USL League One is adding four new clubs in 2020 – but it’s also losing one.
Lansing Ignite FC, the Michigan-based team affiliated with MLS’ Chicago Fire, announced Monday morning that it is ceasing operations ahead of the 2020 season.
“After extensive deliberations and careful considerations, Lansing Ignite FC’s leadership did not believe there was a viable path forward due to numerous economic factors,” the club said in a statement posted to Twitter.
Ignite officials did not say what specific challenges would have been impossible to overcome. The team’s average home attendance was 2,788, third-highest in League One, per Soccer Stadium Digest. Lansing midfielder Marshall Hollingsworth posted on Instagram Oct. 14 that he and each of his teammates had been released from their contracts.
“We are extremely disappointed to make this announcement, and we know our fans will be disappointed too,” club owner Tom Dickson said. “We brought the team to Lansing with high hopes for success, but due to business realities, we simply have no other option than to discontinue operation. Rest assured, we left no stone unturned looking for ways to continue beyond 2019 — and simply could not find a viable path forward.”
The Chicago Fire did not comment on the situation as of 1 p.m. Monday.
Lansing concluded the 2019 season with a semifinal loss to Greenville Triumph SC after finishing the regular season in second place.
With Lansing’s departure and Penn FC, Revolution II, Union Omaha and Inter Miami USL joining League One, the third-division league will contain 13 clubs in 2020.