Take a moment and go to Wikipedia and look at the current club list for the USL. Look at the founded column. There’s an awful lot of teams whose foundation year starts with 201x. Do you know what the average club age is for the league? A little over 6 years. The median? 3. It’s a young league, no one’s denying that, especially if you’ve been following the expansion race over the years.
Now take a look at the list again. You know what else stands out besides all the young clubs? The five clubs over 10 years old. Charleston, Richmond, Rochester, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg in that order. You take those five clubs out and the league’s average age drops in half to 3 years. Know what the average age for those five teams is? 20 years.
So what are we trying to get at here? In an age of flashy new teams with money to spare, attendance records and sell out streaks, big plans for bigger ponds, there is a core group of teams who have been the backbone of the league for decades. Teams with lots of history including a combined 12 league championships between them. Teams who have watched leagues expanded and contract; watched teams come and go. Teams who for the most part quietly chug along doing their thing while enduring any hardships. In a time where everything new and shiny gets most of the attention, we’re here to acknowledge history and celebrate the old.
The Regiment, the River City Red Army, the Flower City Stampede, the Steel Army, and the Capital City Crew have come together and are proud to announce the formation of the Old Guard Shield. Independently run by supporters, the Old Guard Shield will consist of a home and home series between each “participating” team over the course of the USL regular season. A total of 8 games per team and 20 games overall will be tracked. If teams host each other more than once due to USL scheduling the last home game will count towards the standings. U.S. Open Cup and USL Playoff matches do not count towards the Old Guard Shield.
The standard point system of 3 for a win and 1 for a draw will be used to determine the standings and ultimate winner. Tiebreakers are as follows (and in this order): 1) Total Points. 2) Goal Differential. 3) Total Goals Scored.
We’re proud of our teams and proud of their history. We can’t wait to kick off the inaugural season of the Old Guard Shield. Make sure to check back here or follow us on the various social medias to keep up to date on the standings.