U.S. Soccer's Board of Directors voted on Jan. 6 to grant provisional Division II status to both the North American Soccer League and United Soccer League for the 2017 season. Neither league meets all D2 standards, but U.S. Soccer said it "will work with the leagues on a pathway to full compliance." The NASL had been in danger of folding, and is down to eight teams for 2017. The USL has grown to 30 teams for 2017 – including San Antonio FC but not the still-dormant Austin Aztex – but not all of them meet D2 requirements for stadium size, among other issues… San Antonio, by the way, averaged the fifth highest attendance among the 38 minor league soccer teams playing in 2016, at 6,170 per game.
Kekuta Manneh, the Gambian-born 22-year-old who went to Lake Travis High and started his U.S. career with the Austin Aztex, has been tabbed by Soccer America's Paul Kennedy as "the most intriguing new player" in the current U.S. national team camp, though he's still waiting for FIFA approval to be eligible to play for the U.S.… Carli Lloyd and Cristiano Ronaldo have been named the FIFA players of the year for 2016.
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