Prince Lobel partner Steve Gans was a member of the legal team that worked on the historic initial Collective Bargaining Agreement between the United Soccer League and the United Soccer League Players Association, which was announced today. Prince Lobel represents the United Soccer League Players Association.
Here is the press release announcing the milestone agreement.
USL and USLPA Announce Landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement
Establishing Framework for USL Championship from 2021 through 2025
September 29, 2021
TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League (USL) and United Soccer League Players Association (USLPA) have reached an agreement in principle on a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for the USL Championship, pending ratification by the Players Association and the League’s Board of Governors.
The five-year agreement is a landmark moment for each of the USL Championship, the USLPA, and professional soccer in North America and is the first CBA for a professional second division men’s soccer league in the CONCACAF region. Through the CBA, the USL and USL Championship Clubs will increase their investment in players year-over-year and improve the overall experience for those playing in the league.
Among the major points of the new CBA are a minimum compensation structure and new standards for player contracts, per diem rates, and appearances. The deal also includes new requirements for working and living conditions, and a new set of grievance procedures.
“Together with our players, we celebrate this historic agreement, which further solidifies the USL Championship as one of the top professional sports leagues in North America,” said USL President Jake Edwards. “Establishing these new standards will help our Clubs attract, sign and retain top talent, both domestically and internationally. Most importantly, this agreement in principle recognizes our players’ work and sets expectations that everyone can respect and plan for accordingly.”
“Today is a great day for the growth of soccer in North America,” said USLPA Executive Committee Members Connor Tobin, Trey Mitchell, and Tom Heinemann. “This Agreement is the culmination of nearly 3 years of work and negotiation towards meaningful progress for Players. It will elevate the status and professional standards of the USL, and significantly improve the compensation levels and working conditions of professional Players. The unwavering commitment and engagement from the Player pool have allowed us to secure an agreement that will substantially change what it means to be a USL Championship Player.”
“This Agreement provides Players with increased compensation and player protection, while standardizing many elements of the overall player experience. These changes will be integral to the growth of the USL Championship for years to come. We would like to recognize the effort of the USL and its Championship Clubs during this negotiation. This was a complex and dynamic process for all parties, and we’d also like to thank our dedicated legal team, as well as our strategic partner, CWA, for their support throughout this process. Most of all, we are grateful for our devoted Board of Directors, our committed Team Representatives, and our accomplished Player pool.”
For the USLPA, the ratification process will take place in the coming weeks and will culminate with a full ratification vote by the players. The USL Championship Board of Directors will also vote on ratification of the agreement in the coming weeks.
The United Soccer League (USL) is comprised of more than 125 member clubs that bring communities together through the world’s game. Including the USL Championship (USSF Division II), USL League One (USSF Division III), USL League Two and W League (Pre-Professional), USL Academy (elite youth) and Super Y League (youth), the organization is built on a proven and recognized model in international football. In September, the USL announced the USL Super League, a new professional women’s league that will apply for Division II sanctioning from USSF and expects to begin play in 2023.
The USLPA was founded in January of 2018 and is the official collective bargaining agent for USL Championship and USL League One Players. Formally recognized in November of 2018, the USLPA is the largest professional soccer players association in North America and represents all players who are party to a USL Standard Player Agreement.