TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League and United Soccer League Players Association have reached an agreement in principle on a Collective Bargaining Agreement for the USL Championship, pending ratification by the Players Association and the league’s Board of Governors, it was announced Wednesday afternoon.
The five-year agreement is a landmark moment for each of the USL Championship, the USLPA, and professional soccer in North America and is the first CBA for a professional second division men’s soccer league in the Concacaf region. Through the CBA, the USL and USL Championship clubs will increase their investment in players year-over-year and improve the overall experience for those playing in the league.
According to a USL press release, among the major points of the new CBA are a minimum compensation structure and new standards for player contracts, per diem rates, and appearances. The deal also includes new requirements for working and living conditions, and a new set of grievance procedures.
“Together with our players, we celebrate this historic agreement, which further solidifies the USL Championship as one of the top professional sports leagues in North America,” USL president Jake Edwards said in a statement. “Establishing these new standards will help our Clubs attract, sign and retain top talent, both domestically and internationally. Most importantly, this agreement in principle recognizes our players’ work and sets expectations that everyone can respect and plan for accordingly.”
USLPA executive committee members Connor Tobin, Trey Mitchell and Tom Heinemann also were encouraged by the agreement.
“Today is a great day for the growth of soccer in North America,” they said in a statement. “This agreement is the culmination of nearly three years of work and negotiation towards meaningful progress for players. It will elevate the status and professional standards of the USL, and significantly improve the compensation levels and working conditions of professional players. The unwavering commitment and engagement from the player pool have allowed us to secure an agreement that will substantially change what it means to be a USL Championship player.”
The USLPA’s ratification process will take place in the coming weeks and will culminate with a full ratification vote by the players. The USL Championship board of directors will also vote on ratification of the agreement in the coming weeks.