If not for the Orange County Blues, the USL may not exist in its current state.
It may not exist at all, though counterfactual history is always a tricky proposition. But a new article from Vince Nairn, who covers the Wilmington Hammerheads for the StarNews, indicates it may not be far from the truth.
First, if you are interested in the USL or its rise over the past several years, I'd urge you to read the oral history he compiled about the league. There are a lot of really good points and many items you'll likely learn from it.
Now, the Blues were not mentioned or really included in the oral history. But Nairn wrote a follow-up on Monday about the Blues, specifically focusing on their fundamental role in growing the league. This is also a worthy read, so please check it out.
Most fundamentally, the Blues, a team that Nairn makes the valid point that is practically forgotten, locally and nationally (The Goat Parade covered them more than any non-team or -league outlet this year, anyway, not to humblebrag or anything) paved the way for western expansion, with teams now in LA, Arizona, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, and another coming to Reno in a couple years' time. All because the Blues got the ball rolling and stuck it out for a few seasons, cut off from the rest of the league, until the other teams were formed to join them.
In light of how well the USL is thriving right now, it kind of makes their trailblazer status all the more remarkable now, doesn't it?
What do you think? Leave a comment below!