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Exclusive: Brooklyn Football Club will join USL Championship

In a change of plans, the new team will now compete in the USL's highest division.

Still true for the Brooklyn men's team, but in a different league | Brooklyn FC

The 2024 USL Championship season kicks off this weekend with 24 teams. But next year, the league will include an addition from New York City.

Brooklyn Football Club will soon announce its men's team will play in the USL Championship beginning in 2025 — and in not USL League One, as planned when the Brooklyn expansion team was announced last June.

The USL and Brooklyn FC are expected to formally announce their change of league plans for the team's inaugural 2025 season next week, according to multiple sources informed of the decision who spoke to Hudson River Blue.

Further proof might be hiding in plain sight on the club's profile on the social network formerly known as Twitter, which vaguely refers to Brooklyn Football Club as "kicking off in 2025 in the USL," noticeably not specifying which USL league.

Instead of joining USL League One, a Division Three-sanctioned league that is on the same level of the US Soccer pyramid as MLS NEXT Pro, the Brooklyn FC men's team will step up to the Division Two-sanctioned USL Championship — likely at some increased cost. Last March, the Sports Business Journal had the USL's COO confirm that expansion fees for USL Championship clubs run owners $20 million, as opposed to $5 million to join League One.

Brooklyn would seem set to join Sporting JAX of Jacksonville, FL, as 2025 expansion clubs in the USL Championship's Eastern Conference. New teams in Des Moines and New Orleans have also been mentioned as options to join the Championship in 2025, though the full slate of expansion clubs has yet to be confirmed.

For their part, Brooklyn FC has been busy rolling out numerous parts of its plans as it gets up and running as a new USL franchise.

The club confirmed the long-expected news that it would use Maimonides Park, the Brooklyn Cyclones's minor-league ballpark in Coney Island, as their home stadium.

HRB also first reported that Brooklyn would be adding a professional women's team in the USL Super League, which was officially confirmed when that new women's league also received Division One sanctioning, on par with NWSL, from US Soccer.

The Brooklyn build-up continues to look and feel ambitious, with the club set to launch this summer as an intriguing new pro soccer offering in the New York City area.

The Brooklyn men's team will also be uniquely positioned to reach a wider national audience come 2025, thanks to USL's strong and strengthened broadcast setup. USL just renewed its long-running partnership with ESPN, not long after making a broadcasting deal with CBS Sports.

Between the CBS Sports and ESPN deals, the 2024 season will see 35 USL matches broadcast on national television networks, up from nine in 2023. The women's USL Super League is said to be negotiating a separate broadcast deal for its games, but no broadcaster has been announced as of yet.

Adding a team in the New York market must be appealing to the USL and its broadcast partners, as does having the Brooklyn men's team compete in the highest USL division possible.

It will be no easy task for Brooklyn to start from scratch in an increasingly competitive USL Championship, which has had its teams busy both rivaling and gobbling up talented players from MLS NEXT Pro.

The Brooklyn men starting in USL Championship puts the new franchise much closer, competitively speaking, to its local MLS rivals, and further raises the intensity of competition for the eyeballs and dollars of soccer fans in the New York area.