The United Soccer League announced Thursday that the Marietta-based Southern Soccer Academy will field a team in USL League Two for the 2020 season.
USL League Two — previously known as the Premier Development League — is considered a non-professional developmental league in the U.S. soccer system, with teams comprised primarily of collegiate players playing during the summer offseason.
Unofficially, USL League Two is considered to be the fourth tier of the U.S. soccer system behind the professional Major League Soccer, USL Championship and USL League One leagues. The Kennesaw-based Atlanta United 2 club plays at the USL Championship level.
The SSA team, nicknamed the Kings, will play the home matches of its inaugural season at North Paulding High School in Dallas before moving to Marathon Park, a soccer facility off the East-West Connector in Austell, for the 2021 season.
“Southern Soccer Academy is recognized as an excellent youth soccer organization in Georgia and nationwide,” USL League Two vice president Joel Nash said in a release. “We’re thrilled to see their enthusiasm for implementing a League Two team, and look forward to supporting them in developing the area’s elite young talent.”
With the addition of the SSA Kings, USL League Two consists of 72 teams split into 11 divisions and four conferences. In 2019, there were three Georgia-based teams in Dalton, Peachtree City and Statesboro.
“We are excited to join USL League Two and begin competing in the country’s top pre-professional men’s league,” SSA executive director Simon Davey said in a release. “The addition of a League Two team to our youth development model means we now have a complete player development pathway, and it allows us to provide our members with the very best programs and competition as they strive to reach the ranks of professional soccer.”