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Oakland Roots Joins USL Championship

By Joe, 09/15/20, 8:45AM PDT

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Oakland, CA – Oakland Roots Sports Club will join the USL Championship, the second division of US Soccer for the 2021 season. The USL is the largest and fastest growing professional soccer organization in North America with teams throughout the United States and Canada. The USL includes three divisions with the USL Championship sitting at the top.

“We are excited to join the USL Championship in 2021,” said club Chair Steven Aldrich. “Playing in the Championship is a great opportunity for Oakland Roots to continue our journey of using soccer as a force for social good. We can’t wait to showcase the passion, pride, and commitment of our players, fans, and The Town to an even wider audience next year.” 

The club will continue to play home games in the heart of Oakland at Laney College Stadium. Roots sold out their first five home games in club history, packing Laney with an average of over 5,000 fans per game with 5,723 on hand for the final home match of 2019 last October. 

“Oakland Roots Sports Club is one of the most impressive and purpose-driven organizations in the United States. We are thrilled to welcome them into the Championship,” said USL Chief Executive Officer Alec Papadakis. “When we think about the kind of clubs that can help drive our league forward, we look for committed ownership and fantastic community support. Oakland Roots possess those things in abundance, and we have no doubt they will be a huge success in our league going forward.”

The USL Championship will feature 35 teams in the 2021 season that are split into two conferences: East and West. With the move, Roots will play in the Western Conference along with teams like MLS bound Sacramento Republic FC, LA Galaxy II, and current San Jose Earthquakes affiliate Reno 1868 FC. Oakland Roots acquired the franchise rights from the USL East Bay group in order to join USL in 2021.

“This has been a long journey together of nearly 5 years,” said Roots Co-Founders Benno Nagel and Edreece Arghandiwal. “We can’t wait to take another step together as we continue to grow our roots."

 

About USL

The United Soccer League (USL) is the largest professional soccer organization in North America, possessing nearly a decade of experience in bringing the world’s game to communities across the United States and Canada. Overseeing The USL Championship, USL League One, and USL League Two, the organization is built on a proven and recognized model in international football and counts more than 100 clubs in its membership. 

Based in Tampa, Florida, the USL has grown over the past decade into a model organization with strong corporate partnerships, stable organizational leadership, and a dedicated staff that provides outstanding support to member clubs and outside partners. Sanctioned by the U.S. Soccer Federation and Canadian Soccer Association, the USL is #UnitedForSoccer, moving the game forward in the United States and Canada.

 

USL Championship Quick Facts

Affiliate Leagues: USL League One and USL League Two

Number of Teams in 2020: 35 

League Start Date: March

League End Date: October with Playoffs running through November

Broadcast: All USL games are on ESPN+

 

Place Your Deposit Now for the 2021 USL Championship Season

Deposits are available now for the Roots’ USL debut season with an Oakland Roots 2021 Membership. Place your deposit by visiting oaklandrootssc.com/tickets or by emailing tickets@rootssc.com.

 

Membership Update 

In appreciation of all Oakland Roots’ 2020 Spring Members, you will receive Three (3) bonus game credits in addition to the Six (6) game credits from the cancelled 2020 Spring Season. 

 

The Nine (9) game credits equates to 50% of the 18 game Oakland Roots 2021 Membership package. Your account will be credited automatically, and will be reflected on your Roots Online Ticket Account and applied towards the full value of the 2021 Membership during an exclusive pre-sale.

 

All other Ticket Holders from the 2020 Spring Season will receive a credit equal to the purchase price of the tickets. Ticket credit can be redeemed via the Roots Online Ticket Account or by contacting the Roots’ Ticket Office.

 

FAQ’s

Q: When will USL official season play begin in 2021?

A: The USL kicks off each season at the beginning of March.  

 

Q: Will player contracts for your NISA team still be valid in USL?

A:  No. New USL player contracts will take its place.

 

Q: Will you finish out the NISA season.

A: Yes, we intend to finish the fall season in NISA. 

 

Q: What are the benefits of moving to USL? 

A: We will have nationally televised matches on ESPN, spreading our brand’s reach in the world. USL is the second division of men’s soccer in the United States as sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and provides our club with more competition across the country and a depth of talent to compete against. In USL, we will have two matches against opponents within a 3-hour drive and 18 west coast opponents to compete against. That can create some local rivalries. 

 

Q: Where will we be able to watch the USL games?

A: All USL games are streamed on ESPN+, with some matches airing on ESPN2 and ESPNDeportes. For international fans, USL partnered with SportFive to seal the first international deal to broadcast USL Championship on Flow Sports across 22 countries. 

 

Q: Where will the Roots play in USL?

A: Roots will continue to play at Laney Football Stadium in the heart of Oakland with a new digital video scoreboard being added ahead of next season. 

 

Q: How is this related to the USL East Bay franchise?

A: The Oakland Roots acquired the franchise rights from the USL East Bay Group. 

 

Q: What was the cost of buying the franchise rights and where do those territory rights cover?

A: The cost was undisclosed with the parties involved. 

 

Q: Will Roots look to join USL Academy?

A: We are continuing to build out our development model with Project 51O and at the same time working closely with the local youth clubs in our area.

 

Q: Will Project 51O be joining USL League 2 as well?

A: Project 51O consists of a few teams in different leagues. Stay tuned. 

 

Q: What happens if the COVID situation doesn't get better in the next 6-7 months? Do you still plan on playing in 2021? 

A: We plan to play 2021, if health authorities say it's safe to do so. We will continue to work closely with the health authorities to insure the safety of our players, staff and community. 

 

Q: Will tickets from the cancelled 2020 Spring Season be valid for 2021?

A: All payments made for tickets from the 2020 Spring Season have been converted into ticket credit which can be redeemed for future Roots’ home games. Log in to your Roots Online Ticket Account to view and use your credit options or email Tickets@Rootssc.com for assistance.

 

Q: What if I had an Oakland Roots 2020 Spring Membership?

A: All 2020 Spring Members will receive a 50% credit towards the Oakland Roots 2021 Membership. The credit can be applied during the Membership presale, details for the presale will be announced at a later date.

 

Q: I’m interested in becoming a sponsor of the Oakland Roots. Who do I reach out to?

A: Please email partnerships@rootssc.com including your company name, contact info and any other relevant information so our team can review.