Tennessee United Soccer Club

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national premier league

2021-2022 Recap

Tennessee United Soccer Club has successfully completed the 2021-2022 NPL first year of play. Thank you to all of our families and players for embracing the NPL league and making it a positive experience from many vantage points. After some normal unknowns as a first year program, families found out that the travel amount was appropriate within the expectations for our top teams and not as intense as many thought. We found and managed the proper balance for our teams as best as we could. We also found out that the higher competition was valuable and important for our player’s developmental growth. Playing NPL validated the value of regional league competition as an internal motivator to our players. Furthermore, 5 out of 6 teams qualified for the post season playoffs event in Atlanta. As we conclude the season, congratulations to our 2007 Boys NPL for qualifying to the US Club Soccer NPL Regional tournament in NC this upcoming June and to our 2003 Boys NPL team for qualifying directly to US Club NPL Finals in Colorado this July enhancing exposure and showcase opportunities for these players. As a club we look forward to an even more successful upcoming second season. 


What does the NPL 2022-2023 schedule look like?

Tennessee United will remain as a member in the 11 year old NPL South Atlantic Premier League (SAPL) with two conferences (east/west) with clubs from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. We play in the West Conference (GA, AL, TN). For this next season, the West Conference will have a total of 6 clubs reducing travel by one weekend. Our top NPL U13, U14, U15, U16, U17 and U19 teams will begin the season with the North Carolina showcase with 2 cross-conference games. The event is scheduled for August 6-7. Then teams will play a total of 10 league games; where we will host 5 home games and play 5 away games. These dates are TBD and are based on league scheduling spread between the months of August thru November. During the entire fall season, we do take in consideration player periodization where we will be off Thanksgiving week and Christmas break through New Year’s. The league will culminate with the playoff event in Atlanta on January 14-16, 2023 over the Martin Luther King weekend, playing 3 games (just like this season). The playoff gives the qualifying teams the opportunity to earn a bid to the US Club NPL postseason regional / national events. 


Note: Our U13 and U14 teams will have a conference only play reduced NPL season in the spring.

The National Premier Leagues (NPL) is a national competition platform created to elevate and change the competitive youth soccer landscape by:

  • extending developmental principles espoused by U.S. Soccer into more age groups and clubs
  • linking competition with player development and identification platforms
  • providing meaningful weekly competition culminating in a national postseason

NPLs are leagues unified under one national competition platform and based on a common technical framework. More specifically, the NPL provides a platform:

  • focused on long-term player development
  • for the country’s top soccer clubs, allowing consistent, meaningful high-level games appropriately scheduled with higher training-to-game ratios and eliminate calendar congestion
  • integrated with the id² Program, which includes Player Development Programs (PDPs) in select local markets, and that works closely with U.S. Soccer staff regarding player identification, and player and coach development
  • designed and structured by the clubs, based on the needs of the clubs
  • that provides an avenue for qualification for the NPL Finals

There have been and will continue to be considerable changes in the competitive league landscape for teams across the country. At TUSC, we have been assessing long term player development platforms and opportunities for our players to be in more meaningful and challenging playing environments. Our intent is to find ways to have a bigger impact across every player in our club. The goal is to continue to create different pathways for success and additional exposure.

There are 18 leagues that make up the National Premier League.  Information on these leagues can be found here.

For the inaugural season in 2021-2022, there were 14 games played.  There are 2 games against each team in our division (one home, one away), and 2 games played at a start-of-season NPL showcase against 2 teams from the East Division.

For the 2021-2022 season, there were a total of 14 teams in the league across 2 divisions (East and West).  TUSC was in the West Division.

Given the nature of regional leagues, the travel requirements will slightly increase.  However, over the period of an entire season, we are essentially replacing the high registration fee/expense and the number of games when attending out of town tournaments that we often struggle with appropriate competition both ways. The league also is a fantastic complement to State League or USYS Mid-South league competition, not having the struggle of finding “friendly” games, which are all too often canceled at the last minute to fill up your schedule.

We anticipate the participation in the league will be cost effective for each team due to the fact that these competitions will replace several tournaments throughout the year, which
are more expensive than the league cost. There will be additional costs for coach travel and customary travel out of town expenses


Costs vary depending on the age of the team, predominantly due to variance of referee fees based on age groups. (Ref fees are higher as the age group goes up because of longer game times)


Fees per player for NPL registration are roughly $75/yr.  Other fees added to that will be ref fees and travel, which varies by age group and travel location.  All travel costs are the responsibility of player and family and are NOT built in to any pre-paid fees to the club.

Yes, since the NPL is a national league platform that offers some of the highest level competition in the nation, teams will have an opportunity to qualify for the NPL Post-Season playoffs, depending on their league standings.


  • The post season is a two-stage competition for U14 through U17 age groups, while it is a single stage competition for U13 and U19 age group.
  • The top 4 teams in each SAPL division qualify for an SAPL Playoff Event that usually takes place in January.
  • Qualifying teams from each NPL member league come together to compete for NPL championships.  
  • The top 2 teams from each age group U14 through U17 will compete at the NPL East Playoff event, with winners advancing to NPL Finals in July to compete against the top 2 teams advancing from the NPL West Playoff.
  • U13 and U19 age groups participate in a single-stage post season. The U13 age group ends their post season at each Playoff location with an East and West Champion. U19 competition is held at the NPL Finals in July where a single champion is crowned. 

NPL is for ages U13-U19.  There is no U18 division, so the U19 team is usually made up of the 2 oldest age groups.

The goal of the league is to schedule all TUSC teams to attend events at the same location.  We also anticipate the leagues will provide more meaningful competition on a regular basis.

  • Increased and consistent competition on a regular basis.
  • Better player development.
  • More exposure to college coaches.
  • Larger player pool within age group: 18 person game day roster with the ability to pull from a designated 26 player pool roster.

There are no specific tryouts for NPL teams.  During the club tryout sessions, players will be evaluated as per TUSC standards.

NPL teams expectations are to train up to (3) times per week during the season. Also, given how the season starts the first weekend in August, we will evaluate the possibility of beginning with training sessions mid-July and use our 4-day team camp on July 25-28 as supplementary training, all leading into the August 6-7 event in North Carolina. The
potential early start will be managed at each team level based on fields, players and coach availability.

Yes, if they choose. Each team and age group may be different given their unique on field success at state cup or other leagues. Our DOC in conjunction with each coach will evaluate each team’s competition pathway to ensure the proper  balance. We want to allow the flexibility for teams to participate in the State League as well as any Regional or National league.

TUSC teams will have the same flexibility as before to choose our State League, proper divisions, local and out of town tournaments, friendly games, etc., to best meet the needs of each specific team. Team’s ability to have choices will remain the same.

The larger player pools allow TUSC to take the best available players when absences, conflicts, or injuries occur.

To download a PDF version of this information, click here.