The provisional division II designation is largely meaningless in terms of actual soccer, but both leagues have coveted it for its possible effects on the vagaries of business, ego, profits... blah blah moneys. Retention of division II status will allow the corpse of the NASL to stumble around Hofstra for at least one more year. While USL didn’t need the designation, its top brass will be pleased to flaunt the promotion from division III as having achieved one of their main stated goals (though the real ideal was to move past the NASL so, if they are honest, the victory is mostly empty). It is all very corporate.
What this all means for S2 is still a little difficult to parse. It is not public knowledge what kind of timeline US soccer has laid out for each league to reach true division II eligibility. However, here are some best guesses:
- It most likely means nothing in 2017
- The prospect of investing in S2 has likely become slightly more attractive. The visage of Division II lends an idea of long term stability. Whether this just strengthens the Sounders’ position when negotiating with their rumored Tacoma based partners or brings in completely new interested parties is hard to say but the business end of the organization will certainly be pleased with the promotion.
- There is a non-zero chance that signing with a team in the second tier of soccer in the US is more attractive than one in the third tier. This could especially help in the signing of foreign players who will be less aware of just how semantic the distinction may be.
- S2 will be leaving Starfire soon. The stadium where S2 plays is one of the ones in the USL that does not meet the capacity requirements set by the USSF. US Soccer will want that requirement met soon so it is likely that S2 is playing somewhere else in 2018.
All in all, this move by the USSF is a bit of a push in terms of the American soccer division wars. Long term, though, it tips the scales in favor of the USL, and in all likelihood Sounders FC 2 will be a division II team from now on.