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By ESPN Staff
Jan 7, 2010

USSF unveils '10 structure of new 2nd division

CHICAGO -- The U.S. Soccer Federation will oversee a second division league this year, temporarily ending a dispute between the United Soccer Leagues and the North American Soccer League.

The USSF last week refused to sanction either the USL or NASL, saying both were unable to meet the minimum requirement of eight viable teams.

"We want to have stability," USSF president Sunil Gulati said during a telephone conference call.

The second division this year will include two six-team conferences, with Austin, Minnesota, Portland (Ore.), Puerto Rico, Rochester and Tampa Bay in the USL Conference, and Baltimore, Carolina, Miami, Montreal, St. Louis and Vancouver in the NASL Conference.

The agreement announced Thursday is for the 2010 season only. The USSF said it will develop new standards for second division leagues.

Plans for second-division teams in Atlanta and New York were pushed back to at least 2011. Portland and Vancouver are slated to move up to Major League Soccer in 2011.

Gulati is interested in long-term investors.

"Any startup is challenged in today's economy. We've obviously had a number of challenges in this sport over time," he said. "What our goal is is that the people that are going to be investing in teams and in leagues understand what those challenges are and are realistic about what it's going to take to make it work financially.

"And that's generally not going to mean a P&L that's in the black in the first or second year. And so if we see projections, from whether it's a team or an applicant, that says, `Listen, I understand I'm gong to have some losses but in the second year I'm going to make money,' we look at that very, very rigorously and challenge those assumptions."

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