American soccer writing, history & data.
In mid-1996, the USISL incorporated in Florida as USISL, Inc. and merged with the American Professional Soccer League (A-League). Those entities created a new USISL A-League sanctioned by the USSF for Division II play beginning in 1997. The USISL also re-branded its other leagues. The United States Indoor Soccer League became simply the I-League. Seven teams played full indoors schedules for the 1996-97 season. The Baltimore Bays, Rhode Island Stingrays and Philadelphia Freedom made up the East Division. While the Tulsa Roughnecks, Omaha Flames, Mesquite Kickers and Oklahoma City Alliance (formerly the Oklahoma City Slickers) made up the West Division. Seven more teams played a limited number of games to fill up the schedule.
Baltimore again went undefeated during the regular season to win the East while Tulsa easily won the West. Those two teams met for a best-of-three series to determine the league champion. Baltimore won the first two games 5-4 and 13-10 during early March of 1997 to win their second straight USISL I-League title.
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