New in-season tournament could spice up Kickers season

The USL League One cup competition will group teams based on regional rivalries.

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The tournament will incentivize goal-scoring in the group stage.

The regular season for the Kickers and other USL League One teams will look different in 2024. The league is kicking off an in-season cup competition.

The tournament doesn’t have an official name yet, but the league says it will be similar to a World Cup format with a group stage and knockout rounds.

To make things more exciting, tiebreakers in standings will be determined by the number of goals scored. Matches that end in a tie at the end of regulation will go right to a penalty shootout — losers will still get one point for the regulation draw.

Teams are separated into three groups based on region, intended to emphasize rivalries between clubs. Each team will play four home and four away matches during group play. They’ll have to face each team in their group twice, plus two games against clubs from another group.

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Groups are divided based on region, with four clubs each.

Image via USL League One

Joining the Kickers in the East Group will be the Charlotte Independence, Greenville Triumph SC, and South Georgia Tormenta FC.

Ready to up the Roos? The group stage games have already been announced. The Kickers start play on April 27, away against Greenville. Here’s when you can cheer them on at home:

  • June 8 vs. Charlotte
  • July 20 vs. Greenville
  • August 10 vs. South Georgia
  • August 29 vs. Spokane Velocity

Tournament games are included in season ticket packages; single game tickets will go on sale at a later date.

USL League One has also teased possibilities for the evolution of the competition in future seasons — from integrating other leagues to adding different game incentives and incorporating promotion and relegation opportunities. For now, clubs will compete for pride, prize money, and a shiny new trophy.

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