The players of USL League One have unionized.
USL announced Thursday that its League One clubs have voluntarily recognized the USL Players Association as an independent labor union and the exclusive bargaining representative of their players.
This will allow the USLPA to negotiate and participate in the first collective bargaining agreement in the history of League One, a league in the third tier of professional men’s soccer in the U.S.
The recognition follows confirmation that the majority of League One players had authorized the USLPA — via signed cards — to be their exclusive bargaining representative. Both parties also confirmed that they will not begin bargaining until the completion of the USL Championship Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Negotiations of the Championship CBA have been ongoing for the past 14 months. The league first voluntarily recognized the USLPA in Nov. 2018. The two sides last met in January.
In a joint statement, the USL and USLPA said: “Today is another historic day in US Soccer history with USL granting voluntary recognition to USLPA on behalf of USL League One players. Soccer in the United States is growing at a tremendous rate and League One is a major part of that growth. Both the USL and USLPA are committed to working together in the best interests of all League One players and look forward to beginning the bargaining process in earnest.”
In its second season, USL League One will feature 12 teams in 2020. Five of those teams are affiliates of Major League Soccer clubs.