TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League and United Soccer League Players Association Tuesday announced ratification of the USL Championship’s first Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The five-year deal is the first of its kind for a professional second division men’s soccer league in the Concacaf region.

On Sept. 29, the USL and the USLPA announced they had reached an agreement in principle. Since ratified by USL Championship owners and players, the new CBA increases the overall investment in players and establishes a minimum compensation structure, new standards for player contracts, per diem rates and appearances. The CBA also includes new requirements for working and living conditions and a new set of grievance procedures.

“We strive to be globally recognized as a player-centric League, and ratification of this historic agreement demonstrates that commitment from our Board of Governors,” USL president Jake Edwards said in a statement. “This agreement provides a foundation upon which we can continue to improve the player experience on and off the field. We thank the USLPA leadership, and all our players, for their vision, hard work and collaboration throughout this process. We also commend our Labor Committee for its essential role in helping us reach this achievement.”

In a joint statement USLPA executive committee members Tom Heinemann, Trey Mitchell and Connor Tobin said, “The ratification of this agreement is another historic moment for the USL Championship and our players. We are grateful to each Player for their steadfast commitment to this long process and their unwavering desire to better the sport for the next generation.

“We are appreciative of the USL and its Championship owners for voluntarily recognizing the USL Players Association back in November of 2018 and for their commitment in this process. When we designed the USLPA, it was our dream to create an organization of players in which each player had a voice. And today, each player has used their voice, and the players have spoken. We are ecstatic that the terms of this agreement have been ratified and that these terms will significantly improve Player protection, compensation, and working conditions for all Championship players.”