August 22, 2018
Founded in 2011, The United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) continues to grow into the fastest amateur league in the country. Led by UPSL and BSMA advisory member Alex Kajumulo, the league has expanded to over 200 teams in seven years, with the plan to grow to 300 teams by next year.
Although it has been a group effort, a portion of the league’s success can be credited to Kajumulo as he has been an integral part of the league’s expansion. The league also recently hired Derek Barraza as the new Executive Director. In collaboration with Barazza, Kajumulo will join the UPSL Strategic Advisory Board to launch the new UPSL Youth Academy League. According to UPSL’s Commissioner Yan Skwara, “The UPSL Youth Academy League is an exciting youth player development opportunity for our members. We will create better-defined pathways from first kick to reaching the pinnacle of the game, whether it is playing for the U.S. National team, playing professionally or playing college soccer. We will establish the UPSL Strategic Advisory Board to support the UPSL’s long-term goals and tackle the more complex issues facing soccer in the U.S.”
Kajumulo encourages all smaller youth clubs who do not have a professional club affiliation, which is over 95% of the youth soccer clubs in the country, to become members of the league because this is the opportunity to be apart of the US Soccer pyramid from top to bottom, as UPSL’s plan is to move towards promotion and relegation. Kajumulo expressed, “At some point it will be extremely difficult to enter in the UPSL due to the rise of its value. If you are a club and you want to be apart of a real top to bottom structure, then its recommended to join this league.”
Kajumulo emphasizes that this is one of the only ways for a youth program to grow because their is no way that clubs can join Major League Soccer, the National Women’s Soccer League, or the United Soccer Leagues because their franchise fees are not affordable. We have seen an uptick in Black soccer club ownership in the UPSL over the last two years as the league ventured to the east coast, so this could be another route for a Black run club that does not have a professional team structure to the top of its pyramid.
Click here to learn more about the UPSL.