American soccer writing, history & data.
The USISL had gone through a regular rotation of names since its founding in 1986. But, in the offseason before the 1999, the organization changed its name to the United Soccer Leagues. That name would stick as the organization continues to call itself to this day.
The Division III USL D3 Pro League lost a dozen teams from the 1998 season, dropping from 39 down to 27 for the 1999 season. The losses were due to a number of factors. The 1998 champion Chicago Stingers accepted the options to promote to the A-League but postponed for a season. The club launched the Chicago Sockers which dropped down to the USL PDL to get ready to join the A-League for the 2000 season. A number of other 1998 D3 Pro League clubs also dropped down to the USL PDL and the league lost a number of expansion teams that folded soon after the 1998 season. The San Antonio Pumas, in the USL since the 1989-90 indoor season, finally succumbed to financial difficulties and folded prior to the 1999 season. The Indiana Blast promoted to the A-League for 1999 a season ahead of its schedule.
The D3 Pro League added a few new teams for the 1999 season. The California Jaguars dropped down from the A-League due to financial issues and the Carolina Dynamo joined the league also from the A-League after taking 1998 off. The Fresno Dragos was due to begin 1999 as a provisional team in the D3 Pro League. but folded before the regular season began.
The South Jersey Barons had the best season in the D3 Pro League in the east and the Chico Rooks were the best team in the west. South Jersey would receive a bye to the national semifinals.That allowed the second place Western Mass. Pioneers to make a run and win the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Western Mass. would host the Final Four at Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow, Mass. The Pioneers would upset the Chico Rooks 4-1 in one semifinal while South Jersey would edge the Charlotte Eagles 3-2 via a shootout in the other semifinal. On September 11, the crowd of 5223 would see their home Western Mass. Pioneers beat the South Jersey Barons 2-1 to win the 1999 USL D3 Pro League championship.
©2023 by Daniel Creel. All rights reserved.