It was expected that we’d hear a lot of news out of the USFL to kick off the year, and a week in they have definitely delivered.
On the 1st we reported that the USFL would be holding a draft or player selection in the last week of February. It wasn’t much longer that PFT confirmed the news after they revealed that the league had sent a memo to NFLPA contract advisors letting them know how players could be come eligible for the player pool.
We were able to obtain the memo from a source close to the league. In which we learn some more details on the leagues plan in 2022.
The United States Football League (“USFL”) is a new professional football league that will launch in April of 2022. Training camps for the 2022 season will begin on Monday, March 21st. Eight teams will take part in a ten-week regular season that concludes on Sunday, June 19th followed by two weeks of playoffs.
All games will be aired on Fox, NBC, or their respective affiliates.
Each team will carry a 38-man active roster and 7-man practice squad. Players will be employees of the USFL and receive base compensation as well as be eligible for win bonuses.
To be eligible to sign with the USFL, an individual must have graduated from high school in 2020 or an earlier year.
A player selection meeting will be held February 22-23, 2022. To be eligible for selection, players are required to sign a contract with the league beforehand. For consideration, visit (web site omitted) where you will be asked to provide relevant information including full name, birthdate, college, links to game film and, if applicable, NFL active roster or practice squad experience.
The USFL is a new professional football league, and it is not associated or affiliated with the USFL of the 1980s or its owners.
First off, it states that training camp will start March 21st. Prior to this, fans online had speculated that the camps would kickoff directly after the player selections. Additionally, the memo reveals that the regular season will conclude June 19th, which would match the reporting that the championship is slated for July 3rd.
Another major detail to come out of this memo is that the USFL is planning on implementing a 38-man active roster, with a 7-man practice squad. Looking to the past, this matches the same strategy that The Spring League utilized in the last two seasons.
This also shows that the USFL will be allowing players to join the league that are only two years removed from high school.
With a little over three months to go before the USFL hits the field, it’s clear that they’re really ramping up their recruiting efforts. Many have asked if the league will be holding open tryouts, but it looks as if that’s off the table. At least for the first season.
We expected to see the USFL announce head coaches early in the year, and before we heard news on that front we learned some details on the team structure.
We reached out to a source close to the league and we’re able to confirm a few items.
First, head coaches will have final say over player personnel matters in the USFL. They will essentially assume the role of general manager, but without the label. Additionally, each team with have a Director of Football operations to assist in roster management and share in player personnel responsibilities.
Later that day the USFL put out a press release detailing on a major incentive for both league players and staff. The release outlined their plans to offer a tuition and debt-free college program.
USFL players and staff can enroll at Strategic Education’s Strayer University and Capella University, both institutionally accredited universities that support busy working adults in achieving their academic goals. Staff and players will be able to undertake tuition-free coursework online through Capella University or online and in-person at Strayer University, giving them the flexibility to pursue associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees in business, healthcare, IT, and education, among others.
Beyond a salary and a win-bonus structure in play, this is just another incentive for folks to join the league; whether it’s on or off the field.
This seems to be great news for potential prospects of the USFL, and puts the league in a great spot to help fill the void between the NCAA and NFL.
If this wasn’t huge enough, the league took to social media to announce that the first set of head coaches would be announced the next day live on The Herd.
This fit the profile, as the last time the USFL had a major news drop Colin Cowherd was the mouthpiece.
Before the news became official a potential leak started making the rounds, but ultimately fans would need to wait until The Herd to learn the news. Although the leak had some of the names correct, the locations were off and one of the candidates came out to refute the report.
Addressing a rumor this morning. I am honored that the new @USFL is interested in me for a HC position. We have had several discussions. Although this is a consideration, nothing has been finalized…#Facts
— Gene Chizik (@CoachGeneChizik) January 6, 2022
Even though there was major news around the corner, the USFL was not taking the gas off the pedal. The league to social media and announced that we were officially 100 days away from kickoff. Ultimately, this confirmed that the league would be hitting the field April 16th.
💯 days until kickoff. pic.twitter.com/IOJOYgOX4Q
— USFL (@USFL) January 6, 2022
All of this news coming out led the league to start trending on Twitter. Considering that there’s still a few months until they start gameplay, this is a pretty impressive feat.
The Herd hit the air at 12pm ET, but fans had to wait until the third hour to learn the news. But… it was well worth the wait. Going into the announcement many expected to see the league announce either the Northern or Southern set of coaches. Instead, we got an even split to start things out.
It’s official! Meet our first 4 head coaches:@USFLStars ⭐️ Bart Andrus@USFLGenerals 🎖 @coach_riley @USFLBandits 🤠 @thetoddhaley@USFLGamblers 🎰 @CoachSumlin
🎥: @TheHerd pic.twitter.com/acFTyYcNOa
— USFL (@USFL) January 6, 2022
The first group includes a mix of talent with NCAA, AAF, CFL, XFL, TSL and NFL Europe experience.
- New Jersey Generals – Mike Riley
- Houston Gamblers – Kevin Sumlin
- Tampa Bay Bandits – Todd Haley
- Philadelphia Stars – Bart Andrus
Now that we have the first four head coaches, we expect to learn the rest in short order.
After the names were made official the USFL put out a press release outlining the first coaching hires and giving more details on the kickoff date. In which the league provided quotes from all of the new staff members.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back on the sidelines and coaching a team that I have a hand at creating from scratch. There are terrific people who I have a lot of respect for working to develop the USFL, and I expect the quality of football we present to be first-rate. I can’t wait to get started.” Bart Andrus, 1/6/22
“I’m excited personally to coach people at this level because I find them to be very hungry. Almost all of them had really successful high school and college careers, and they get into a league like this because they love to play, and they want to get better. That combination right there is one idea in general that just makes it really fun to coach.” Mike Riley, 1/6/22
“This is a tremendous opportunity for me to get back into coaching at the professional level. It’s been a while since I led a team on field, and I’ve missed it. It’s also rare that a head coach, as it was once put, gets to pick all the groceries, and fix the meal. This is going to be a lot of fun, and I expect the fans to enjoy the competition.” Todd Haley, 1/6/22
“A new league like the USFL provides opportunities for coaches as well as players, and I’m very excited to have this opportunity to be a head coach at the professional level. I love coaching football players, it’s in my blood, and there are many, many athletes who are hungry to play high-quality football. I can’t wait to build my team and work with them this spring.” Kevin Sumlin, 1/6/22
As we mentioned before, we expected to see a rapid fire of news from the USFL to start out the year, but we never thought we’d this much info in such a short amount of time.
The league is moving full steam ahead towards kickoff, so stay strapped in because we’re in for a wild ride. We’ll keep you posted as all the latest news comes in on the 2022 season, and make sure to subscribe to USFL Newsroom for the latest updates.
January also saw the debut of The USFL Podcast, which is set to be a weekly show dedicated to the upcoming launch of the USFL.
What news do you want to hear out of the USFL next? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.