At an event in Birmingham, Alabama’s Railroad Park today, the United Soccer League officially unveiled Birmingham as its first expansion city for 2019. A name and brand will be established at a later date, as will the venue.
Rumored for over a year and acknowledged for months on the league’s own about page, Birmingham is being launched by owners Jeff Logan, James Outland, and Lee Styslinger. Logan is the co-owner of Minor League Baseball’s Birmingham Barons.
The league “leaked” the news just minutes before the announcement with this clever little video.
— USL (@USL) August 8, 2017
“Birmingham is an ideal market for USL, clicking off all of the criteria we require in a new expansion market,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis, in a release.
For the past two years, Birmingham has been home of the NPSL’s Hammers. Co-founder of the Hammers, Morgan Copes, has been named vice president of USL Birmingham.
“The momentum for a professional soccer team in Birmingham all started with a couple of good buddies and a few beers. To now have a USL team here is amazing — I still have to tell people to ‘pinch me’ because it doesn’t feel real,” Copes said in the release.
Birmingham will play the 2018 Premier Development League season in 2018 before launching in the USL’s Eastern Conference in 2019.