A few years ago the USL lost key clubs when a few were elevated to MLS and others left for the NASL. Abandoning it's two pro-tier system to become just USL PRO, now former USL President Tim Holt oversaw a shrinking league. In the last two years through partnership with MLS, Holt saw interest in the league explode and targeted a lofty goal of obtaining D2 sanctioning.
Holt is stepping aside shortly after the rebrand of the pro division. He leaves USL in the hands of new President Jake Edwards.
"Jake Edwards is a dynamic, young executive with exceptional vision and extraordinary drive to achieve outstanding results," CEO Alec Papadakis said. "He is a proven leader with a broad understanding of U.S. soccer, both on the collegiate and professional levels. Armed with a professional soccer career, MBA, corporate experience with Octagon (a leading global sports marketing firm), and a deep understanding of the USL business, we are confident that Jake will successfully lead the USL into the next phase of operations and growth. He has been instrumental in developing Destination 2020, the League's long-term strategic growth plan, and navigating the League through its rebranding. We are fortunate to have such an outstanding sports executive as Jake to complete a seamless President leadership transition."
There are other changes in the leadership structure as the USL empowers two of their business units. Justin Papadakis steps into the role as President of Commercial Ventures. Mike Jacobs steps in as Executive Vice President, Corporate Operations and League Development.
As the highest levels of the USL change power, teams are starting to talk to the NASL about player help in case the MLS and Players Union can not reach agreement. According to former head of NASL communications Kartik Krishnayer tweeted today.
With eight teams owned by MLS sides and another 12 affiliated with 1st division clubs there are 1-4 players expected to be on each roster that would not be loaned down during a strike or lockout. Adding even one or two higher than USL quality players will help the teams play higher quality soccer while they wait out the results of CBA negotiations like the rest of North American soccer.