Riders at 7:30 p.m. at Manchester Memorial High School.
4/25/08 - Phantoms Gear Up for 2008.
EAST HAMPSTEAD, N.H. ï¿½ The New Hampshire Phantoms are close to finalizing their full roster for the upcoming 2008 season, a docket that includes two local standout goalkeepers and two international level players.
4/22/08 - Pioneers Split First Two Games.
The Western Mass. Pioneers split their first two games this weekend, falling to the Richmond Kickers, 3-0, in the season opener Saturday and beating Real Maryland, 1-0, in United Soccer Leagues action on Sunday.
4/9/08 - BU Alum Hooks on with Miami FC.
BOSTON -- Boston University men's soccer product Jarryd Goldberg signed with Miami FC of the United Soccer League First Division on Tuesday.
3/26/08 - Vuckovic's Voltage.
Moving a struggling soccer team from a city with a population of over 200,000 to a small town 30 miles to the north might seem like a poor business decision. But this is exactly what Vermont Voltage coach Bujon ï¿½Boï¿½ Vuckovic did when he purchased the team in 1999 ï¿½ and he hasnï¿½t looked back since.
3/19/08 - Nyack Alum Signs With Aztecs.
Billerica (Mass.) native Tim Conway agreed to terms today to play with the Boston Aztecs of the NPSL this summer.
3/13/08 - Boston Aztecs Return Seven.
The Boston Aztec NPSL men's team announced the return of seven key performers for Aztec men's teams yesterday. Several of the players were a part of the Aztec 2005 PASL National Championship team.
3/13/08 - Crusaders' Moves Prepare For Season.
The Cape Cod Crusaders got a massive boost last week when Graham Munroe and Jason Massie announced their intentions to return to the club. This comes one week after the team signed University of New Mexico players Joel Thiessen, Simon Epidemyr, PJ Wilson and Chris Wright for the 2008 season.
2/22/08 - Lots of History for Pioneers.
There is no doubt that Western Mass Pioneers have had their share of ups and downs throughout their 10-year history. But what the team lacks in consistency, they make up in longevity. Founded in 1998, the Pioneers are one of the older teams in the ever-changing landscape of the United Soccer Leagues.
1/24/08 - Phantoms Open Eastern PDL Schedule.
TAMPA, FL ï¿½ In their first season in the PDL, the New Hampshire Phantoms will be the first of the three New England teams to kick off the 2008 USL Premier Development League regular season when they host the Long Island Rough Riders on May 3.
1/15/08 - Pioneers Kick off USL Season Against Kickers.
TAMPA, Fla. ï¿½ The Western Mass. Pioneers will travel to the 2006 United Soccer League champion Richmond Kickers on April 19 as part of a four-game blockbuster set to kick off the USL Second Division 2008 season.
1/7/08 - Former Crusader Signs With English Club.
Former Cape Cod Crusader Andrew Wright has reached a one-year agreement with Scunthorpe United of England's Football League Championship, the second-highest division in the English soccer system after the Premier League.
11/1/07 - Phantoms Moving to PDL.
After finishing with their worst record in franchise history, the New Hampshire Phantoms announced they were moving down from the United Soccer Leagues Second Division to the USL's Premier Development League.
11/1/07 - Locals Inducted into USL Hall of Fame.
Two New England clubs and one former Revolution player were among the 2007 inductees into the USL Hall of Fame.
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