The 2019 USL Winter Summit offered League Two's dozens of member clubs the opportunity to gather and reflect on a successful year. Representatives from over 75 clubs met in Orlando to discuss best practices, identify areas for growth, welcome new teams to the league and look ahead to the 2020 season.
The event kicked off on Tuesday with the League Two Executive Committee Meeting, where the committee's members spoke with League Two staff about upcoming changes and how the league can best help its clubs to thrive.
Wednesday began with the annual State of the League address from USL League Two Vice President Joel Nash, and league directors Chris Madden and Jason Collister.
"We're extremely excited for what we're going to be able to accomplish together in 2020," said Nash.
"We're proud to have a club-first decision making process going forward. This league has been and will continue to be the Path to Pro."
Representatives from Houston FC and Wake FC catch up. Photo by Cameron Koubek
"There were over 700 active League Two alumni playing professionally in MLS, the USL Championship and USL League One in 2019," said Collister. "Path to Pro is the true narrative of League Two."
"You all embody the Path to Pro mindset and push our players, coaches, executives and communities to the next level," added Madden.
Lionsbridge FC's Mike Vest accepts the Franchise of the Year Award. Photo by Cameron Koubek
Thanks to the hard work of so many people at League Two's clubs across the country, the league had an excellent 2019. The 2019 Final at Flint City's Atwood Stadium saw a record attendance of 7,198. In 2020, League Two will have more clubs positively impacting their communities than ever before, and a new streaming partnership with MyCujoo will help increase fan access to League Two matches.
The league recognized exceptional work with year-end awards, highlighted by Lionsbridge FC (Franchise of the Year), the Flint City Bucks' Dan Duggan and Costa Papista (Executives of the Year), and Florida Elite SA (New Franchise of the Year and Fans' Choice Club of the Year).
The awards continued later in the evening with the annual Golden Scarves presentation, recognizing excellence off the pitch from League Two staff members. Among the many winners were Reading United (Best Season Ticket Sales Campaign), San Francisco City FC's Northsiders (Best Supporters Group), and Tri-Cities Otters (Best New Revenue-Generating Idea, which the club won for its "Adopt an Otter" program).
On Thursday, the summit concluded with two key events. New club orientation helped begin the official welcoming process for teams who will join the competition in 2020, including AFC Ann Arbor, Asheville City SC, Philadelphia Lone Star FC and Southern Soccer Academy.
Reading United's Alan McCann and Art Auchenbach with Jason Collister. Photo by Cameron Koubek
The summit concluded with every club gathering to create the divisional schedules for 2020, which will be released in due course upon confirmation of fixtures and dates.