Ewing, NJ - The United Soccer League (USL) announced today that a new Trenton area soccer club will be joining USL League Two for the 2021 season. Currently known as Real Central New Jersey Soccer, the club will play its home matches at The College of New Jersey’s Lion’s Stadium.
“We’re thrilled to see the continued growth of League Two’s footprint on the East Coast, and I’m confident Real Central New Jersey will raise the bar for the league both on and off the field,” said USL VP of League Two Joel Nash. “We’re eager to see the pathway that the team will help to provide for its players, coaches and executives, as well as the high-quality soccer it will bring to the central New Jersey community, an area which boasts a rich soccer culture and history.”
“USL League Two was the perfect fit for our vision to provide fans and players a professional atmosphere, develop youth players, and provide a platform for local talent to be noticed by professional clubs,” Founder and General Manager Ira Jersey explained. “Our club will fill a gap in Central New Jersey where so many outstanding players live and attend university.”
In joining League Two, the new club will offer a proven pathway to professional soccer for its players, both those at the elite collegiate level and the top academy-age players from the region. In addition to the valuable experience of playing in the nation’s most competitive pre-professional environment, League Two also provides growth opportunities for its coaches, executives, and communities.
The club intends to have the community and early supporters weigh in on the team’s final name, logo, and colors; plus it is in the process of building partnerships with youth clubs in the Trenton area to participate in the USL Academy Cup. Offering talented youth players roster spots is one of the tenets on the new team.
“Our goal is to build the club as a community resource,” said the club’s chief marketing officer Jeremy Ryan. “Our mission is to provide affordable, high quality, local soccer to the greater Trenton area County community while giving college-age and elite youth players a unique playing platform.” Ryan continued, “Families and soccer fans will see rising stars play highly competitive games before they jump to Major League Soccer or USL professional leagues — for less than it costs to go to the movies.”
Families and soccer fans will see rising stars play highly competitive games before they jump to Major League Soccer or USL professional leagues — for less than it costs to go to the movies.
The League Two season runs May through July, including a playoff championship match, typically held the first weekend of August. About 80% Major League Soccer (MLS) college draft picks have experience in the league, and many others make rosters with lower-division professional teams both domestically and abroad.
Among the plethora of current League Two alumni in the professional ranks are US Men’s National Team players Aaron Long (NY Red Bulls, MLS), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen, Bundesliga), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders, MLS), and Brad Guzan (Atlanta United, MLS).
The league was named the Premier Development League until it was rebranded in 2019. The USL runs two professional leagues (Championship, League One), a pre-professional league (League Two), and two youth programs (Super Y League and the USL Academy).
AMATEUR SOCCER WITH PROFESSIONAL GOALS
The USL has already supported the start-up club through its preferred provider program and help from seasoned front office professionals. One such professional is Peter Wilt, who is a recent addition to the USL home office staff. Wilt is a self-declared serial soccer team starter who was the first General Manager of the Chicago Fire (MLS), Chicago Red Stars (NWSL), Indianapolis Eleven (USL Championship), and Forward Madison (USL League One).
“Lower-division soccer is so much fun,” exclaimed Jersey, also co-host of the podcast, League One Fun. “You see rising stars develop, players who love the game giving it their all, and at a higher quality than you might expect from pre-professional players. League Two teams are filled with the best college and young-adult players — these teams play very attractive soccer.”
The club is reaching out to local youth soccer teams because they hope to field a local All-Star team in the USL Academy Cup. The cup is an event open to all USL franchises to allow area youth, ages 13 to 17, to showcase themselves against other high-quality competition while remaining with their current youth clubs.
“I love the Academy Cup idea,” says Jersey. “It will let the best players in our area showcase their abilities to professional clubs and college coaches. It’s a win-win-win for our club, our youth partners, and the players. We’re an amateur club with professional goals.”
There are also early opportunities for community and corporate for sponsorships and supporter agreements. Interested parties can contact the team’s marketing and sponsorship staff through its website or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For now, the club is going by “Real Central New Jersey Soccer” until a final name is chosen with help from the community.