United Soccer Leagues president Tim Holt believes the USL PRO league enjoyed its most exciting season in 2013.
The third tier of soccer in the US hierarchy improved greatly thanks to a new affiliation with MLS and Holt feels things will only get better as it continues to grow.
“We're off to a great start,” USL chief Holt told MLSsoccer.com earlier this month.
“We've learned a lot from the first season. The four team-to-team affiliations all went exceptionally well, so year two is about trying to expand that – hopefully at least doubling the number of affiliations within the leagues, and then potentially an MLS team or teams actually fielding their own USL PRO side.
“This is as exciting a season as we've had, in every possible way. Undoubtedly the level of play on the field for us got better this year ... any team that didn't improve drastically from 2012 to 2013 went backwards in the standings.”
And Holt highlighted the loan of Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer who scored 19 goals in 15 matches for champions Orlando City, including four in the 7-4 final win over Charlotte Eagles earlier this month.
“Dwyer's impact was obviously profound, in terms of what he did with Orlando,” added Holt.
“He performed at an exceptionally high level. I think it's a great story for the league – if one person epitomizes the affiliation partnership in year one, it'd be Dwyer.”