TAMPA, Fla. – United Soccer League Division III provided sanctioning paperwork to the U.S. Soccer Federation Tuesday, with at least 10 founding members ready to compete in the inaugural 2019 season.

South Georgia Tormenta FC, FC Tucson, Greenville Triumph SC, Madison Pro Soccer, Toronto FC II and Chattanooga Pro Soccer already have been announced as founding members of the new professional league. Official announcements of the remaining teams will be made in the weeks ahead.

“This is a landmark moment not only for the United Soccer League but also soccer as a whole in North America,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “Over the past several years, alongside the effort to elevate the USL to Division II, we developed the plan to launch a new, competitive and exciting professional third-division league that would further the growth of soccer across the U.S. The new league is announcing teams in 10 thriving markets that exhibit a proven demand for the professional game. This is a truly national league with more markets set to join as we grow toward our target of 24 teams by 2021, the league’s third season.”

Added Papadakis: “As a professional league, we are committed to providing a thrilling experience for fans and a top-notch experience for players – and a proper stadium plays a major role in that experience. USL Division III features two clubs – South Georgia Tormenta FC and Greenville Triumph SC – building new soccer-specific stadiums, equating to more than $30 million in construction and design, and much more in local economic impact. The league also features clubs utilizing and renovating existing infrastructure to provide the best experience while revitalizing community assets.”

USL Division III will announce more teams set to compete in 2019 in the coming weeks, while the league is in ongoing discussions with ownership looking to join the league for the 2020 season and beyond.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.