League Directory

The Club Directory includes information about various leagues, who runs them and which clubs are in them.

This page has more detail and context, but …

Disclaimer: If you’re shopping for a club, remember that clubs with a team in an “elite” league may not be “better” than neighboring clubs. Some “clubs” have a full range of services from the very highest level to recreational programs for all ages. Some are much smaller, which may or may not be a good thing.

Background

National leagues (MLS Next, GA, the ECNL, the U.S. Youth Soccer National League) are described in detail here.

The reason we have overlapping leagues is complicated, and it starts at a more local level. US Club Soccer (yes, no periods) launched in 2001 to provide a more nimble alternative to U.S. Youth Soccer, which could get bogged down in the bureaucracy of its 55 state organizations. (California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio each split into two regions, though Ohio North and Ohio South are merging.) See the Hot Topic Guide and History page for more.

For our purposes, know this:

  1. Each state has at least one league sanctioned by U.S. Youth Soccer. The traditional USYS league has several tiers per age group, determined either by a selection process or promotion/relegation system.
  2. Many states and regions also have US Club Soccer leagues, the biggest of which qualify as National Premier Leagues (NPL) and feed into national tournaments. US Club’s leagues are often set up a little differently than USYS leagues, perhaps with a “club-centric” model with “club vs. club” scheduling so that one club lines up a team in age group to face another club’s teams in age group on the same day/weekend at the same location. My skepticism on this format in on the Hot Topic page.
  3. But wait — some clubs set up leagues with U.S. Youth Soccer that mimic US Club Soccer leagues, either by adopting club vs. club scheduling (see Club Champions League, which started in Virginia and Maryland but is setting up satellites in Florida, Georgia and New England) or by spanning several states (see EDP, a colossus that covers the Atlantic Coast from the D.C. metro area northward and now has a Florida operation of its own).

All of these leagues offer grandiose vision statements about serving the player and building elite pathways. The reality is that they’re all trying to do the same thing, and parents should choose clubs based on the clubs rather than the league labels. The league structure may affect how much you have to travel and how competitive the games are, but there’s no simple “US Club is like this; USYS is like this” comparison. Also, clubs typically have some teams in US Club leagues and some in USYS.

Aside from the ECNL (sanctioned by US Club) and NPL, the two of which are integrated in some ways, the majority of youth leagues are sanctioned by U.S. Youth Soccer. So unless otherwise noted, the interstate and state leagues below are USYS leagues — in other words, run by USYS state associations.

This is not comprehensive. If you think a particular league should be mentioned, get in touch and tell me about it, but I really can’t drill down to every district league featuring tiny clubs and the D or E teams of the big clubs. You can still have a great soccer experience there (I’ve coached and reffed in recreational leagues, which can be better than a lot of “travel” leagues), but there’s only so much I can list.

Here’s a look by region, roughly from West to East …

NORTHWEST/NON-CONTIGUOUS

Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana (Cal North listed in California; overlaps: Wyoming, Utah, Colorado)

National leagues

Regional leagues

  • USYS Northwest Conference: Had one Alaska team in 2019-20. Site mentions Hawaii, Montana and Wyoming. (Cal North is in Pacific conference.)
  • ECNL (regional girls) Northwest: Currently only Cal North.
  • Yellowstone NPL: Montana, Idaho (Utah)
  • Washington NPL: see below

States

Hawaii

Alaska

Washington/northern Idaho (some Oregon)

Oregon

Idaho

  • Idaho State League (Southern) covers the thick part of the state in the south. Clubs in the thin strip between Washington and Montana may opt to play in Washington’s leagues instead.

Montana


CALIFORNIA/SOUTHWEST

National leagues

Regional leagues

States

Cal North

  • The NorCal Premier NPL and its lower divisions include nearly every major club in the Cal North region, making it one of the largest US Club leagues (if not the largest) in the country.
  • Cal North Competitive Soccer League is the top USYS league. Cal North also has several smaller district leagues.

Southern California

Nevada

Arizona

  • USYS statewide: Arizona Advanced Leagues calls it top tier the APL. The AAL umbrella has more tiers, and the state also has an Open League.
  • Few local leagues play full-fledged travel, with Pima County as an exception.
  • The NPL/US Club system has not reached the state, though a couple of clubs are in the ECNL and ECNL Southwest regional.

ROCKIES/DESERT

New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming

National leagues

Regional leagues

States

New Mexico

Utah

  • USYS statewide: Utah Premier League and lower divisions (State Competition League (SCL), Inter Regional League (IRL)) account for most of the clubs in the state, especially in the population centers of the Salt Lake City metro area (Ogden to Provo).
  • Southern Utah Inter-Regional League (SU-IRL) collects clubs in the smaller cities of the south and extends into Nevada.
  • At least one club in southern Utah plays in the Colorado Mountain Region League.

