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Oakland Roots Joins USL Championship

The purpose-driven club take football as a force for social good into U.S. second division

As Oakland Roots move to within touching distance of MLS, club chair Steven Aldrich sees promotion to the USL Championship as an opportunity to expand its mission – using football as a tool to promote social change.

Following yesterday’s announcement, as of March 2021 Oakland Roots will soon play its football in the second division of U.S. Soccer.

In June, the club became the first American club to join the Common Goal movement – pledging 1% of player and staff wages, alongside ticket revenues, to help fight social inequality.

And with this latest news comes the chance to expand its mission to shift the focus of the football industry towards community impact.

“We are excited to join the USL Championship in 2021,” said Aldrich.

“Playing in the Championship is a great opportunity for Oakland Roots to continue our journey of using soccer as a force for social good.

“We can’t wait to showcase the passion, pride, and commitment of our players, fans, and The Town to an even wider audience next year.” 

The USL Championship is the largest and fastest growing professional football organisation in North America with teams throughout the United States and Canada – including three divisions, with the Championship at the top.

The benefits of moving to the USL mean all Oakland Roots matches will be televised nationally on ESPN, helping spread the club’s community-centric approach far and wide.

Photo: Oakland Roots.

USL Chief Executive, Alec Papadakis, has also expressed his excitement in welcoming a club built upon the foundations of purpose into the franchise.

“Oakland Roots Sports Club is one of the most impressive and purpose-driven organizations in the United States,” said Papadakis. 

“We are thrilled to welcome them into the Championship.

“When we think about the kind of clubs that can help drive our league forward, we look for committed ownership and fantastic community support.

“Oakland Roots possess those things in abundance, and we have no doubt they will be a huge success in our league going forward.”

The USL Championship will feature 35 teams in the 2021 season that are split into two conferences: East and West.

With the move, Roots will play in the Western Conference along with teams like MLS bound Sacramento Republic FC, LA Galaxy II, and current San Jose Earthquakes affiliate Reno 1868 FC.

“This has been a long journey together of nearly 5 years,” said Roots Co-Founders Benno Nagel and Edreece Arghandiwal.

“We can’t wait to take another step together as we continue to grow our roots."