by Miguel Padilla
The USL Championship is growing in popularity, growing attendance, matches streamed on ESPN+ and gaining international notoriety as clubs have made runs in the US Open Cup. The league can boast quality players like Solomon Asante, Kevaughn Frater and Cody Launrendi. The USL Championship also has players with international experience having played for their respective national teams in Gold Cups, World Cups and other tournaments throughout the world.
Soccer specific stadiums have popped up across the USL landscape and some of the dual purpose stadiums have great atmospheres with large and energetic crowds. Places like the gem that is Toyota Field in San Antonio, or the scenic Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh, the crazy atmosphere that is Isotope Stadium and the historic Al Lang Stadium in Tampa.
This season has been pivotal one for USL, in the off season the League was officially re-branded and introduced new tiers (USL One and Two). While MLS and other sports leagues have an All Star game even Minor League Baseball showcases it’s own exciting All Star Game, the USL has yet to jump in the mix. The USL Championship should and needs to consider an All Star match, it would generate excitement for the league. The Eastern and Western Conference clubs don’t meet in the regular season or playoffs until the USL Cup final. An All Star match; in a East v West format would generate interest from fan and expose high caliber players that the opposite conferences don’t get to see very often. An All Star match would also show the USL cities and stadiums across the league. Places like those mentioned above and other cities like Sacramento, St. Louis, Charlotte and Indianapolis among others would make great hosts. An All Star weekend would generate money for local economies as it would bring in USL fans from all over.
We would love to see San Antonio host the first USL All Star game at Toyota Field, would make for a scenic historic first match and the local fans would come out to support. San Antonio has also proved itself as a wonderful city to host a large sporting event, having hosted College football bowl games, NCAA college basketball Final Four and international soccer matches.
Let us know what city would you like to see host a USL All Star game and who is your All-Star USL player.