Colorado

Wyoming


HEARTLAND

Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri

National leagues

Regional leagues

Interstate leagues

States

Nebraska

Kansas

  • Heartland is the dominant league.

Missouri

Iowa


TEXAS/OKLAHOMA

National leagues

Regional leagues

States

Texas North

Texas South

Oklahoma


GREAT LAKES

Around the Lakes from Minnesota to Western New York, also picking up the Dakotas and part of West Virginia. That’s a large land mass that isn’t easily broken down into smaller regions — some leagues cover the Heartland and western Great Lakes states, some cover the Ohio Valley and stretch into the South, and some cover the entire Great Lakes region.

National leagues

Regional leagues

  • USYS Great Lakes Conference: Oddly skips over Wisconsin and Illinois while overlapping with the Midwest: Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, New York West, Pennsylvania West
  • USYS Midwest Conference: Runs from Prairie (all Heartland states) to the western Great Lakes states — South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana
  • ECNL Ohio Valley regional (see also Southeast): Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania West, New York West (Tennessee); ECNL Heartland regional spills into Illinois
  • Midwest Development League NPL: Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania West
  • Great Lakes Alliance NPL / Premier: Indiana, Ohio, Allegheny
  • Minnesota NPL: See below
  • Northern Illinois Soccer League NPL: See below

Great Lakes West/Upper Midwest

North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin

North Dakota / South Dakota

  • Dakota Premier League: Cities are spread out in the Dakotas, and the DPL expands that area with teams in Wyoming, Montana and Iowa. The league is split into West and East and meets to play multiple games at one venue at a time. For example: In fall 2020, the East played Sept. 13 in Sioux Falls (SD), Sept. 20 in Fargo (ND), Sept. 27 in Aberdeen (SD) and Oct. 11 in Sioux Falls. The West played in Rapid City (SD), Casper (WY), Billings (MT) and Minot (ND).
  • Tournaments provide a primary outlet of competition for many clubs, and travel to Minnesota for the Twin Cities Soccer League (see below).

Minnesota

Michigan

Wisconsin

  • USYS statewide: Wisconsin State League, with district leagues feeding into it.
  • US Club reaches into the state with the Midwest Developmental NPL and the Twin Cities Soccer League.

Great Lakes South

Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio

Illinois

Indiana

Kentucky

Ohio (North and South are merging)

Allegheny

West Virginia, Pennsylvania West, New York West

Interstate

  • The Super League, whose launch was disrupted by COVID, intends to draw from West Virginia and the western halves of Pennsylvania and New York.

West Virginia

  • The state has no central league currently operating. Competition options are the Great Lakes NPL, EDP (see Atlantic Coast), NCSL (see D.C. metro) and the Club Champions League (see Virginia).

Pennsylvania West

  • USYS statewide: Classic League is the top tier above several district leagues, at least until the Super League is operational.
  • The Great Lakes NPL also draws substantially from here, and a few clubs enter the Midwest Developmental NPL or Ohio-based CASA.

New York West

  • USYS statewide: Thruway League.
  • The Great Lakes NPL has a strong presence here, and a couple of clubs dabble in EDP (see Atlantic Coast).

MID-SOUTH

Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee (to the Florida Panhandle)

National leagues

Regional leagues

Interstate leagues

  • Southeastern Club Champions League: Alabama, Tennessee (Georgia, South Carolina). Not affiliated with Club Champions League, which is a U.S. Youth Soccer league. SCCL is US Club Soccer. Half of the clubs have top teams in the ECNL, GA or MLS Next, as well as the South Atlantic NPL.
  • I-10 League: US Club league following the Gulf Coast between Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle

States

Louisiana

  • USYS statewide: Louisiana Classic Soccer League (LCSL).
  • The Gulf States NPL draws a few teams, and there’s a little bit of crossover into Texas for the Red River NPL and US Club’s North Texas league.

Arkansas

Mississippi

Alabama

  • USYS statewide: Alabama State League.
  • US Club has a little bit of a presence with the South Atlantic NPL, I-10 League and the SCCL.

Tennessee


FLORIDA

See also Mid-South.

National leagues

Regional leagues/State leagues

Florida is typically its own “region” when there’s no Southeast or Gulf Coast.


PIEDMONT

National leagues

Regional leagues

Interstate leagues

  • Southeastern Club Champions League: Georgia, South Carolina (Alabama, Tennessee). Not affiliated with Club Champions League, which is a U.S. Youth Soccer league. SCCL is US Club Soccer. Half of the clubs have top teams in the ECNL, GA or MLS Next, as well as the South Atlantic NPL.

