The United Soccer League Championship has announced that lower-league United States soccer team Oakland Roots is joining as an expansion club in 2021.
The Oakland, California-based team currently plays in the third-tier National Independent Soccer Association.
The team, which was founded in 2018, acquired the franchise rights from the USL East Bay group in order to join the USL Championship.
“Playing in the Championship is a great opportunity for the Oakland Roots to continue our journey of using soccer as a force for social good,” said Roots chair Steven Aldrich. “We can’t wait to showcase the passion, pride, and commitment of our players, fans, and The Town to an even wider audience next year.”
The team, which plays at Laney College Stadium, has averaged more than 5,000 fans at home games since its launch and welcomed 5,723 fans to its home finale last October.
“Oakland Roots Sports Club is one of the most impressive and purpose-driven organizations in the United States. We are thrilled to welcome them into the Championship,” said USL chief executive Alec Papadakis. “When we think about the kind of clubs that can help drive our league forward, we look for committed ownership and fantastic community support. Oakland Roots possess those things in abundance, and we have no doubt they will be a huge success in our league going forward.”
NISA said in a statement: “We are aware of their decision and have enjoyed them being part of NISA for the past year.”