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United Soccer League reaches labor contract with players

Joe Prince-Wright and Nicholas Mendola break down the USMNT roster for the World Cup qualifiers and explain why this upcoming stretch is almost do-or-die for the Americans.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The second tier United Soccer League has reached its first collective bargaining agreement with players.

The league and its union agreed to a five-year contract through 2025, a deal subject to ratification by the league’s board of directors and the USL Players Association.

Players will be guaranteed $2,700 per month starting in 2022, with raises in future years. Contracts generally will have a minimum length of 10 months, with each team allowed to sign as many as six players to flex contracts with different standards.

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The deal announced Wednesday includes per diems, grievance procedures and requirements for working and living conditions.

“This agreement is the culmination of nearly three years of work and negotiation towards meaningful progress for players,” USLPA executive committee members Connor Tobin, Trey Mitchell and Tom Heinemann said in a statement. “It will elevate the status and professional standards of the USL, and significantly improve the compensation levels and working conditions of professional players.”

Thirty-one teams play this season in the USL Championship, a level below Major League Soccer.

“This agreement in principle recognizes our players’ work and sets expectations that everyone can respect and plan for accordingly,” USL President Jake Edwards said in a statement.