States

Georgia

  • USYS statewide: Georgia Premier League is the middle tier between the USYS Piedmont Conference and the state’s boys (Classic) and girls (Athena) leagues.
  • SCCL draws heavily from Georgia, and the South Atlantic NPL also has a presence.
  • CCL (again, not related to SCCL and not a US Club league) has launched a small Georgia league.

South Carolina

  • USYS statewide: South Carolina State Challenge League is the middle tier between the Piedmont Conference and the lower tiers — Presidents Medal Soccer League (PMSL) and the Open League.
  • A couple of clubs are in the South Atlantic NPL, and the Carolina Champions League (see below) reaches into the Charlotte suburbs.

North Carolina

  • USYS statewide: The NCYSA Classic League mercifully splits a lot of its teams into East and West regions, sparing people the 330-mile drive from Wilmington to Asheville.
  • The Carolina Champions League (US Club) is currently focused in two metro areas — Charlotte (including South Carolina suburbs) and the Triangle.

ATLANTIC COAST (I-95)

Virginia, Maryland (D.C.), Delaware, Pennsylvania East, New Jersey, New York East. There’s no easy demarcation line, especially because EDP’s boundaries are fluid, and that has carried over to the USYS regional EDP now administers. Some leagues cover a state; some cover a metro area that straddles state lines.

National leagues

Regional leagues

Interstate leagues

  • EDP: Runs from Virginia to Maine; also administers USYS regional conferences.
  • Club Champions League (CCL): The USYS club-vs.-club league reaches into every corner of Virginia and maintains footholds in West Virginia and Maryland.
  • Atlantic Premier League (APL): Now incorporating the Philadelphia Area Girls Soccer league (PAGS), the league draws most of its clubs from Pennsylvania East but reaches down through Delaware to Baltimore.

States

Virginia (south of D.C. metro)

  • The Virginia State League covers the central and southern part of the state from Richmond to Hampton Roads.
  • Other options are US Club’s ECNL regional/NPL league and the USYS CCL.

D.C. metro

  • The National Capital Soccer League (NCSL) merged with the all-girls WAGS league in the 2010s and has extended its reach from the D.C. suburbs and exurbs out to West Virginia, the Virginia mountains, western Maryland and any part of Maryland south of Baltimore and west of the Chesapeake Bay.
  • The Old Dominion Soccer League (ODSL) doesn’t cross into Maryland but goes into West Virginia, drawing some top teams from the mountains along with the big D.C. clubs’ lower-tier teams.
  • Of the USYS interstate leagues: EDP’s southern extent is Northern Virginia, while CCL draws many Northern Virginia clubs in addition to the rest of Virginia, West Virginia and a small presence in Maryland.
  • US Club’s ECNL regional/NPL double stops at the Potomac (not going into Maryland).

Maryland (north of D.C. metro)

  • With no statewide leagues, Maryland’s clubs have a choice of USYS leagues. The biggest by far is EDP, though D.C. suburban clubs also go to the NCSL, a couple of clubs reach up to the APL, and there’s a long list of smaller local leagues.
  • In addition to the Penn Regional NPL, US Club has the Central Maryland Soccer Association, co-sanctioned with SAY.

Delaware

  • USYS statewide: Delaware has one, the DYSA Interclub Travel League, but it’s only for U-10 and U-9.
  • As in Maryland, clubs in Delaware can go to the APL or EDP.
  • The Penn Regional NPL draws many of the state’s top clubs.

Pennsylvania East

  • The state has the Penn Regional NPL, APL and EDP, and a lot of clubs enter all three.

New Jersey

  • EDP is the de facto state league, especially now that EDP has partnered with the New York Club Soccer League (NYCSL).
  • Some clubs go southward to the Penn Regional NPL.

New York East

  • EDP / New York Club Soccer League (NYCSL) / Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League is the umbrella for most clubs in the Big Apple and nearby.
  • US Club lost its presence here when the NYCSL jumped ship but will surely be back.

NEW ENGLAND

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine. The regional/interstate leagues draw most big clubs.

National leagues

Regional leagues

Interstate leagues

States

Connecticut

  • USYS statewide: CJSA State League
  • EDP, though, draws nearly all of the state’s top clubs.
  • NEP’s NPL division reaches here as well.

Rhode Island

  • NEP, EDP and CCL are the major choices.

Massachusetts

  • This is the northern extent of EDP, and NEP starts to draw more clubs, with CCL also starting up.
  • USYS statewide: Town Select League provides a middle level between town leagues and the regionals.

Vermont

New Hampshire

Maine


Corrections, comments

Use the contact form to let me know.