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Soccer war tale of the tape: USL PRO vs. NASL

By Rhiannon Walker, Staff Writer, rwalker@opubco.com Published: July 2, 2013
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Oklahoma City now has the first of two planned professional soccer teams.

Tuesday afternoon, Prodigal LLC and United Soccer Leagues PRO officially announced the approval of a USL team for the city. The team will make its debut in April 2014.

Another professional team could be on the horizon, however.

Oklahoma City resident Tim McLaughlin has emerged as a leader of a group that wants to bring an NASL franchise to Oklahoma City by spring 2015

Bill Peterson, the NASL commissioner, invited McLaughlin to the league's board of governors meeting on July 25 in Dallas. McLaughlin could make a presentation about his vision for NASL soccer in Oklahoma City.

Both the NASL and USL are composed of professional players.

There is only one city — Tampa Bay — with both NASL (Tampa Bay Rowdies) and USL (VSI Tampa Bay) teams. The Rowdies crowds average 3,837 per game, while VSI brings in an average in the hundreds.

VSI became a part of USL PRO in 2013, while the Rowdies were an original NASL member in the 1970s and '80s. The new team was revived in 2008.

The Two Leagues in Short:

NASL:

* The North American Soccer League (NASL) is a professional soccer league that was re-established in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico in 2011.

*Approximately 200 soccer players are currently on NASL team rosters. Players' experience varies widely, as some have played in Europe and Latin America's first divisions and at the national team level, while others are in the early stages of their professional careers.

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