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Philadelphia Lone Star joining USL League Two in 2020

The team plans to have teams competing in the USL2, NPSL and UPSL in 2020

Philadelphia Lone Star played new USL League Two rival Reading United in the first round of the 2019 U.S. Open Cup
Photo by Matt Ralph

USL League Two is coming to South Philly in 2020.

Philadelphia Lone Star FC will be joining area teams Reading United, Ocean City Nor’easters and Lehigh Valley United in the Mid-Atlantic Division of League Two for the 2020 season, the league announced on Tuesday.

The team plans to play home games at the South Philadelphia Super Site and continue to compete in NPSL and UPSL competitions.

“Since its founding in 2001, Philadelphia Lone Star has become an incredibly important institution within Philadelphia’s vibrant soccer community,” Joel Nash, vice president of USL League Two said in a news release. “We couldn’t be more excited to welcome them to League Two, and to help them connect with more players and fans from the area than ever before in the future.”

The club was founded by Liberian immigrant Bobby Ali in 2001 and derived its name — Junior Lone Star FC before a rebrand last year — after the Liberian national team. The club has a team in Liberia, a women’s team that began competing in the WPSL last summer and youth teams. Nashville SC midfielder and former Philadelphia Union homegrown Derrick Jones competed at the youth level with the club along with reigning USL League Two Defensive Player of the Year Lamine Conte.

“We are committed to providing the best possible platform for our players to move on to the professional ranks,” said Paul Konneh, president and executive director of Philadelphia Lone Star FC. “We are always evolving to support this vision, and we feel that joining USL League Two will help us achieve this goal while also allowing our city, community, coaches and executives to shine.”

Lone Star has met both Reading United and Ocean City Nor’easters in the past. They visited the Beach House in 2017 for their first ever U.S. Open Cup match, a 3-1 loss, and fell 2-1 to Reading United at Alvernia University in a first round match in May.

Known as the Premier Development League prior to a USL rebrand last year, USL League Two is an amateur league that provides a platform for many of the best college players to compete in the summer. More than 70 percent of MLS SuperDraft picks since 2010 spent time in League Two.