Updated List: MLS and USL PRO affiliates grow, as 2014 season nears

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As the 2014 domestic season begins to come into focus in the USA, a growing number of Major League Soccer clubs have picked up USL PRO affiliates over the offseason.

On Thursday new USL outfit Sacramento Republic announced a joint affiliation deal with MLS sides San Jose and Portland, while the Charleston Battery also announced a link up with MLS’ Vancouver Whitecaps.

Those announcements now takes the number of MLS clubs linked with teams from the third-tier of the U.S. soccer pyramid to 10, with nine left unaffiliated to a lower-league team. Those nine sides only have three USL PRO teams left to choose from as Phoenix FC, Charlotte Eagles and LA Blues are all without an MLS partner.

Of course MLS sides do have the option of starting up their own USL franchise, or linking up with a current one.

As you can see most have decided to do the latter and in my opinion it’s a tremendous way to help the development of young North American players. The Reserve League set up between the MLS and USL PRO clubs last season provided a hugely competitive level for young MLS academy players and helped improve the level of many USL players. Long may all of that continue.

(MORE: MLS, USL announce Reserve League, USL PRO integration)

All of this points to a bright future for soccer in the USA, as young MLS players are given the chance of a guaranteed loan deal with USL sides and in return the smaller clubs get increased funding, improvement in the level of play and get to build a better relationship between MLS and the USL which will benefit everyone. Especially the little guys.

So with these new affiliate deals rubber-stamped, it’s time to update the list of MLS clubs and see which sides they’re now bonded together with.

MLS and USL PRO affiliates

Chicago Fire – No affiliate

Chivas USA – No affiliate

Colorado Rapids – No affiliate

Columbus Crew – Dayton Dutch Lions

D.C. United – Richmond Kickers

FC Dallas – No affiliate

Houston Dynamo – Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Los Angeles Galaxay – No affiliate

Montreal Impact – No affiliate

New York Red Bulls – No affiliate

New England Revolution – Rochester Rhinos

Philadelphia Union – Harrisburg City Islanders

Portland Timbers – Sacramento Republic

Real Salt Lake – No affiliate

San Jose Earthquakes – Sacramento Republic

Seattle Sounders – No affiliate

Sporting Kansas City – Oklahoma City Energy FC & Orlando City (will end when Orlando join MLS in 2015)

Toronto FC – Wilmington Hammerheads

Vancouver Whitecaps – Charleston Battery