US Soccer Is Airborne

North American soccer is fascinating; from the exponential growth, a vibrant youth ecosystem and mouth-watering franchise valuations to a landscape embracing best-practice that has readily evolved from their sporting counterparts. Factors many predict to accelerate still with the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup.  

Whilst there are many similarities to soccer in Europe, Skylab appreciates there are differences to account for when scoping and delivering impactful services for sporting organisations that have succeeded in Europe, such as considering their extended travel requirements.  

Skylab's projects have grown to North American professional leagues such as USL League One. We have accumulated the travel requirements this 2023 in comparison to their European counterparts and with differing fixture schedules, broken down to per Club per Game.

This January, the 2023 USL League One schedule was announced, and this year includes two new expansion teams where managing teams’ travel stress is more pertinent for these teams than ever before. Right now, technical staff will be logistically planning their training, recovery, nutrition and sleep programmes around touring the World’s fourth-biggest country by commercial flights or bus.  

USL 1 will have its biggest season to date, 192 regular season matches will be played, and each team will face 10 of the 11 opponents three times in 2023, and the remaining club twice. As a result, this will influence the total mileage put up by travelling teams.  

A total of 150,741 miles will be covered during the regular season, on average of 789.7 miles per team. The question is how best to use this travel time both in preparation and post-match. 

The longest away trip for many USL 1 teams will be the west coast trip to Central Valley Fuego, ‘Greenville, Lexington, North Carolina, Knoxville and Union Omaha’ will travel there twice this year.    

Central Valley Fuego will cover the most distance on the road this year, totalling 29,575 miles. 

Unlike European football where the travel times and lengths are much smaller, North American sports, in this case soccer, must contend with these vast distances to cover for away trips. How to best utilise this time both pre- and post-match should be taken into consideration. 

Considering the travel, how will teams perform both on the road but also hosting a travelling team. It presents a discussion around the planning of road trips, should teams considering different travel arrangements based on distance, and how can they best utilise the time available both in preparation and recovery.  

To learn more about Skylab's projects in North America and how we can implement high-performance activities to optimise your travel time, contact us at

2023 Schedule, by the numbers:

  • Total miles travelled by league: 150,741 miles 
  • Average miles travelled: 785.1 miles  
  • Average miles travelled by team (all season): 12,561.6 
  • Longest trip: Central Valley Fuego v Richmond Kickers 2,313 miles 
  • Shortest trip: Charlotte Independence v Greenville Triumph 93.49 miles 
  • Most travel: Central Valley Fuego 29,575 miles 
  • Least travel: Chattanooga Red Wolves 7,396 miles 

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